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.