I intentionally didn’t call this post “balancing Tri & life”. Mainly because I do not think it’s possible to balance your life perfectly…. and it suggests that there are not trade offs.
For me, blending bringing up my kids, working full time, being a loving partner, brother, son and friend with IM training is a constant challenge. I wanted to share what has worked and what has not for me….
Disclaimer – this is a bloke on the internet giving advice! What worked for me in the past, may not work for me tomorrow, never mind you!
Agree before signing up for the race with you family…. make the deal that you will be training 10-20 hrs a week for at least 6 months….have a plan how to do this…
Or….. Drink a few beers, go on the IM website, book a race …..try to train without anyone noticing for a few weeks, before eventually admitting you have entered…. spend the rest of your savings on a divorce lawyer and/or expensive family holiday.
Run a 30 day trial before signing up for a race and training plan. That way you can take off the rough edges without stress if you miss a few sessions.
Or…. launch into full gas training without anything set up and spend more time faffing with turbo trainers, missing appointments and getting annoyed with yourself.
Buy a good washing machine and use it on a quick wash, straight after every session, while you are in the shower, hang the gear up straight away… then stored in kits ready to go.
Or…. Fling your gear in with the family laundry, let it stink, ruin the Lycra and spend ages searching for stuff…. find your son wearing your merino running top to school and if you discover where socks go to… let me know…
Treat getting your gear on and out the door like a mini transition. Particularly, I prep my bike early, Garmin & lights charged, chain lubed, tyres pumped (track pump!), water bottles in fridge, snack in back pocket of jersey… tools in a bag on every bike.
Or…. Charge around like a lunatic in your cleats, hands covered in oil for a couple of gels, while your mates wait for on a street corner somewhere…
Plan your training in the same calendar you use for the rest of your life. Add buffers in for showers. So many training plans come in excel, training peaks, etc. I normally drop them into my outlook calendar on the Sunday… and try to figure out conflicts early. If I can’t figure out how to fit something in, I wing it… it’s amazing how often gaps open up if you are ready to go.
Or…. spend half your day with excel open and stressing about needing to do a 90 minute run in a 45 minute lunch break…
Make phone calls while you are doing zone 2 runs…. I bought a good headset and catch up with family while out and about. This only works for zone 2 when I should be able to talk anyway. I also tried doing a couple of business meetings this way without success…. too much puffing and panting to be professional.
Or…. Send a farewell card to your extended family as you start the plan… preferably telling them that you will phone them once they have seen the finisher line photo on face-book and in the meantime they should read up on FTP, aero gains and front quadrant swimming as it’s all you will be able to talk about…
Kill the commute – move closer to your work or use the commute as training… if its too far… go half way..
Or…. Spend over an hour each day travelling to/from work… that’s ~10 hrs a week…. spend the time sitting in traffic wishing you weren’t and looking at everyone else feeling the same.
Be smart with your scheduling to eliminate some showers…. bricks are great for this, so is scheduling swims smartly. I also try to brush my teeth while in the shower to save some precious seconds….
Or….Be prepared that you can end up having four or five showers in a day… double training days are the worst… lunch run and evening cycle…
Do the training with intent…. particularly in the pool… know your plan and do it. Get in swim, pause, swim, repeat, get out… done… focus on technique over volume.
Or…. Swim up and down with poor technique for hours, stopping to chat at the turns… skipping drills because they are too slow…. find yourself on race days panicking because it might be non-wetty and you are a sh*t swimmer with bad technique.
Do train in your zone, with the body you have… not the one you want. Make sure to focus on getting the effort correct to leave enough energy for the rest of the days activities and tomorrows training…
Or…. Race in training…..get the chocolate medal of beating some random person… screw up the rest of the training and family life by getting ill or injured.
Hopefully these tips help…. Let me know any more!!