For many, being a professional triathlete seems like the ultimate job; enough time to train and focus on triathlon, while getting paid to do the thing you love most. However, the reality is different. Not all pros make a decent living and many worry about paying bills in between training. Most age-groupers, on the other hand, worry about their training in between earning a living. In this blog post we have gathered 10 practical tips for the time-crunched age grouper, on how to chase his or her triathlon goals while juggling work, family, social life training and sleep.
1. Replace some volume for quality
Research shows that shorter, high intensity training can replace some of your long, mid/low intensity workouts without losing the positive effects on aerobic capacity. Mind that the workouts have to be very intense for this, which increases the risk for injuries and need for recovery.
2. Do more race specific training
Incorporate more brick training (swim-bike or bike-run) in your schedule. After a training in one discipline, don’t go home to unpack and empty the fridge. Instead, pack your bag with two sets of clothes and run straight after your swim or bike. This is not only a great time saver, it also prepares you better for triathlon races.
3. Incorporate strength training in normal workouts
Do functional strength training in the form of hill running and cycling up mountains, start and finish your workouts with a few push-ups and crunches, and, occasionally, swim with paddles.
4. Do your strength training in circuit form. And don’t waste time going to the gym
Don’t waste time waiting for recovery after one strength exercise. Instead, alternate between exercises that target different muscle groups (e.g. back, abs, legs and arms) without taking a break. Choose exercises that resemble the swim/bike/run movements, instead of focussing on one muscle. This is not only more time efficient, it’s also more relevant to us, triathletes, that don’t want to gain lots of muscle mass but just want to get stronger. And you don’t have to go to the gym to do this. You can easily turn your living room into a gym with some dumbbells, a Pilates ball and some elastic cords.
5. Get a coach to fine tune your technique and get the most out of your precious time
Better technique and form improves training efficiency and reduces injury risk, especially in swimming and running. A coach can also help you get the most out of your precious training time, shuffle around trainings or find alternatives, and not to mention, motivate you to reach your goals.
6. Run or cycle as a means of transport
Incorporate running or cycling instead of using the car and public transportation as much as possible. Especially if you squeeze in some intervals, this will be an effective way of commuting. You get more workouts and often little extra transportation time.
7. Find the golden hours
Find the ‘empty’ hours in your agenda. There aren’t any? You would be amazed! What about a lunch run? Or a short and fast bike ride or run while your kids are at soccer practise (swim practise, music lessons) and you would otherwise just be waiting for them to return. Cut your TV time but if you can’t do without your daily news update – set up your indoor trainer in front of it. Depending on your preference and situation, also try training before work or in the evening. Get a head torch, you will be amazed by the experience of running in the dark!
8. Swim less
Improvements in swimming result in lower potential race time gains than improvements in running and cycling.
9. Ride indoors
Less traffic and a shorter preparation time than for cycling on the road means a more time-efficient workout. The say that 1h on the turbo trainer corresponds to 1,5h on the road. We suggest Real Life Videos, TrainerRoad and Zwift as motivation enhancers; they are pretty cool.
10. Take your physical and emotional rest
More focus on high intensity workouts requires more focus on recovery. Better recovery also increases your training gains. Getting better while sleeping, what are you waiting for 🙂
– The Sun Tri Sports Coaches