As an athlete, we wear many hats. Partner, spouse, parent, caretaker, employee, etc. Regardless of the demands of our lives, we still need to figure out how to get in a workout and spend time with family and friends - and this balance can be very tricky.
Spring is close and many of us are ready to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Some are gearing up for their early A race while others are increasing their training for a Fall A race. This is a great time to think about what practices you can put in place to make your training easier on you and those who support you.
In addition to being a triathlon coach, I am also an office manager and I tend to work a lot of hours. I do have the opportunity to work from home so this does save time not driving. My job can be stressful, so making sure I get a workout completed helps alleviate some of the work day issues. However, it is easy to have the opposite experience as well - where you get so bogged at work that you miss workouts which in turn leaves you feeling more stressed out.
How do we do this and still maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle? It's not easy even for me and I have an amazing support system. Being able to manage my time has been a difficult adjustment. I'm still working on it but it is getting better - here are some practices that I have put in place over the years.
When I get my weekly workouts from my coach I immediately start planning how my days will go. There are many days that I have to wake up at 4am to get in a workout. If this has to be done several days in a row, then I also need to make sure that I get enough sleep. I am not a morning person! It is imperative that I get into bed at a timely hour and unplug from the world. Setting strong and consistent sleep habits are key to waking up early.
Making sure we have the proper nutrition is also key. This also forces me to get my meals ready for the next day and make better food decisions. If I try to get my lunch and/or workout food done in a hurry, I am more likely to just grab something easy. This doesn't necessarily end up being a good choice to help prep for an after work workout. I set aside a few hours to plan my meals and then prep them in advance - I also always have a lara bar on hand, in case I find that I am starving and in a pinch.
Last year Evolve hosted athlete and author Terri Schneider. Something that resonated with me is what she wrote in one of her books: do not to "try", but commit to what we do. We can all try to do something then have an excuse why we didn't do it. If I don't want to do a workout, I ask myself if it is a reason or excuse. There is a difference and it should be a reason. I am the queen of justification. If I do not have a reason then an excuse is just an easy way out. When I make my weekly plan I am making the commitment to achieve a happy, healthy lifestyle.
I also will make a backup plan because, as we all know, some days do not go according to our plans. I have a dry eraser calendar in our kitchen. This shows my spouse what days I'm working and what workouts I am doing. This also helps me to be accountable and not make excuses. Since it's in writing it also make it harder to not complete. That and of course turning all the boxes in Training Peaks GREEN!
I will add to a previous blog that consistency is the main foundation. I practice swimming, biking and running so I can become a better athlete. I also practice the commitment to my lifestyle. We are continuously changing so we need to be able to adapt to multiple situations and consistency combined with adaptaion is what will make us all better athletes in the end.