Triathlon Training With Family/Life/Work Balance
140.6 miles. That’s all it is. You might drive that in an afternoon but for me it’s going to take a half a year or more of intense training. Swimming for 2.4 miles, biking for 112 miles, then a leisurely 26.2 mile marathon jog with every ounce of energy I have left. The Ironman Triathlon is one of the pinnacles of human achievement and after you finish one, you will know how it feels to be certain that there is nothing you can’t do.
In a some respects, training for the Ironman would be easier if I didn’t have family commitments or run a business that’s going through a turnaround. Family, life, work – in that order – are all extremely important to me and balancing them requires its own kind of intense training program. At the same time, the love and support that I receive from my family are absolutely essential to who I am and it is for them that I want to be my best, at peak fitness, firing on all cylinders. So in training for the Ironman, I am demonstrating my respect for them as well.
If you are striving to find work/life balance in preparing for the Ironman or any component of it, here are three key goal setting exercises that I have found to be invaluable. Perhaps you can even adapt them to achieving your own personal goals.
- Endurance – At the beginning, all you have to do is not quit. This is actually the part where most people fail. Not quitting means finding out what you can do and then doing more. Starting several months before the race, break the week down into two sets of three. Day 1 – Swim. Day 2 – Run. Day 3 – Bike. On the fourth day rest. For the next set, go a little longer, push a little harder.
- Reset – Don’t skip your day off. You need that to reset yourself. Find your weaknesses. Where are you likely to fail? What part of your body needs additional training? Make sure there is nothing about your bike or your shoes that is throwing off your rhythm or dissipating your energy. Nothing is wasted. Don’t waste your reset time.
- 10 percent more – Gradually, you will be increasing your endurance by about 10 percent every week. After three months, you should be able to do a five hour cycle AND a 20 minute run in one session. Or a 45 minute swim and a 2 mile run. Change it up but keep your priorities straight. You are doing this for yourself, your family and your business. It is not a success if you lose any of them in the process.
When it comes to balance, think about natural cycles. Your family doesn’t need a precise 20 minutes every 4 four hours or any sort of formulation. In nature, there are storms and lulls, peaks and valleys. When you are with them, be with them fully. Clear your mind of everything else and be fully present. A little bit of time with someone who is mindfully there is worth hours of someone humming distractedly and checking their phone. In the end, the lessons you learn in training for the Ironman will have something to do with follow through, with dedication, with responsibility. When your family or your business partners see it in that light, they will be on your side all 140.6 miles.