A friend that has a young daughter and races competitively asked me if I would write an article on how I manage to balance my training, racing and family. Oh lets not forget work.
This one is for you Diego.
The short answer to Diego’s question is sometimes the balancing act is smooth and other times not so much. The tools I use are time management, communication, sacrifice, flexibility, planning, goal setting, oh and did I mention communication?
Like my friend I have a daughter and a son. They both have very different likes and dislikes when it comes to activities. My daughter has taken great interest in sports of all kinds even cycling. While her first love is soccer she does like to get out and ride with me when our schedules permits it. She even wants to race juniors this summer! My son likes fishing when we have time and is learning to ride his bike now. It wont be much longer now, I can already see he wants to be out with us. To top it all off my wife is a cyclist as well.
Add school, training and the jobs of two professional parents you might think how is this lifestyle even possible. One simple answer, we choose to make it possible
Now here is the hard part, making sacrifices. I am an IT consultant by trade, which in itself at times can be an overwhelming job. It had become so stressful that I chose a job that is not as lucrative but allows me significantly more time away from a desk.
When I took the job I have now I noticed a huge hole in my life, fierce competition. So I talked with my wife about it and we knew I needed to do something that would allow me to be competitive but not be detrimental to my health like working 80 hours a week. We discussed racing a few times and after much time selling the idea and sharing how I could squeeze time in the big boss said OK.
In an effort to figure out how much I could train I decided to dissect my week Monday-Sunday 24/7. I did this by creating a spreadsheet that accounted for the following:
- Time sleeping
- Time driving to and from work
- Time at work
- Breaks and lunch at work
- Daily children activities
- Family activities
Time left over is used for training, coaching and writing.
The above is not a fixed schedule, far from it. It’s an approximation. Things come up at work, home, injury, and illness…. So even if you find that you don’t have as much time as your favorite Pro to train you do have time to train.
There are workouts that can be done in 5-15 minutes a week that are off the bike and will prove beneficial over the long haul.
Keeping with thought of being flexible don’t forget about the family. If you start feeling like life is all about you and your training go ahead and miss a work out or whole day and spend time to reconnect.
As I wrote earlier, 5-15 minutes is all it can take to make an improvement in your training. Get up earlier in the morning even if its only 15 minutes. In that 15 minutes you can do a core, yoga or plyometric routine that I promise you will leave your muscles quivering.
If you get a break at work, use it. Go outside and stretch legs, back, shoulder and neck muscles. Desk jobs are hard on the posture. If you get a lunch hour pack your bike to work and ride. If you can’t ride at lunch go to the gym at lunch and hit the weights and a spin bike. Can’t get to the gym at lunch? Hike around where you work or better yet go climb some stairs.
Get home late from work and running out of daylight? Go hard, I mean really hard! Intensity is critical for competitive cyclists.
Done with your day and your veging’ out in front of the TV, why? Get on the floor stretch and massage your legs. Also invest in a foam roller and learn how to apply myofacial release, your legs and back will reward you with better performance. If you train hard you need to learn how to recover harder.
Now that your relaxed and its time for bed your still not done training. Practice relaxation techniques and visualization. Think over the day’s training, what went well what could have been better and what you’re going to squeeze in the tomorrow. Think over your goals, are you getting close to meeting one or more of them? Do you have a race coming up? Try to add as much detail as possible when visualizing meeting your goal in this race. I only recommend visualization before sleep as long as it doesn’t get you too excited.
Do I practice everything I have written every day? No. There will be days where a complete day away from training is beneficial.
Good luck to everyone with their training and remember there is always time to train.