Habits for the time crunched triathlete

The biggest challenge for many age groupers is fitting in training with a job and family commitments. Quite often I hear of athletes ‘giving up’ when their children are born as they don’t have time to train. Now I totally support the need for being a committed family member and pulling sufficient weight in this realm regardless of sporting aspirations. However, there are some small habits anyone can do which will save time and might even mean balancing training and family isn’t such a problem.

Plan ahead
This means have a plan so you know what training you are doing on any given day. You don’t need a coach to have a training plan either. As a minimum you should have a plan that’s at least a week ahead so you can do some planning around that. If your job involves travel you might need to work around that. Either way being aware of what training you’re doing next Wednesday will allow you to work out how you can pick the kids up and still fit your training in.

Be specific
If you have really limited time to train you should make sure that every session you do counts. When you are putting your plan together don’t just say “Ride for 3 hours” or “Run for 45 minutes” but be more specific. For example, “Ride for 3 hours keeping heart rate in zone 2 and taking on fluid every 15 minutes” or “Run 45 minutes including a 15 minute warm up then 20 minutes tempo and 10 minutes easy”. You should aim your specifics at whatever is your overall season objective.

Get organised
Have you ever noticed that getting your bike ready for a ride takes a lot less time when you do it the day before rather than when you get up on the morning of a ride? That’s because you’re under pressure. If you’re someone who struggles with personal organisation or time management then a really good habit is to write yourself a list and a timetable of what needs to be done and when you will do it. Then if you do find you’ve overslept or need to clean up after the kids at least you can evaluate how much time you need to get out of the door.

Say no to time wasters
Facebook, YouTube and text messages are all distractions that can often be ignored until a later date or even completely. If you have limited time in your day don’t waste it on matters that aren’t important. Many of us spend our time doing things that are urgent but not important due to poor planning. If you plan ahead you can make time for important but not urgent tasks such as your training! Don’t let things like social media distract you, unless it’s related to your business in which case there’s a time and a place for it anyway.

Give yourself a break
At the end of the day we are all human. Life happens. When it does we need to respond to it as best we can. If life gets in the way of training and you’ve done all you could to avoid missed sessions, tell yourself that’s life. Don’t be too hard on yourself for being human.

What advice can you share to make the most of every day?