People take up triathlon for a myriad of reasons. Mine was after getting bored training for a marathon! Others transition after injury in single sport disciplines or start as a way of doing a bit of cross training. It starts as fun, perhaps a pool based super sprint, then you want to get a new personal best, then you want to try longer events, then you realise you have run out of time to fit in the training, work, sleep, family……..how do you fit it all in?
You have to go back to basics and start with a lifestyle audit. And be honest!It is very common for someone to say they have six hours a day to train, but they have only given themselves 5 hours sleep a night which is not sustainable long term. Use the audit to block out sleep time, meal time, commuting time, work time, family time, keeping some friends time. Then look at the time left.
Now you know what time you normally have you need to be realistic about the events you enter. If you will not be able to get above 5 hours training a week, a long-distance event it going to be very difficult to train for. Standard distance would be a better option at that moment in time. And remember that a standard is still and endurance event. A sprint is still classified as an endurance event.
Get a good training plan and look at it to understand what every session is for. Identify the key sessions for the week. When life throws a curveball, the key sessions are the ones to focus on. The non key sessions are the ones you can drop without worrying that you are not sticking to the plan.
Make training sessions count. Don’t do junk miles. Make sure the intensity of a session is easy enough or hard enough. Too many waste time training in the grey middle zones all the time. Fitness gains don’t come from here.
Plan meals. And batch cook. If you shop in places that do online order and home delivery, use it. Cook enough for several meals at one time then store in the fridge in airtight containers or freeze for future use. It takes away the stress of deciding what you are going to eat and is quick to heat up and eat after training. If you train early before breakfast, batch cook something like egg muffins and grab a couple after you finish.
If you cycle or run to work, it can be used as a training session. Not just a plod, but intervals, sprints, hills, whatever the route lets you do. 30 minutes at lunchtime is also great for a tough run session. Just make sure you know what you are going to do the next day before you go to bed, so you don’t waste valuable time dithering.
Use a turbo trainer for short sharp sessions. It is a time effective tool that can be used when you need to be at home but don’t want to miss your training.
So, as you can see, it takes a bit of planning to be time efficient with your training and your everyday life. Planning will remove a lot of the stress that builds from trying to haphazardly fit in training. And remember, life will throw curveballs at you. When it does, stop, recalibrate and revisit your goals and how you get there.
Enjoy your training!
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