Right now I am training for my first triathlon. I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years so I am not worried about the swim leg. I have been running a lot lately so I am not too worried about the running leg. I am, however, pretty worried about the biking leg, especially since it is a pretty hilly course. I have made a training plan to help whip me into triathlon shape and since it is summer you would think I would have bundles of time to do this. Wrong. I am still in college so I am going to be taking classes this summer, plus working part-time for my neighbor. This may not seem like a crazy busy schedule but it is enough to leave me thinking about how I will find time to fit everything in. But then I remember what it was like to be a national-level swimmer throughout high school. I had morning practices 5:30-7:00 every morning, school 8:00-3:00, and then evening practice 4:00-7:00, followed by Saturday practice 8:00-11:30. Plus I was taking all honors and AP classes plus some college classes. This was definitely a full schedule, but I managed to find time for everything and was able to succeed (most of the time).
In order to balance everything, I had to decide what was going to come first for me: school or swimming. I knew how important both were to me to I found a way to make them both equally important. After morning practices I would work ahead on homework assignments, and then get as much schoolwork done during the day as possible. I would squeeze in any bit of homework that I could throughout the day. And when I came home from practice in the evening I had a few hours where I would watch my favorite TV shows while doing more homework. Staying so busy actually kept me accountable because I knew that I really didn’t have time to waste.
Sometimes, however, everything became too much and I needed to just let loose. Luckily my swim team was very close so on most weekends we would get together and just relax. It was the perfect way to de-stress and have a great time. Plus, we knew what everyone was going through so it was easy to find advice from others trying to balance everything also. Try scheduling a weekly night out with the girls or weekly date night with the boy to ensure that relaxation and fun are always included in your schedule.
Don’t feel bad when you need a break. Even though I was in love with swimming, sometimes those hours ran my body and mind down. It is important to realize when your body is asking for a break and to give it that break. You don’t need to skip a bunch of workouts, or even any. Try taking one day off and your body will thank you for weeks. If you don’t want to skip a day, try going easy during your workouts and focus more on your technique and breathing. Really tune in to yourself and make sure you appreciate everything that your body does for you.
Finally, make sure that if you are putting in all those hours you really love what you are doing. I cannot see any reason to spend so much time and be so dedicated to something that you aren’t really interested in. If training for that race really means that much to you than you will feel the rewards of working so hard after the race. Same goes for school. There is a reason why you are putting so much time into your studies. Just remember it when you land your dream job or get into that grad school program.
How do you find balance with life and workouts?