General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Ideas for the time-crunched Rss Feed  
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2017-03-06 2:03 PM

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Master
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Columbus, Ohio
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Subject: Ideas for the time-crunched

This is a little experiment. In the thread about the future of Tri Talk, several people mentioned a dearth of great content. We have great content, but it's on the Articles page. So I'm posting the full content of a recent article as a forum post, to see if that will help. If you think this is a stupid idea and if you wanted to read it, you would have read the article in the first place, please go ahead and say so. If this is helpful, let me know. We publish about 10 original, well-researched articles each month.




triathlon training working momTriathlon is often viewed as a sport for those who have time to become proficient or expert in three sports, and who have time to train for endurance in those three sports. That means a lot of hours. Some of our mantras around here at BeginnerTriathlete reinforce the idea of the 10-hour+ training week, such as "Time in the Saddle" and "base building."

Often it seems like there is no way to be a triathlete unless you are single, have an easy work schedule, or don't mind sitting out for a year because you pushed yourself too hard and didn't sleep enough for several months.

Here are some tips to help those triathletes who have demanding work schedules, partners they actually enjoy spending time with, kids, or any other time-intensive obligations:


Minimize the time you spend traveling to your workout. 



  1. Consider using a gym or pool that is closer to your home or office, even if it means changing your routine and memberships.

  2. Add whatever items are practical to a home gym or office gym setup. If you can squeeze a treadmill in the basement or fit a bike trainer in the corner of your TV room or seldom-used boardroom, you can train at home or at lunch, which means no driving to the gym. Check Craigslist and the BeginnerTriathlete classifieds for used equipment. You might be surprised at what you can afford, especially if you factor in the cost of your time and fuel to reach the gym.

  3. Train indoors to decrease prep time. Home equipment is often viewed as "winter training," but many people use treadmills and bike trainers year round, either to avoid traffic hazards, to train after dark, or just because it's quicker than assembling all the equipment required to go outside. For running, you needn't worry about having the correct layers in the cold, or sunscreen and fluids in the heat. For cycling, you don't have to deal with flat tires, helmets, etc.

  4. Bike commute. If you add up the time you take to drive to work and the time it takes you to get in a bike workout equal to the distance of riding to work, it's often a huge timesaver to bike to work. You get your training in, and while you spend more time getting there and back than in a car, the total time commitment is less. Many cities and towns are steadily improving their bike lanes, trail systems, and availability of bike parking and even locker rooms. If you tried this three years ago and it wasn't feasible, check again. 


Strategic Scheduling



  1. Pair up workouts with boring waiting tasks. Think about the times in your life when you are sitting around waiting. If they are predictable, use them to train. Get creative. Put your bike trainer in the trunk and stick the bike on your car when you take your kids to sports practice, and set up the trainer next to the stands or outside the gymnastics building.

  2. Keep a stocked gym bag in your trunk at all times, or keep one bag at home and one at work. If you always have your swimsuit, goggles, a pair of running shoes and a set of workout clothes with you, you're more likely to hit the gym when you have an unexpected break or a meeting or appointment is cancelled.

  3. Know the trail system and gym locations by heart. If you belong to a gym with multiple locations, download its location app or memorize all the options. Get to know the bike and multi-use trails, parks, and public tracks in your community. If you have them memorized or easily accessible, you can more easily plan to stop at the local middle school for a track workout on your way to work.

  4. Keep track of where showers are available. Many athletes have lots of options for training, but are stymied by how to return to their dress clothes in time for the next meeting. Some people advocate a portable cleanup system of wipes and talcum powder. It can be even more helpful to know that you can swing by the gym for a quick shower, or have an agreement with a friend who lives near the park that it's OK to use his garage code and borrow his shower occasionally. Some workplaces have a shower, but it's hidden or not well publicized. Such an amenity can suddenly change a lunchtime run from a pipedream to a regular routine. Ask around.


Choose races carefully



  1. Choose to train harder for less time. Check out the article here by Jeff Ford about minimizing training time and maximizing intensity.

  2. If you are competitive and still want to win or place in your age group, choose races that are closer to the beginning of the season. Rely on your discipline to train indoors during the winter and enter races in which the majority of entrants will be just starting their training plan, or are out of shape from taking the winter off.


