I’m currently writing this sitting in a deli close to where a live (after a failed attempt to go for a run that lasted only 5 minutes). I am exhausted. Not of the miles I’m banking through training but of juggling. I have only just come back from a one-week trip that involved visiting four countries in two continents and I am off again tomorrow (albeit for a holiday and a race).
So, how do I maintain it all? Well, firstly there are some sacrifices that need to be made: I have mastered the art of timing when it comes to how much my friends can tolerate me canceling on them for work reasons and leaving a party early because I have a 7am training session. Secondly, it’s about being organized (to the point of being anal about things) and finally but most importantly, it’s about how you do things.
My social life.
After months of unrest (many people getting mad at me for dropping off the face of the earth), this part of my life has finally settled. Most of my friends now realize how important training is to me. It’s not a fad guys – it’s here to stay!
I am also lucky that most of my friends and family don’t live local to me (in fact, the majority of them don’t even live in the same country) so the travel aspect of my work allows me to spend quality time with those I care about. Ironically, I spend more time with think those that don’t live in the UK. But I guess that’s to be expected, it’s sort of like never seeing the sights in the city you live in until you move away and revisit; you make the time.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Two more points I want to make re: social life – I get to see a number of people I am fond of through training (like-minded triathlete folk) and I have become quite close friends with people at work which is a major bonus given I have fun with them and we spend 16 hour days together.
A friend once said, “If you give someone busy something to do, you are more than likely to have it done”. I strongly believe in this.
My week typically begins with me scrolling through my Outlook calendar and planning. It’s like a game of Tetris, filling in my training sessions where I have gaps or finding some sort of synergy between work and play:
My brother arrives at 8am and I need to let him in = 6:30am swim session.
A friend of mine has invited me over after work = 10km run to her place.
Back-to-back meetings and a client dinner = lunchtime spin session.
The same goes with travel, I ensure the hotel I book into has a decent pool or access to a nearby gym. I make sure my flights are overnight and I’m back home for the weekends where the endurance sessions fall.
This drives everything. Now I don’t do the prescribed 3 bikes, 3 swims and 3 runs a week that most athletes adhere to but what I do is of quality as prescribed by Coach Fi. And I stick to it with no modifications. These sessions are designed to build endurance for Ironman distance races as strengthen my core and prevent injury.
Sticking to this is crucial and motivation can be tough. However, a new music album can carry you through a one and a half hour treadmill session, discovering a route on the bike can get you out of bed on a cold winters day and swapping a long run/ride with a local race can add extra fuel to the training plan.
We are triathletes out of choice and for a reason: to get fit, for that high we get when we cross the finish line or to compete and win. Whatever that reason is (and it may change over time), focus. Focus on that goal and event, because where there’s a will, there’s a way.