The world is a very busy place. It seems that as time moves on there are more and more things that keep us occupied. From busy jobs to family and social life, it is often difficult to find the time to train for that upcoming race season.
Elite level age groupers are no exception, and often wish they had more time through the day to take care of their careers, families, and preparing for that upcoming World Championship.
We asked our T1Triathlon High Performance Athletes: How do you make time out of your busy schedule for training?
Eric Dokter (Calgary, Alberta)
It's been a real balancing act between work and training but I am lucky enough to work in the triathlon industry so my boss understands my situation and works with me to find an ideal schedule. I've reduced the hours I work to focus more on training which makes money tight but it gives me the most opportunities for training and improving. It has definitely gotten easier to balance it all now that I'm out of school, but still a challenge I work through everyday.
If able, try to find a job or career in the triathlon industry. These types of careers are often flexible and much more enjoyable for the triathlete-minded. One of the greatest things in life is being able to make your hobby your job!
Courtenay Smart (Calgary, Alberta)
Planning ahead is key. I like to look at my week as a whole so I can assign specific blocks of time to training and my other commitments. Being creative helps. For instance, I sometimes schedule shorter workouts during my lunch hour or endurance runs as part of a commute.
Creativity is crucial to having a successful training program if you are a busy triathlete. Often, endurance athletes fall into the trap of thinking that training has to be done in a traditional way. Commuting, shortened training sessions, high intensity work, and choosing to be active on a daily basis are fantastic ways to get that training in without being tied down to old-fashioned model of super structured training sessions.
Yume Kobayashi (Peace River, Alberta)
The main thing I try and remind myself, is quality of quantity. More hours spent training is not necessarily better – that way I don't beat myself up for not being able to squeeze everything in; and be organized but flexible. A busy schedule really requires ahead of time planning. Look at your week and the things that are not going to change ie. Work, or kids, and plan around that. Be aware that things might arise that make you change or even miss a training session and be kind to yourself- don't beat yourself up!
Quality IS king! A busy schedule makes it a lot easier to try to live by this principle. The smaller amount of time you have, the smarter you have to be in getting in the most important aspects of training. Every moment counts, so make sure you are being effective with your time. Each and every session MUST have a mental and psychological benefit.
T1Triathlon athlete has a very similar philosophy:
Tyler Chuang (Waterloo, Ontario)
Finding time to train in my busy schedule is one of the most difficult challenges as an elite athlete. Between graduate school, working my part time job, working as a teaching assistant and trying to balance a social life, there isn’t much time left in the day. One way I get around this issue is to make every kilometer count. This means optimizing my training volume so that every stroke, pedal or step has a specific purpose and that I don’t have any ‘empty’ kilometers.
Whether you work shift work, are getting your Master's Degree, or busy with your family, there are many strategies you can adopt in order to make the most of your time. Remember, just because you are busy does not mean you do not have what it takes to be an elite level triathlete. Take confidence and motivation in the stories of these athletes and begin today to effectively plan your way to your next finish line.