I'm now a divorced mom of two school-aged kids. I've been training with varying success since 1999, when I was married with no kids, through times when I was married with little babies, to the present day. Jogging strollers and bike trailers were once part of my routine. Now I'm working around two different school bus schedules, scouting, martial arts, and running a company. I moved my office to a building with a small shower in the upstairs meeting room, I know every YMCA in the city, and I've been known to do physical therapy exercises against a wall while hanging out with my kids at a birthday party. It doesn't always work. Life is complicated. But it helps to have options.


 



2017-03-06 3:28 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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87
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Davenort, Iowa
Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
I like this concept, articles being posted in the forums that is. I skimmed the article originally but actually read it here. I am engaged and have a teenage daughter. My fiance works close to 70 hours a week usually and I work closer to 50. Most of the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping falls on my shoulders throughout the week. We also have 2 dogs that require constant attention. For us, fiance is training for an ultra and her first triathlon, training works better in the mornings. It's easier to be out of bed at 3:30 am and on my way to the YMCA by 4:45. If I wait until after work something suffers, usually training.

The one thing I will say that I'm looking forward to trying, when it warms up a bit more, is biking to work. It is exactly 13 miles from the office to the house, and all but 2 miles of it will be on a bike path. This won't replace my dedicated bike training all the time, just something to help support what sometimes becomes a very hectic life.

2017-03-06 8:46 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
I also have learned to not beat myself up if I have to miss a workout. There are those days that you plan to workout, but [pick one]: customer calls, kid is sick, spouse is sick, spouse is not happy, weather, meeting runs late, pools is closed, traffic is terrible, you forgot something.

In a way, I schedule 6 days per week and consider myself successful if I make 5 days. 4 days in a week is a bummer, but it pushes me to make a better commitment to make all 6 the following week.
2017-03-06 10:09 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Regular
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Tucson, AZ
Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
#4 is the biggie. Bike commute everywhere. We need more of this in the US. It is a Win-Win-Win-Win as far as I am concerned.
2017-03-07 5:53 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
For me, honestly, it is just getting up early. Too many random things happen after work that can affect my time to train and energy levels. It's better just to go to bed early, get up early, and get it done before work. I can't think of any time when anyone has demanded my time before 6 AM. (Of course, might be different with an infant or young child.) May not work for some, but it (usually) works for me. Also, making portable breakfasts in advance that one can eat en route to work or at one's desk. Kind of goes with the "get up early" idea.

Since I tend to be slow, sleepy, and inefficient early AM, I try to have everything set up in advance. Make coffee ahead of time ( I drink it cold; you could set the time on a pot instead), prepare hydration and nutrition for the workout if needed; even make breakfast (usually muesli if eating at home) the night before, write out the workout if needed, charge the gadgets, pack what I need for the rest of the day. Then all I need to do is get up, have a bite to eat and coffee, and go at the workout.

Edited by Hot Runner 2017-03-07 5:56 AM
2017-03-07 6:28 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Expert
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Tyrone, Georgia
Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
Training indoors and keeping a bag in my car stocked with swimsuit and running gear have been big savers as well. I actually keep a spare swimsuit and goggles in my 2 day travel bag that way when I am out of town on business if I happen upon a close pool I can do a drop in workout as well.


2017-03-07 6:50 AM
in reply to: dandr614

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Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
Good idea on posting the articles. I too read it here and not in the article section.
2017-03-07 11:55 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Greenwood, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Ideas for the time-crunched
Originally posted by Hot Runner

For me, honestly, it is just getting up early. Too many random things happen after work that can affect my time to train and energy levels. It's better just to go to bed early, get up early, and get it done before work. I can't think of any time when anyone has demanded my time before 6 AM. (Of course, might be different with an infant or young child.) May not work for some, but it (usually) works for me. Also, making portable breakfasts in advance that one can eat en route to work or at one's desk. Kind of goes with the "get up early" idea.

Since I tend to be slow, sleepy, and inefficient early AM, I try to have everything set up in advance. Make coffee ahead of time ( I drink it cold; you could set the time on a pot instead), prepare hydration and nutrition for the workout if needed; even make breakfast (usually muesli if eating at home) the night before, write out the workout if needed, charge the gadgets, pack what I need for the rest of the day. Then all I need to do is get up, have a bite to eat and coffee, and go at the workout.


Same for me. I get up at 3:30 AM or 4:00 AM to start my training. I have my gear and clothes ready before I go to bed so I can get started as soon as possible.
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