If you don’t have the luxury of being a professional athlete (who makes exercise their full-time job) you’re probably a lot like most other people: you try to squeeze in your biking, swimming, and jogging in on top of all the other things you have to do throughout the week, such as family, work and personal time. Needless to say, endurance athletes lead a hectic life. Your life is built around trying to find the time to schedule in all of your training on top of a busy and hectic day.
I have been running for over 10 years, and have recently fallen in love with triathlons. This event is my lifeline and helps me escape from the ups and downs of my work in the marketing sector.
Finding a good balance between family, work, and exercise in our caffeine drenched, fast-moving society can be quite a challenge. So the question is, what’s the best way to make everything fit together without leaving out one part over another? The answer is: It’s difficult, but doable. All it really takes is a good plan.
Write out a plan
I have a small confession to make: I’m a bit in love with spreadsheets. There’s nothing that gives me pleasure more than adding all of my different training regimens into an Excel spreadsheet. It is also helpful to be able to look back from my race day and figure out how many miles I have to run and hours I need to train to reach my goal. I also find that it is helpful to leave these printouts of your spreadsheets in places you will see them often, such as your work desk or refrigerator. I have found that having your goals displayed in plain site as often as possible provides you with a constant reminder throughout the day and makes it harder to come up with excuses not to do them. This can also help with scheduling your training sessions, since you’ll be more easily able to plan your workouts around the other obligations in your life.
Set a goal
I’m one of those type A personalities and I tend to be pretty competitive. That makes it so that I’m always trying to bike, run, and swim stronger and faster in order to beat my previous times. I have always tried to raise the bar and compete against myself. When you have a goal to help you stay motivated, it will help you overcome plateauing when you train. Try setting a monthly and yearly goal, as this will help to keep you focused over the long-term.
Consider a Fitness Tracker
While writing out a plan the old-fashioned way is the simplest and most direct method to keep track of your fitness goals, why not consider a little technological help? Fitness trackers are devices that can be worn on the body and will keep track of things like your distance traveled during the day, steps taken, and calories burned. Some can even log your heart rate during a workout.
Try to have fun
If you feel like you’re training is a chore you will begin to lose interest and probably end up making excuses to avoid your workouts. Whenever I exercise, my foremost goal is to have fun and feel better at the end of the workout. Try to choose an activity that you really enjoy doing, and the results will come gradually.
Focus on the quality of your work outs, not the quantity
When I first started training for triathlons, I was exercising about five days out of the week and sometimes more than once a day. The hours began to add up and it was very taxing on my other activities that weren’t exercise related. I learned very quickly that it’s better to focus on having less but higher-quality exercise sessions opposed to cramming in as much training as possible into a limited schedule. Intensify your training sessions to build more power. For instance, you can focus more on your technique when you’re swimming to gain an efficient stroke. Focus on your goal rather than the clock.
Don’t ignore your body
One thing I’ve learned is that it is important to give yourself a few days rest every now and then. Resting is critical for your physical and mental health. So try to choose a day when you can relax and rest, and added to your calendar. Taking a rest will help your body recuperate and lower your overall stress levels.
Just because you lead a busy and sometimes stressful life doesn’t mean you should forgo exercise. All it takes is careful planning to squeeze your workout routine into your day to day activities.
I am a health and fitness enthusiast and I am currently training for my first triathlon. To help me keep better track of my goals, I often test out the latest wearable technologies. If looking to read similar content, take a look at my blog. I review fitness trackers and write guides, and also interview other bloggers.