Schedule your workouts like an appointment
For many business professionals, the idea of training for a triathlon seems almost impossible when they look at their already busy schedule. The only way that I can get any of my scheduled workouts completed is to set aside the time like I do for an appointment. This practice enables me to prioritize the workout, but also move it if something else takes priority.
Make a schedule. I try to look at the week of training ahead starting on Sunday. I want to know what sort of workouts my workout plan has scheduled for the week. I then compare that to my weekly demands in my professional and family life to make sure that I can get all of the workouts completed. Sometimes I may have to place a workout a day before or a day after when it is scheduled and place another workout in its place, based upon the demands on my time. The practice of doing this each week ensures that I am completing 90-100% of the workouts my plan demands. The workout plan is only as good as the times it is used. For example, if my workout plan calls for an hour and twenty minute bike ride followed by a 30 minute run on Tuesdays and I know I have an appointment at 8 am, then I may need to switch that with the 45 minute swim on Monday.
Block off the Time. I find that if I block off the time for the workouts each week that I will do them. If I am sitting around on a random Tuesday and realize that I have a 2 hour bike ride on Wednesday morning that I need to get up for by 4 am yet I am staying up late because it is my wife’s birthday, then the workout is going to be a disaster and I am going to be tired all day. When I place the workout on my calendar then I need to have that time blocked off and prepared for. In the scenario above, I am more likely to skip the workout because I am tired. I have to make sure that I prepare for the workout mentally and physically.
Be Prepared to Sacrifice
There is no doubt that finding the time to train for a triathlon involves sacrifice, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life.
Discuss with Family. One of the areas that can suffer, if you give yourself to this type of training, is your family. You have to have an agreement with your family that this training is important, and that some sacrifice is necessary. I do however need to interject here that you can make it work without missing your kids tee ball game or your anniversary! Get your family on board with what you are doing and they will be far more supportive of your efforts when a workout runs a little longer than you thought.
Get Rid of Time Wasters. I love to watch TV and I love movies. I also love Facebook and the News. But, if I get too involved in these things then I will have wasted so much time that I cannot train for my next triathlon. I have to get rid of these time wasters in my life so that I can make those workout appointments. One of the good things about indoor training during winter is you can catch up on all those TV programs and movies you missed while getting in a 2 hour indoor trainer bike ride. Getting rid of these time wasters will provide some extra time for your triathlon training.
Schedule your Sleep. This is a big one. I love to sleep. I love a good long nap as well. I have found though, that oftentimes I have to train early in the morning so the night before I have to make sure to get in bed and to sleep at a decent hour. I cannot stay up late if I plan to get up early sometimes around 4 am to work out. When there is a late night football game, I usually have to turn it off before it ends because training is the next day. Unless my Dallas Cowboys are playing and then I just watch all the way through and manage the sleep deprivation the next day. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest or you will find your training will suffer.
If you Miss a Work Out, Just Make the Next One
One of the more discouraging things in triathlon training is when you have planned well for your training, but inevitably there comes a day that you just can’t workout. You have an early appointment or the family wants to do an outing. You are going to miss a workout, but don’t quit and give up. Just pick up the next day and continue on with your training. We would all like to be professionals where we could train all day, but we aren’t. We have jobs, families, and responsibilities. It is important to remember to live your life outside of triathlon well. If you miss that one workout, just come back to the next one. Also, if there is a season of life in which you can’t train for a full Ironman, surely you can still find time to train for a Sprint triathlon. We all have busy seasons.