I’m going to to try and keep this post short, which if you actually read our posts, will likely come as a shock to everyone. I’ll do my best. A lot of people, mostly my mom (Hi Mom!), ask about my training schedule. This post will provide some insight into those common questions including:
- What does a typical training week look like?
- What time of day do you train?
- How do you fit it all in with other commitments - work, friends, other interests?
My Typical Training Week
This year I’m using a modified version of TrainerRoad’s Full/Half Triathlete Training Plans. I’ve completed two, 8-week plans and have seen noticeable improvements in my biking, swimming and running. I’m a fan of their approach, it works nicely for me, and I'm going to stick with it and see if it translates into race results.
Here is what my typical training week looks like:
The picture represents Week One of the upcoming 8-week training program I’m starting this week. Total time spent on the collective three events ranges between 12.5 - 19 hrs/week. Here is the breakdown:
- Strength Training - 2 times a week (2 hours).
- Running - 4 times a week (3-5 hrs).
- Biking - 4 times a week (4.5-8 hrs (average 6.2)).
- Swimming - 3 times a week (3-4 hours) (I’m purposefully trying to put more time into swimming and will also be adding swimming lessons on Tuesday nights).
While that looks busy, don’t forget the items not scheduled. Typically ranging between 7-10 hrs/week.
- Monday - rest day. This will alternate with massages, physio, a float therapy.
- Stretching - EVERYDAY, usually for a combined hour or so (I’m thinking of adding in Yoga, people say I should and I’ve never been).
- Learning - reading up on gear, techniques, nutrition and the like.
What Time Of Day Do You Train?
Anytime I can! The timing of my training is dictated on a week-by-week basis. I train when I have the time. Every Monday, I look at my week ahead and schedule in the necessary training hours. If that means early morning wake-ups, so be it. I’ve had session go well into the evening as well. When I have the moments, I try and use them as best I can.
That being said, I do have some preferences:
- I like swimming in the morning. The pool where I train is less busy at that time and there is something peaceful about a morning swim. Also, your event day swim is going to be early. So there is that.
- On the weekends I like to get everything done as early as possible. I feel this leaves me free to explore other things during the afternoon/evening as well as my motivation is substantially higher in the morning. The freedom of the whole day off can easily distract me as time goes on; usually away from training.
- I try stretch in the mornings for 10-15 minutes when I first wake-up; and in the evenings usually for a much longer period. This is also when I’ll do my target physio strength/stretching exercises. A good relaxing way to head into a sleep.
Managing Training and Life
Achieving the goal that you’ve set for yourself is not only taxing on your body and mind, but on your time. There is no way to sugar coat this:
You’re going to have to make trade-offs. They aren’t going to be easy. Everyone isn’t going to like them.
It doesn’t have to be the end of the world!
You’re going to miss out on things you may have typically had time for. Drinks with your friends. After-work get togethers. Movies. Parties. Late night trips to Singapore Sams/McDonalds/Smitty’s. Sporting events. It is a fact of life.
Don’t let this deter you. Make time in your schedule for your other interests. My schedule above looks busy, no-doubt. But notice I always leave my Friday and Saturday evenings free. I also use my lunches at work as much as I can, or get in workouts before work. This free’s up lots of time to organize my other interests.
You’ll need to plan a little more. You’ll need to get comfortable saying “Sorry, can’t tonight. Are you free ….. ?” Also, keep in mind that you can always rearrange your workouts. You know what’s best for you. It is perfectly “ok” to cut your run 30 minutes short or do a shorter, more intense bike session so that you can catch a movie and drinks with friends. Be flexible. Your mind will thank-you.
A Few Tips
I’ll leave you with a few of my scheduling tips that keep me on track to achieve my goal and not let training take over my life:
- Be Flexible! - Go ahead, move your running session til tomorrow and go to your best friends house party. Flexibility is key; but make sure you have the restraint to stay on target and not confuse flexibility with procrastination!
- Be systematic in your planning - keep the bigger picture in mind, but plan week by week. Be flexible in training timing and length.
- Always Do something - Can’t get out and do 3 hour endurance ride? Settle for 30-60 minutes of HIT sprints. Can’t do 2000m today, do 500. Getting in any reps is better than nothing.
- Reward yourself - had a great week? Take an extra day off. Eat something you’ve been craving. Give yourself the motivation to stay on target with a little reward. You know what works for you.
- Always ask yourself - “Is your goal realistic?”
- If you find yourself training too many hours, disregarding other aspects of your life and generally not happy about it. ADJUST YOUR GOAL. Don’t drop it, just adjust it. It is "OK" to reevaluate from time to time. You only get one life. Don’t let your goal to complete a triathlon or IRONMAN dominate your life at the expense of other things that are important to you.
Don’t ever forget why you set your goal in the first place; whatever that goal may be. I bet you’ll find that with a little bit of planning, you’ll easily find your equilibrium, maximize your days physically, socially, and mentally, and grind your way to achieving what you’ve set out to do!