Finding the time to train for a triathlon, regardless of the distance, is challenging – especially when you’re trying to do it while succeeding at your full time job, raising a family and maintaining quality relationships with family and friends. As a coach and an athlete myself, I understand that training is not the only thing on your plate and that every person is different with respect to how that “life balance” is created.
I have raced as a professional long distance triathlete for years, beginning in 2011, and throughout that time I also worked full time as a chiropractor, trainer and coach, met my husband, got married and had a baby who is now a very energetic two year old. I also saw many of the athletes that I trained and raced alongside who had their own unique situations. Some of them were able to pursue triathlon full-time. Some were married, some were single, some had children; some didn’t. Everyone had their own unique situations to figure out and balance. None of them had it easy!
As age-group triathletes we tend to have even more things to balance and a different checklist of priorities. I have coached many athletes of different levels, from those who want to lose weight to those who have qualified for the Boston Marathon and the Ironman World Championships. In my opinion, every person’s goals are just as important as the other person’s; we are all in this to be the best we can be – regardless of our goals or abilities.
I have learned from my own experiences and from the many athletes I have worked with over the years some tricks on how to fit workouts into your calendar when you have a lot to juggle. Here are some ideas which may sound like something for you to try:
- – Have a shower at the office or a gym next door with a shower? Get a running backpack and run or ride your bike back and forth to work.
- – Use your lunch break to slip in a short run or a strength/core workout.
- – Get up early! Getting a workout out of the way early in the morning before the rest of your family wakes up means you don’t have to take time away from them later, and you don’t have to worry about that time being taken away and given to something else that has come up in the day.
- – Run immediately after work, from work. If possible, do the same with the swim, go directly from work. It is often difficult to leave the house again and/or get workouts in once you get home so get them done before you get there.
- – Bring snacks and stay hydrated so you have energy to get those workouts done instead of being derailed by working around a meal.
- – If your work hours are flexible, plan a 90 minute break in the middle of the day to get out and get a workout in. You may feel rejuvenated and ready to take on more of the day once you’re finished.
- – Have small children? Get a good running stroller and take them out with you! Fresh air is good for kids and often they love to be out there with you! Pushing a 30+lb kid in a stroller definitely equates to a faster run even though the watch doesn’t say so!
- – Be willing to exchange some of the ‘shoulds’ (spotless house, styled hair, volunteering for every cause) for training time, and enjoy feeling great about your fitness instead of guilty about not being ‘perfect’.
Think about how you can get creative with your schedule, and build in some discipline. Try a few things and see what works for you. Just don’t give up. Remember, if you really want to do something, most of the time there is a way!
Dr. Cindy Lewis-Caballero is the founder of CL Performance Training. She is an endurance coach, a Chiropractor, a personal trainer, a professional triathlete, and a mom. She has an intimate understanding of the challenges of work/life/training balance, and enjoys helping other athletes find ways to achieve their goals.