Triathlon training is demanding. Especially Ironman training. I have had many days where I run around all day getting the laundry done, grocery shopping, meal prepping, cleaning the house, answering emails, taking the kids to their doctor appointments, ect and before I know it, it is already 8pm and the day is gone. But wait, I was supposed to fit a 3 hour bike in there with a 45 minute run to follow. Yikes! I remember the first time I did not plan my day well and I was getting on my trainer at 10 pm at night. I’d like to tell you it was a one time event but it wasn’t. I HAVE however gotten a bit better at prioritizing my time so it only happens about once every few weeks. Sometimes life just happens, plans fall through, child care cancels, someone gets sick, and there is just nothing that could be done to avoid the hiccup. I’ve put together a few tips I’ve learned throughout my training while being a busy wife and mom to two kids under 4 and I’d love to pass them on to you. I hope you find some comfort and maybe a few ideas.
This one is obvious but has to be stated. Look at your workouts for the week and plan for those chunks of time. Is that hour run something you can do before you go to work? How about that 3 hour bike on Saturday, but wait you have a huge family event to go to….looks like its a 4am day for you! I know many triathletes that start their days at 3:30 and 4 am so they can have their family time uninterrupted or without the stress of a long workout hanging over their head every day. Schedule this time, I even put it in my calendar on my phone. It is an important meeting with yourself to get you to your goals, hold yourself accountable.
We are all given the same 24 hours in a day. We are all busy and that time will be filled with something if it is not triathlon training. I remember when I went from cheering in college to not, between practices and games it took up about 15 hours a week and I thought “man I am going to be so bored and have SO much free time now that I just have school”….wrong! I filled my time and felt busier than ever but I cannot even tell you what I filled my time with. My husband and I don’t have TV and are on the verge of canceling our hulu account because we are weeks behind on the two shows we regularly watch. It is simply not a priority anymore. Do you have things in your week that is demanding a lot of your time, are you able to cut some of them out? Take a hard look at your activities and see if you can change your priorities a bit to align with your goals. Triathlon takes great sacrifice.
This one can be daunting if you have never done it but it will save you so much time, I promise! Make as much food in bulk as you can. I never cook less than 8 chicken breasts at a time. Sauté up a couple pounds of ground turkey and have it plain in the fridge. Chop up your lettuce and veggies so they are quick to throw a salad together. Make ahead a huge pot of brown rice and have it ready to go anytime you need a quick side. Sweet potatoes are an easy side to throw in the oven too. I usually cook 6, cut them in half after they are done, throw some chicken on top and bam, I have lunches for the week. The amount of time you will save cooking each and every meal, plus taking the stress away of “whats for lunch or whats for dinner” will be so worth a little extra work, promise! The crock pot can be your best friend, I have several crock pot chicken recipes but this one is my favorite right now thanks to Trainer Lindsey at IdealFit.com
Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken
1c pineapple juice
1/3c reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2c low sugar ketchup
1T rice vinegar
1/4c baking stevia
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4t dried ginger
2lbs chicken breast
1 (16oz) can crushed pineapple
Combine all ingredients besides chicken, crushed pineapple and coconut in crock pot. Add chicken and top with pineapple. Let cook on low 6-8 hours or until done. Either pull chicken with two forks or keep as bigger pieces. Pair with rice and veggies and top with coconut!
STOCK THE PANTRY:
This one goes with the meal prepping but it deserves its own heading. As a mom I am ALWAYS hearing “I’m hungry, what can I eat, I need a snack” I swear I could spend 3 hours a day just getting food for everyone. I stock my pantry and fridge with quick, easy grab and go type foods. Light & fit greek yogurts, string cheese, lunch meat, carrots, apples, rice cakes, trail mix and jerky are a few examples of staples I always have on hand. They take seconds for me to get for my kids or grab for myself if I’m running out the door or don’t have time to make a meal (although with all my prepped food from the bullet above this shouldn’t be an issue, right?!)
We’ve all heard Coach Diego say “doing something is better than skipping your workout all together”. Three 30 minute runs during the week is much better than one 90 minute run on Saturday because that is when “you finally have time to fit in your workouts”. Your body needs consistency to build that endurance and believe it or not, you can get a killer workout in just 20-30 minutes with high intensity.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR COACH:
This one is so important!! Life happens, plans change and you are realizing fitting the training in is way harder than you thought. Get your coach on the phone and make a plan. Is work demanding and you are exhausted when you come home, or maybe school is taking up a ton of time because of finals, or your kids sports schedule has increased and you’re stuck in car pool all night. Whatever is going on, its ok. Talk with Coach and together you two will come up with a plan that will maximize your training results with the limited time you have to dedicate. You will feel so much better about yourself because you will no longer be missing workouts and your performance will improve because you are staying consistent!
ASK FOR HELP:
Triathlon training is a huge sacrifice. Especially when the training hours become long, it is impossible to do it all. Ask for help, communicate with your friends and family. Ask your spouse if they can take over car pool or try ordering your groceries online. A lot of stores have a grocery delivery service which is free if your order over a certain amount or you can drive to the store and they load up your grocery order right in your car! This will save you HOURS and not to mention money because you won’t be buying random things you don’t actually need. No one crosses the finish line of a triathlon without the help from their friends and family, thats why it is such a huge day for everyone involved. They want to see you succeed and they want to help so open up that communication and make a plan to help ease your load a bit so you can focus on your training. Come race day, take the extra 20 seconds to say hi to them during transition or the run. They have waited all day to catch a glimpse of their rockstar athlete, show them some love!
Triathlon training is such an incredible journey. Crossing that finish line isn’t about how you perform the day of your race. It is about the journey and the sacrifice you spent to get to that starting line. You will have spent hours training, missed family events, pushed your body to the limit so you could have the privilege to stand on that sandy beach and start your triathlon race. Make sure you are doing all you can to make your journey to the finish line a successful one. I can guarantee you, it will make your race so much more enjoyable. I hope you enjoyed reading some of my tips and found them helpful. Please leave a comment with any tips you have found throughout your training or any questions you may have, I’d love to chat!