Tips on how to balance life and fitness...
Endurance racing takes time and commitment to be successful. Luckily, with the correct planning, you can have a life in addition to an amazing hobby. No matter what diehards may say, there is much more to life than running, obstacle course racing, cycling, or triathlon. Family, friends, work, and other hobbies should still encompass your life. Here are some tips to make sure you still have friends to cheer you on by the time you make it to the finish line!
Scheduling is vital when it comes to balancing your life. Creating a weekly schedule of your training ensures you get everything done. It also allows you to balance out your work and/or other activities. I experienced a good example of this while planning a weekend trip. Being that I was going to be the only one biking, I didn’t want to bring my bike on the trip just for a few hours of riding. So, I switched up one of my weekly swims with a long bike ride to get that done. I was able to swim on the trip much easier since we were staying on the beach.
Don’t forget to schedule your recovery as well. Not only should you be doing your mobility exercises anyways, but if you are on vacation or just wanting have a good time with friends, you don’t want being tight from your morning workout interfering with whatever might be on the agenda.
You’ve got it down as to when you are doing your workouts, but now you’ve got to make sure you are prepared for them. This means packing your bag, getting your gear ready, making sure you have the right fuel, etc. The night before your workout, you should have everything you need ready, including pre and post workout fuels.
Hydrate! Hydrating is always important, but even more important when drinking alcohol. When we drink alcohol it dehydrates and increases urination. Make sure you are hydrating before, during, and after drinking. Take in some extra electrolytes before and after as well. Nothing is worse than skipping or being hung over during a workout just because you indulged in a few adult beverages the day before.
Include Friends and Family
Don’t be the person that only talks about their racing and training. But, do be the person who invites friends and family to cheer you on at races. That can be a huge step to helping them understand your passion. Also, if they happen to want to join you for a workout, but it slightly conflicts with your training plan, who cares?! One workout is not going to ruin your training and you may never know what that slow bike ride or run/walk may be doing for that person.
Unfortunately sleep is very important. Out at night and have an early training session? Sometimes you’ve got to play the best of both worlds and leave the party a bit early. Hey, at least you went and had a good time. And while everyone else stays out an extra couple of hours, you’ll be getting a good night’s rest and making them feel like crap when they see your Instagram post of your 10 miler the next morning.
Contrary to the title of this article, you can’t really do it all. You have to make the decision as to what is most important and when. Sometimes, especially as you get closer to your important races or events, some aspects of your social life might change. Maybe you can’t go out at night, or you may miss that day at the beach. But, that’s ok because you have an ultimate goal that you have been training for. Once your race is over, you can relax a bit and let things other than your prioritize your life.
The biggest thing is this – be realistic about your training and life. Skipping a great time with friends just because you are training for a race can be a mistake. Workouts can be made up or even skipped from time to time. If it’s on occasion, that is not going necessarily going be the difference between you and a PR. What’s the purpose of training if we aren’t enjoying our lives? Do it all by scheduling, preparing, sleeping, and prioritizing.
Sean Spire is the Head Coach of ASL. He was a competitive swimmer turned runner turned triathlete. He has his BS in Exercise Science from Florida State University and is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the NSCA.