7 Secrets To Balance Triathlon Training With Life
Major and minor life events and can add an extra challenge to your training for a race.
I remember when I was training for Ironman Coeur D’alene and juggling being a father of a newborn son. I had to have a flexible approach to training. To allow myself to enjoy the sport I love while balancing training with life and work.
- Prioritize Workouts
Prioritizing quality workouts can give you more time to take care of life events and still make progress towards your own fitness goals.
If every workout is a key workout, then none of them are. When working with athletes who need more flexibility in their training schedule. We choose 1–2 most important workouts for their goals and plan the week around completing those workouts on the days that work for them.
So many coaches and cookie cutter programs skip this critical ingredient your training needs. We are triathletes but that is not only who we are, our training needs to always address the whole life picture. So we can prioritize.
As one of my clients Linwood who I have been coaching for years, put it. “When Coach Beckerley and I connected, I asked for a training plan that addresses 3 aspects of my life: Family, Work, Performance and he delivered.”
2. Schedule your training
A triathlete asked me how I fit in my own workouts while having a full-time coaching business and a family?
I have a training plan the same as I create for the people I coach. The training plan, though, is just that. A plan, a map that guides me.
How I fit my own workouts in is I schedule them. The same as I do a business meeting or a dentist appointment. I look at my week and I schedule my workouts into my calender. Once scheduled, these times are non-negotiable for me. I have an appointment to train for my next race today at 1pm-2:10pm. When someone wants my attention or time that block is scheduled and prioritized for myself.
3. Be consistent
This is the secret sauce to reaching all of your goals. Being consistent each day allows you to continue to progress towards achieving your goals. Accountability can help with this so you can measure your consistency. I use a training app with all my clients that show when workouts are completed and when they are not. They are color coded and easy to see. We can also see the results when there is consistency vs. not completing workouts.
Sometimes you can not do a workout as planned. Life. As mentioned above. That is okay. The secret is to move on and continue to maintain consistency week in and week out.
4. Get creative
Did I mention I have young kids? A girl who is now 11 years old and a son who turns 9 in a few weeks. Being creative is a secret to balance triathlon training with life.
Often, weekend vacations can be challenging. For us camping trips when I am training for an Ironman race. One way my wife and I have got creative is having me pack up the truck with all our gear for the weekend, her driving to the camping spot and me riding my bike. This can be the entire way or part of the way to our destination depending on the miles.
I typically leave early and am there when they arrive and I don’t miss out on any of the family time except the drive.
Another way to be creative is to run or cycle to work. Even if it is closer than the distance planned for your daily training, you can always add miles.
When my kids were babies, I would run, pushing them in a jogging stroller on many of my shorter runs. The kids loved it and it built significant memories for me. Now that they are older, they enjoy riding their bikes alongside me while I run. Another way I am creative is I will do the bulk of my workout, then finish the miles with them as a cool-down.
Long swims can be paired with family time by the lake, river, bay or ocean.
At home on zoom calls. I am often on my bike trainer with headphones on listening in on long meetings or webanars.
Think about how you can be creative with fitting in your training to better help balance your training with life.
5. Have Family Buy In
Every time I sign up for an Ironman I have a conversation with my family and get their buy in. This may include choosing a different race destination because it is a more desirable place for your family to have a race vacation.
I also ask all the clients I train who are doing long endurance races if they have their family's support?
With your family buy in and support, your training will be more enjoyable and they will be their cheering for you throughout your training and on race day knowing how important the race is for you.
6. Focus on quality
A huge myth in endurance sports is quantity. More is better. More swimming, more cycling, more running. This is called training volume in exercise science. Volume is important. After all, you need to race the distance you are training for.
Many triathletes, though, focus on going longer and farther, but fail to bring in those aspects of training that will really improve their speed, increase anaerobic threshold, and prevent injury. When it comes to balancing training with life, including these quality shorter effective workouts will give you more time for life that is not triathlon training.
These include higher intensity workouts — interval training, tempo training, hill work and strength training.
Make sure that every workout has a purpose, one beyond just adding distance. Think about the quality of work you are doing vs just the amount of work.
Those are my 7 secrets to balance triathlon training with life.