If I Could Just...

“If I could just…”

This phrase often accompanies some sort of comment about trying to fit more into one’s day, week, month, lifetime (I know, because I’ve used it too). Most people visiting the EC site most likely find themselves concerned with the topic of trying to finding more time to train.

For most age groupers, training more likely means racing faster. I do not want to contradict that statement, but for many of us, training more may not be our reality. When folks ask me about improving their diet, I usually tell them to focus on “eating better, before eating less.” A similar concept can apply to training: “train better before training more.”

Most athletes, particularly those “young” in athletic years, will almost always improve with more training. The problem is that finding the time for that training might lead to the rest of their lives falling apart. If they’re cool with that, then this article may not apply to them. If they like their lives as is, but would prefer to be a little faster than their training buddies, then this article might apply a little better.

If you are pressed for time, I would suggest the following:

  1. Get in the habit of running off the bike every time you ride, even if only for 10-20 minutes at a time. Your body is warm and this will easily lead to a better run frequency program. While it might only add up to an hour of extra running per week, it will still increase the frequency of your weekly runs.
  2. Trainer rides might make more sense for athletes living in urban locations. I know many athletes that live in areas that require long ‘commutes’ before they can really “ride.” If this is the case, then your sessions lasting 90 minutes or less will probably be better served on the trainer. Computrainers, power meters, cycling videos, etc should be a regular part of your program to keep you on your game.
  3. Join a gym/pool that makes your life easier. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Hopefully the most convenient gym is also the most affordable, but if the gym close to work or home is more expensive, I would free up the budget elsewhere to allow for gym membership that will get used. Having a gym/pool near your home or office will allow better execution of workouts. Also, be sure and look at the pool schedules to make sure you will be able to access the facility at the times that work for YOU.
  4. Be consistent with the time that you wake up and go the sleep. You’ve made a commitment to everything else, now make a commitment to going to sleep, as well as to waking up. Invest in the extra couple bucks a month for a DVR and watch your favorite late night shows the next morning on the trainer. I promise they won’t change overnight.
  5. Cook large meals that produce extra leftovers. Many working athletes need to fit workouts in early in the morning, during their lunch break, or after work. They also need to eat. Having food readily available at all times eliminates much of the time involved in cooking, preparing, or even purchasing individual meals each time you eat.