Modern life is busy; simple! Amateur athletes, in particular, must wrestle with work, social and family commitments alongside their training schedule. Add a little procrastination and the ever-present pull of social media into the mix and its surprising that there is any time left in the day to train at all. If you’re time-crunched here’s some tips for you:
1. TRAIN WITH PURPOSE – each session needs to have its own goal and reason for being present in your schedule. Avoid the junk, the monotone training, the grey zone training. For example, If you want to work at lactate threshold then use the most appropriate interval schedule for your time allowance. If you are short of uninterrupted blocks of time for longer endurance sessions then dividing those hours across the day (or even the week) is slightly less beneficial but, for the purposes of building aerobic base, comes a very close second.
2. TRAIN AROUND WORK – it may not cost you much time from your day to swap the car journey for a bike ride to and from work. Extending the ride home often allows for a great way to increase weekly mileage too. Consider a run or strength and conditioning session within your lunch break. Choose something that suits the shorter time frame here and perhaps something that won’t leave you hot and bothered for hours afterwards.
3. WAKE UP EARLIER – this is a tricky one to advocate for everyone when sleep is often in short supply. However, if your bed time routine (sleep hygiene) is good then you may be able set that alarm clock a little earlier a couple of times each week to, effectively, extend the length of your day.
4. COMBINE SESSIONS – for instance, run straight off your bike ride so that there is less down time, (preparation, travel, showering etc…). This is definitely one the triathletes enjoy and has specificity for their style of racing too. If you swim and perform strength training at the gym then it may be worth perhaps having a coffee and catch up with work calls etc between and saving the extra journey time of returning to the gym later in the same day.
5. INVEST IN HOME EQUIPMENT – costs vary hugely here depending on what you want/need. Anything from some free weights (kettlebells, dumbbells) to a treadmill or turbo trainer will allow you to train in all weathers and at any time of day while reducing travel and even kit prep time.
6. STOCK UP – batch cook meals and cook extra to save on food prep the next day. Bulk buy your favourite Xendurance products so that they’re always to hand for your tough sessions. Keep some longer lasting food choices on hand in the boot of your car; my favourite is a Tupperware container with mixed dried fruit and nuts. This will ensure that fuelling is never a reason to miss a session when away from home.
7. KEEP KIT HANDY – you never know when an ad hoc training opportunity will present itself so keep some spare training kit in your car at all times.
Phil Ellison – Senior Coach at Total Tri Training