Hello CarlyBananas readers! My name is Theresa & I’m the author of ActiveEggplant where I blog about staying active and making exercise a permanent fixture in my life.
I’m so excited to have the opportunity to write a guest post about time management and tri training for Carly – especially since she has decided to get her feet wet and start training for HER first triathlon !
Training for any event can be stressful and time consuming, especially while holding down a full time job. Over the past several years, I’ve trained for and completed more than 10 half marathons and one marathon & I thought I had this whole “training and working” thing down pat. Then I discovered triathlon.
Everything I thought I knew about holding down a 40+ hour-per-week job (with a 45 min commute) and training went right out the window!
What’s so different about triathlon training?
For me the difference is two-fold:
Instead of focusing on one sport (running) with some cross training thrown in, you need to focus equally on swimming, cycling and running. Ideally with at least 2 days of each sport per week. PLUS strength training if you can get it in there.
You’ve got to fit in back-to-back workouts (commonly called “BRICK” workouts) and two-a-day workouts in order to get your body used to the idea of moving from one sport directly to the next.
This means that training is a bit more time-consuming, so making it work is a bit challenging.
Tips for Triathlon Training while Working a Full Time Job
Here’s what I’ve done to make sure I fit in all of my workouts (and my job!) without going insane:
Schedule your workouts. After I pick a training plan (always use free ones I find online) I put my workouts in my planner. This helps me see the big picture each week & also helps me schedule other tasks around key workouts. Plus, I get an extra sense of satisfaction when I get to cross that ay off knowing I completed the workout I had planned!
Make Working Out a Priority. I learned early on that if I don’t make training my 1st priority each day it isn’t likely to actually happen. During the week I usually work out in the evening so I’ve made a rule for myself: No sitting down until my workout is DONE. No computer, no TV, no “relaxing”, no excuses. As soon as I walk in the door I change clothes & hit the road. Even better, I stop at the pool or spin class! On weekends I try to get my workout in as soon as I’m up. That way I can get through the rest of my day without having to find a way to fit it in later.
Plan ahead. I always get my workout gear ready the night before. This is especially handy for “two-a-day” days when I have 1 workout in the morning and 1 in the evening. I’ll lay out everything for both workouts on the bed in our spare room – one pile for each. If one workout takes me to the gym – swimming or spinning – I pack my bag and leave it on the coffee table so I can just grab it in the morning on my way out the door. This saves time in the morning & also reduces stress since I can take my time making sure I haven’t forgotten anything.
Long workouts on weekends. Some people can squeeze in a long run or long bike ride during the week. Unfortunately it’s just not feasible for me – after spending 45 minutes in the car (in the morning and again in the evening!) plus 9ish hours in the office, I usually can’t fit in any more than 1-1.5 hours of exercising on week days. On “two-a-day” days, I usually do 35-40 minutes in the morning and 45-60 min at night. Depending on the distance you’re training for, a typical brick workout can take several hours between cycling and running. So all of my long distance workouts take place on Saturday or Sunday. (This is pretty common – most training plans call for long runs on weekends.)
Recruit you friends and family for encouragement & help. I will admit, I have the most awesome husband ever! During my last training session, he cooked dinner every.single.night so I could get my workouts in. Not only did it cut stress, but it also meant that we weren’t eating at 10pm! He’ll also encourage me to to get out the door on days I’m feeling sluggish, and celebrate with me when I have a great workout. Coworkers are the same way. Tell everyone your goals & they’ll help you reach them!
HAVE FUN! Training is never going to be fun if you make it feel like work! So do what you love & you’ll love what you do. For me, triathlon is just what I need because I get burned out if I run too much. There’s variety & I haven’t gotten bored yet – and most of the time I finish my training sessions with a smile on my face!
Throughout the past two years I’ve learned just what my body is capable of & I’ve had more fun training and racing than ever before. Training for a triathlon is definitely a challenge – both from a physical standpoint and a time-management standpoint.
But it is SO worth it – especially when you cross that finish line!
WHAT ABOUT YOU: Do you have any tips for fitting training into a busy schedule? Have you ever considered trying a triathlon?