I know so many women who think they are too busy to train for a triathlon. And, yeah, they are busy! They have a full-time job, they are full-time mothers and full-time wives. Finding time to fit in a work out and think about your training goals can be a stressful thing to add on top of a plate that is already full. However, there are many things you can do to create more time in your schedule to fit in training for a triathlon.
1. Eat Lunch Fast.
I train on most of my lunch breaks. In one hour, you can get in an amazing workout. I have my lunch and snacks ready to go in the fridge, prepared ahead of time. Although it is not always ideal, eating quickly will give you more time to go for a run or ride. Since I love food, I make sure to spend time during breakfast and dinner to savor my meals.
2. Quality over Quantity.
Speaking of getting amazing workouts done in one hour, spending your precious time on quality training instead of on increasing mileage will allow you to train more efficiently. So, ramp up the intensity during short workouts. I can usually bang out four miles in about 30 minutes with intervals on the treadmill, followed by 30 minutes of swim training, completing about 1600-1700 yards. If you prefer running outside, consider wearing your tri suit and running to the aquatics center with your goggles and cap. It is amazing how how well you can use the time you have available once you get into a routine.
3. Use the Unusable Time.
Use the time in your day that would normally be spent doing nothing. For example, I drop off my two kids between 8 and 8:30 and then I have around 30 minutes to go for a run before getting to work. Instead of using my 30 minutes of free time going to the coffee shop, worrying about work or checking social media, I am getting in some quality training time. So, even on my work days, I can get in 7-8 miles of running (between the quick morning session and the lunch session) and a mile or so of quality swimming without using any of my family time. Everyone wins!
4. I don’t shower.
I mean, I do shower… I swear I do. But, sometimes you have to make sacrifices when you are trying to be a time-saving machine and one of them is cutting out the long, luxurious bath from your work-day routine. And sometimes—when you’re working out on your lunch break—wet wipes, facial cleansing cloths, deodorant and a slicked back hairdo become your go-tos instead of wasting time on a full-blown shower.
5. Indoor Training.
Although most of us love being outdoors and tend to be a little bit more motivated to put in the miles if we have a bit of scenery, indoor training can be amazing for many reasons. First of all, if you live in the city like me, going for a training ride can sometimes be a hassle. The dilly-dally of getting through the city stoplights and traffic takes so much time that, before I know it, it has been an hour and I’ve only gone a few miles. Inside, on my bike trainer, there are no stop lights, no double parked cars, no dogs, no 110% humidity in 90 degree heat, no snow, no nothing…except a few Taylor Swift/Pink/Iggy Azalea/Beyonce music videos to get me pumped. With the trainer, I can utilize the time after the kids go to bed to hit a hard 1-2 hour session. And, I may even get to watch a movie during it too!
I have recently started commuting places in the city. Before, I had always taken advantage of the subway and public transportation, but have realized I get places in about the same time or faster, save a bit of money and I can get a little workout in while doing it. Bonus!
7. Family Training.
Just because you have a family doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your workouts. Whether it is running, swimming or foam rolling, I will involve my kids. For running, there are even added benefits. Put two kids (at 35 and 45 lbs) in a 20 lb stroller, and you have an intense hill training and cardio workout!
8. Plan Ahead.
When you are training and squeezing in workouts two and three times per day, planning ahead is a necessity. When I was a beginner triathlete, keeping track of all the gear was one of the hardest parts of training. It helps to have separate bags that are always packed with your cycling, running and swimming gear. Know what workout you are planning on doing that day and make sure you have the correct gear. Always double check to make sure everything is stocked and ready to go before you head out the door. There is nothing worse than planning a ride and realizing all your chamois are in the dirty clothes hamper! Always have a stash of extra snacks at work and in your bag. Salty, sweet, hydration and recovery powders—have it all. You never know what you will be craving after your workout and the rest of your day after lunch will feel even longer if you stomach is growling.
9. Train Alone.
I am social and love to surround myself with friends, fun and activity. However, there can be benefits to training alone, especially when you are short on time. Planning a big group ride, swim or run with a crew can be fun on the weekends, but when you are trying to fit something in during the evenings and have to work around everyone’s schedule, sometimes you will find that you’re spending more time coordinating the workout than actually training. Also, it is often hard to find a buddy that has the same training goals as you who is at the same level. Make time for solo training a few times a week so you can focus on your personal growth as a triathlete.