Training for a triathlon can be hard; one sport would be enough but triathletes have to fit in 3, not forgetting strength&conditioning sessions and leaving ample time to prepare dinner, do the food shop, clean the house, catch up on endless laundry washes of lycra and so on! As a busy full-time working mum to a lively toddler I understand only too well the pressures of trying to ‘fit in’ training. Here are some time-saving tricks I’ve learnt along the way that may be helpful to you too:
1) Early morning sessions! Waking up before the sun rises is not my favourite time to train; but I know that whether I do (or don’t do!) a session at this time of day is within my control. The times when I try to train of an evening I may get held up at work, or stuck in traffic, or my son needs me, or the food shopping is being delivered. Training first thing is a guaranteed time slot for YOU!
2) Love the slow Cooker: In a busy schedule, time matters! On the days when you have a lot on, and you’re going to be pushed for time to get that run or swim in, bring out the slow cooker! While everyone’s getting ready in the morning throw some veggies and meat in and let it do the cooking whilst you can do your training. This may also be a good idea on a Saturday or Sunday after your long rides when you have no energy left to cook!
3) Family workout: If you feel guilty for spending time away from your family whilst training, see if you can all be active at the same time. My other half and I used to do ‘his and hers’ turbo sessions (oh the romance!) and my little boy was a great running companion in his early months as I’d run with him in the buggy. If your kids are older, why not run around the perimeter of the football pitch whilst your son is playing football, or grab your own swim lane whilst your children are at swim lessons.
4) The daily commute: Where possible run or cycle to work. This not only saves fuel and sitting in traffic jams but it also saves time. If you’re going to bike to work, get a small backpack to to hold your change of clothes, or leave a change of clothes at the office. If it’s too dark for you to ride/run to work, get a lift to work and run or ride home. If all else fails, try to use the lunch break to squeeze in some training.
5) Time Management: See if there’s a way you can streamline things and cut-out unnecessary things in your life that are eating into your time that you don’t need to do. I’d highly recommend a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This allows you to have the time to focus all your energy into the things that really matter to you.
6) Every little helps: If you’ve missed your window of opportunity to train it may be easy to think “that’s it”. But you’d be surprised just how out of breath you can get in just 20 minutes….maybe during the TV adverts and whilst your hubby is loading the dishwasher do some burpees, or donkey kinks and get your heart raising! I coach our kids triathlon section for an hour every Monday and one week, instead of just telling the children what to do, I joined in with them. I ended up covering a distance of 2.5 miles – not the longest of runs, but it’s 2.5 miles more than I would have done!
7) You’re only human: Remember that you’re only human and life gets in the way and that’s fine! If you’ve missed a training session don’t worry too much about trying to cram it back in as that’s how you end up run down and ill. Just let it go and focus on the next.
8) Remind yourself why you started: Finally, if things start to feel stressful or you’re getting overwhelmed or downhearted by the training, remind yourself why you started. Take things right back to your goals that motivated you in the beginning. You never know that might just be enough to give you the motivation that you need to squeeze that extra session in.
With a little creativity, finding time to train can be much easier than you think