Meet Abi – a footballer, lifeguard, A-Level student, devoted person to everything and anything. Most passionately, she races sprint distance triathlons. Read more about what she has learned over the past two years with regards to balancing everyday life and training…
1. Prioritise the things in your life.
Over the next few months as exams and race season gets closer, school work is going to have to take priority. I want to ensure that I achieve the grades required for the competitive university course I’ve applied for. However, I don’t want training to take a back seat! This has lead me to consider which things in life have the greatest impact towards achieving my goals. So, I try to fit training in when I need a break from revision. I drastically reduced the amount of football I played, from playing for three teams to one. To fund my racing and all the kit that is required to race, I became a lifeguard. However, recently this has been lowered on my list of priorities to allow for training, but I still fit it in where I can!
2. Some sacrifices will have to be made.
For example, I used to love coaching a variety of sports at school. I had to stop this to allow time for me to do the more important things.
However, sometimes the things you sacrifice may be incorporated into your training plan. For example, I also enjoy spending time on my mountain bike. During the lead up to races, I stop, as my crash rate is high. Yet, in the winter mountain biking is a great way to develop strength and fitness – as long as you don’t use an uplift and ride up the hill!
I also like to spend time with my friends and family. I don’t have time to socialise much. But, recently I have managed to persuade some friends to come to the pool with me in the mornings and join me on some of my endurance runs, whether they are on foot or on a bike. This not only makes the session less boring but allows me to spend time with my friends outside of school. I also have fun at the same time. In addition, I am lucky that a few members of my family also compete in triathlon, so time can be spent with them during training sessions too.
3. Plan your training around your priorities.
In a week, I aim to fit in two bike sessions, two run sessions and – fingers crossed the week is not too busy- two swim sessions in.
I try to ensure that I do the same type of session on the same day to ensure there is structure in my week. This helps me plan my time best to achieve everything that I want to do. It is important that you’re flexible with your training plan if you have a busy lifestyle. For beginners, the Zone3 Beginners Guide provides a training schedule which you can follow to prepare for your first sprint triathlon.
Sometimes things get in the way that just can’t be helped, such as other commitments. However, it is equally important to be disciplined to make sure that you have a reason that you’re missing a training session, and that your time is being used efficiently. There are only 24hours in the day – you don’t want to waste any time!
Also, ensure that you incorporate variations within your training sessions. This could include the type of sessions (endurance, tempo, hills) and the location in which you train. Although there is not a lot of distance between my home and school, I like to mix up where I start my session from. This allows me to explore new places and stay motivated. It does also help to have a set session that you attend most weeks, such as one with a triathlon club. I have recently joined Malvern Triathlon club. Not only does it have a really friendly atmosphere, but there are good coaching sessions available! I also get to meet more experienced triathletes that I can learn from. This provides a support network for one another, and allows us to share tips on how to balance training and life and other triathlon related advice.
4. Work and train at the same time.
I have found it useful to listen to podcasts based on my A-Level subjects as I’m running. It keeps me entertained (depending on the subject!) and helps with revision. It makes my run super efficient! I have also been known to do my school work whilst doing endurance sessions on the turbo trainer. It makes the time pass quicker and stops my parents moaning at me for training too much and not doing enough school work. Training in the morning is also a regular feature of my week as it wakes me up and sets me up for the school day ahead. It also means that after school I can focus on my school work without distractions, although I usually find something to distract me!
5. Set Goals.
This is also a really good way to stay motivated and disciplined when managing time.
My triathlon goal for this year is to confirm my qualification for Age Group GB by improving my current qualifying time. However, it could also be to achieve a PB at a certain distance or discipline.
My other goal is to get a place at Loughborough University to study Sport Science. This is going to require lots of discipline in terms of time management. Knowing and focusing on these two goals has motivated and encouraged me to plan my time and effectively strive to achieve my goals.
More Top Tips…
Triathlon is a big commitment for everyone, regardless of age and ability. But, most can be achieved by creating a balance between training and other commitments!
The biggest tips to take away from this blog would be to…
- Be disciplined but flexible with your schedule.
- Set yourself goals to maintain motivation.
- Surround yourself with people who support what you do.
- Learn to say no to things.
- Most importantly, have fun!