Balancing Training and Life
When putting together a triathlon training program, there are several facets of life to consider. Look at your weekly and monthly life agenda and then decide how much additional time you wish to devote to your training program. Your life agenda may include work, family time, hobbies, classes and study time, socializing, and relaxing.
Avoid creating a training program based on what you feel you are supposed to be doing or on what other people are putting out. In order to generate a healthy sense of balance and eliminate the frustration or guilt that can emerge when unsuccessfully executing your training program, it’s important to create a program after you have evaluated your real life schedule.
Evaluating Your Life Schedule
Look at your calendar for a month and record how you spend your time. Make sure you are including time devoted to travel, commute, study, and additional work. Schedule in time with your spouse and children as well as important solo time needed to relax and recharge your personal batteries. Then honestly look at each week and decide how much additional time you might have for training. Base the training program you create on that time. Sometimes in the excitement of engaging in a new sport, you may wish to jump to a level of training that will give immediate tangible results. Rarely, if ever, can an athlete do this without getting injured, burnt-out, divorced, or fired.
Move into your training program in a realistic manner and not only will your body and mind productively adapt to the new stresses in your life, but you’ll be able to maintain enjoyment in the process. Triathlon is a lifestyle sport and one you can do indefinitely and successfully if you are good to your body and keep your mind fresh by easing into your training time slowly.
Though the hours per week you are able to train may dictate the distance of triathlon you can shoot for, don’t limit your aspirations to somebody else’s predetermined guidelines. Athletes have successfully trained for sprint- or international-distance triathlons on several hours of training per week. These folks may need to alter their ultimate goals to be highly competitive in their age group or to complete a long-course event or Ironman race, but their goal to cross the finish line in the sport of triathlon is definitely in their grasp.
Creating Time and Motivation to Train
After you determine how much time you can devote to training, get creative in order to fit that training into your schedule. It might be easy for highly motivated people to simply place the training time into their calendar and execute it as planned, but for most, syncing training and life becomes more of a balancing act.
Here are a few keys to creating time and motivation to train:
- Strive for efficiency by scheduling your training into your calendar, commuting to work on your bike, or planning ahead of time.
- Maintain motivation by signing up for a race, scheduling your training with a buddy or group, or joining a club.
- Get support for your training through the training buddy system, or training with your dog or spouse.
- Cement your commitment to your training by doing it first thing in the morning, not missing your training appointments, and taking your workout time seriously.
- Be adaptable by allowing that a shortened workout is better than none, or by getting creating getting workouts in around other appointments during the day.
Reevaluate this process at the end of each week and each month. Be open to refining it to best suit your goals. And always remember that part of the balancing act is fully accepting your time limitations while embracing the efforts you do choose to put toward your training and race aspirations.