There are a ton of triathlon training schedules.
Some are good, some are bad, and some are nice to look at when you need to fall asleep quickly and don’t have any sleeping pills nearby.
But regardless of which triathlon training schedule you use, there are 10 crucial time-saving elements you need to be looking for, if you don’t want to waste time training when you could be kissing up to your boss, wasting time on YouTube, or teaching your kids how to make offensive sounds with their armpits.
So in no particular order of importance (except that the first one is about food, which I find myself thinking about a lot as a self-admitted food junkie), here are your 10 triathlon training schedule time savers:
10. Eat Lunch Fast. Taking 5 minutes to eat your lunch will leave, in most cases, 55 extra minutes in your triathlon training schedule. So what takes a long time to eat? Salads, casseroles, dinner leftovers – and pretty much anything that requires cutlery. Choose these instead: wraps, sandwiches, smoothies and shakes. And yes, I am that guy riding my bicycle down the road as I finish up a turkey-avocado wrap that I’ve wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed down my bike jersey.
9. Quality Over Quantity. Most triathletes, especially the Ironman ones, swim 140% too much, bike 200% too much and run 170% too much – mostly because there is too little hard fast training and too much long slow training. I personally use a ton of high intensity interval training workouts (HIIT), and that means I get to watch movies with my kids at night. So what’s an example of HIIT? Rather than going on a 45 minute run, I’ll do 10 treadmill 30-60 second sprints on the highest incline I can possibly manage, and then do my core workout between each sprint.
8. Indoor Training. It sounds a bit blah, but if you want to free up time in your triathlon training schedule, you can save many, many minutes by hopping on an indoor trainer or treadmill rather than getting dressed for weather conditions, going outside, and fighting stop signs, stop lights, traffic and Grandma’s on rollerblades with their 8 grandchildren and 2 schnozzle dogs. You’ll even find me sometimes skipping my swim to do an indoor workout like the one in this FIT10 Indoor Workout video.
7. Commute. Ride your bike to work (or find a fast way to school or class if you’re in high school or college). Put your clothes in a backpack, and pack babywipes orActionwipes to wipe yourself down. If you’re like me, you can even go so far as to wash your hair in the sink. If this doesn’t work for your triathlon training schedule you can also: A) run to the grocery store or to errands (I run hard there, and then easy back while I’m carrying stuff like bananas); B) do errands on your bike (not recommended for anything that involves your hair looking nice); or C) ride or run to social events, like parties, and then drive home with your friends or family.
6. Eat Right. If you’re eating calories that don’t have high nutritional value, a good part of your triathlon training schedule is going to be spent simply A) trying not to get fat and/or B) fighting against the recovery and fitness reducing effect that “empty calories” have on your body. Anything process, refined or packaged should comprise only a very small part of your diet, and everything else should come from whole, raw, real food. And yes, the local coffeeshop bakery case falls into the latter category, even the cookies with the pink frosting that say “Fat-Free”. I also recommend that just about everybody take the bare minimum supplementation protocol (for reasons I discuss in an nutrition supplements audio you can hear by clicking here ): Vitamin D, Magnesium, Fish Oil and Greens.
5. Train with Friends/Make the most of your situation. As soon as my wife and I found out we were pregnant with twins (actually she was, I just helped, which was the fun part), we equipped our garage with a double bike trailer and a double jogger. Some triathlon training schedule advice is to do “Invisible Training”, which is done early in the morning or late at night when your training is “invisible” to your family, but I encourage you, at least once a week, to set a good example and make family a part of your training. Now, in regards to younger athletes, this can apply in a different sense. Training with friends can help you catch up/bond while fitting in a workout at the same time. It can also provide and added sense of motivation.
4. Communication. You, your family, your friends, your classmates, teammater and/or your boss should be aware of your triathlon training schedule when you have a 5 hour bike ride planned for the weekend, or you decide to disappear to the gym for an extra hour on Wednesday morning. I’m also very open to friends and co-workers when I can’t hang out. Don’t be embarrassed to wear your triathlon training schedule on your sleeve – most people will respect you for being committed to fitness.
3. Friday Night Fuddy-Duddy. Speaking of friends, I don’t recommend you engage in heavy drinking or late night social activities regularly on Friday night. Having said that, if you do decide to have a late night on Friday, be sure to compensate for it with heavier training on Sunday or Saturday afternoon so that you don’t sacrifice your training plan. I say this primarily because Saturday is such valuable time for getting in your triathlon training scheduled workouts. Save the tom-foolery for Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons, when you’ve gotten your high quality training out of the way.
2. Cross-Train. Lately, many of my social relationships are now formed from playing tennis with a group of guys. For me, that’s my social outlet that keeps me from being an isolated triathlon geek who has lost the skill to communicate with the general population and mostly just stares off into space and utters phrases like “Oily Cassette Blurby Blah-Blah”. You’re not “wasting time” when you cross-train in your triathlon training schedule – instead, there is often a very good training effect upon your triathlon fitness. While the social sports of golf, softball and baseball may not be the best cardiovascular cross-training activities, look into group activities like soccer, basketball, tennis, or if you are an international reader, cricket (I know nothing about cricket, but I threw that in there to make this a globally relevant article and to appease any Eastern hemisphere readers).
1. Non-Triathlon Post-Race Festivities. Turn your races into fun! If you’re at a race that requires staying at a hotel, engage your family and/or friends so they don’t regret going on the trip. Take some time to spend time with friends after the race if they’ve come to see you watch. Whatever it may be… a nearby amusement park, a bite to eat, a nearby beach… it could turn the experience into a lot of fun.
Ben Greenfield is YoungTri’s official coach and nutritionist.
Ben’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness
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