Time management for athletes can be tough. An overwhelming number of triathletes are just ordinary people like you and I. You’d never know this thanks to the print and digital media coverage of our sport. Truth be told, the only way that triathletes have been able to create a demographic with an annual household income over 80,000 is through the following conditions:
– Having an advanced educational degree
– Having a solid, well-paying job
– Having a supportive spouse/partner
Since the average triathlete trains between 6 and 12 hours a week, there are obviously
a few other things going on during the other six and half days of your week:
– Most triathletes are working a full time job, if not two.
– The spouses/partner of said triathletes are also likely working.
– Triathletes have other elements of their lives outside of work and family that take precedence over training: family, volunteering, mentoring, service, etc.
Even if you don’t fit into the majority of what I have described, you are still bound by the same reality as your fellow triathletes: your life has a dictated schedule, into which you insert your triathlon training and racing.
A week consists of 168 hours, 50 of which are dedicated to working/commuting, and another 50 are dedicated to sleeping. Let’s allot another 16 hours to the basics (showering @ 1.5 hours, chores @ 1.5 hours, food shopping, prep, eating in, cleaning up @ 9 hours, laundry @ 1.5 hours, housework @ 2 hours).
Of the remaining 52 hours, 34 of them are on Saturday and Sunday (outside your 14 hours of sleep). This leaves you with approximately 3.5 free hours a day–across the week–to do stuff like go out, relax with friends, volunteer/serve, watch TV….and train.
Or the flipside, if you took all your available time during the week (18 hours), and added two big weekend sessions @ 6 hours each), your absolute maximum training potential is 30 hours a week.
No Way You Can Train Like A Pro Triathlete
Seems reasonable, right? Isn’t that what the pros do? Well, if you follow any of them on Twitter it is….until:
You realize they are sleeping 10 hours a night to recover even better than you (that’s 21 hours of your 30
And they get a massage 2x a week (2 hours)…putting you down to 8 comparable hours.
And then they most likely do core or functional strength training as well as some yoga or self-care work; to be fair let’s keep that at 2 hours.
So basically you have 6 hours a week where you could train like a professional.
But that doesn’t really make sense; who needs to sleep 10 hours a night if you’ve only trained an hour that day? Back to the drawing board…
There Are Some Fundamental Boundaries to Your Training
You can’t miss your job to train. You can’t train (or work) instead of getting the minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. You can’t skip out on family time for training. Ok, actually you can do that…but doing so is very costly and will eventually mess up the balance that allows you to train in the first place.
The Longer You Play the Game, the Better You Get at the Game
Having other commitments and aspects to your life outside of triathlon is actually a very important component to your overall ability to reach your triathlon potential.
So don’t shun life as you know it, embrace it. Don’t try to short change your family or job or sleep just to try and squeeze in more training.
Don’t make more time. Make better use of the time you’ve already got.