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5 Time-Saving Training Tips [How to Be an Athlete and Still Have a Life!]

with Lisa Tertsch, Liv Racing Collective athlete

Many athletes (including me) are busy people who wear lots of different hats in their lives between family, work or school, friends, training, and racing. And if you’re a triathlete, add workouts in three different sports! It can become a real challenge to balance the different aspects of life and get everything done. Here are some tips that can help you with managing this constant balancing act.

Lisa Tertsch prepping her coffee

1. Set your goals (and be realistic!)

The first step is to reflect on what you want to get out of the sport. Is it mainly enjoyment and the joy of moving and being with other people? Do you want to finish or qualify for or win a specific race? You can be ambitious, but don’t be unrealistic which will just set you up for failure.

2. Energy management

Know which tasks require the most energy (physical and mental) and schedule accordingly. After significant training sessions, you may find it harder to concentrate on important tasks at work or school. So, perhaps don’t try to write an important report right after a challenging bike workout. Similarly, finding the energy for a hard interval training session might be challenging after a long day of work and/or managing the family’s schedules. Also pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day. Not a morning person? Then don’t schedule hard workouts before the sun rises. Be honest and realistic with yourself. I have found that often the real problem is not a lack of time, but a lack of energy that makes completing tasks take longer than they need to – and then you run into time issues which are really caused by mismanagement of energy. 

3. Say no

This one is really easy to say and really hard to do. Letting go of opportunities and making decisions on how to spend your time can be challenging. What helps me is reminding myself of my priorities, going back to the first step and recalling my goals. Remember that saying no does not make you a bad or rude person, on the contrary you are staying accountable to yourself and your goals and values – which should be respected by others. Make sure that your family and close friends are on board with your athletic goals and will support your decisions.

Lisa Tertsch on her EnviLiv Advanced Pro

4. Enjoy training

Prioritize the enjoyment of your training. Training for your sport shouldn’t just be another thing on your to-do list that needs to be ticked off. It should be energizing and fun! That doesn’t mean you are not working hard, but try to avoid getting too caught up in your goals and taking the fun out of training. How you move through the rest of your day can be greatly affected by your outlook during training sessions. If you come back from a ride happy and energized because you pushed yourself, you’ll be able to tackle more than if you come back tired, frustrated and annoyed because you missed your target time on your intervals by a couple seconds.

5. Make a schedule

Use your notes app, Google calendar or a paper planner – and write down what you plan to do with your time (that’s right, every single hour). And don’t stop there! Check in with your schedule throughout the day. At the end of the day, make a note if you managed to stick with your calendar, where you may need to adapt the schedule and why, and adjust your planned schedule if needed. For me, having a schedule makes such a big difference. I try to assign every chunk of the day a purpose. Then I can focus on being present and put my energy in actually executing the task at hand when the time comes. If I don’t do that, I constantly question and think about what I should do when and why. Just like with the goal-setting – be realistic about what you can achieve in a certain time, don’t make overambitious plans and then beat yourself up because you are not a superhuman.

Lisa Tertsch riding the EnviLiv Advanced Pro on the road