Many of us have busy life schedules and don't have the luxury of being the full time athlete we want to be. It's important to set ourselves up for success around our day to day lives, and to do that we need to understand what that means and how we can execute it.
After all, we all want to be the best versions of ourselves... but have to understand that as a non professional, it may not be the the most important aspect of our day to day life.
Related: Make the best training plan and routine for you
Here are our top 10 ways of sustaining the things we crave outside of the norm:
1. It's amazing what you can achieve if you want it enough
You'll only make time for things that you enjoy or want enough to fit in and around your day to day life. Make sure that you want to pursue the goal that you set yourself or you will struggle to stick to it day in day out.
Triathlon in particular can be quite a commitment, and therefore you need to be sure that you want it enough to mould it into your life. This isn't to say it'll be easy to stick to if you do want it and enjoy it... it'll just make the days that you don't want to get out of the door to train a lot better and more reasonable, as you haven't been grinding on the days that should be easy.
2. Prepare for all outcomes – even if you don't expect them to happen
It's the old saying, fail to prepare, prepare to fail... If you aren't willing to be prepared and organised then you'll struggle to keep to your training. It's important that you stick to your training as this is what allows you to reach your overall goal.
Having a plan that you can stick to is equally important and goes into the preparation. Having a set week that is easy to roll out can be fundamental to making it work in and around your day to day life!
3. Don't be afraid to take a break
You have to remember that even professionals take breaks. Why should you be any different? Especially when your priority might not be training, you shouldn't necessarily sacrifice or neglect the other aspects of your life just because you're tired.
Be sure you take a break and let the training sink in. Stress, whether it be training load, work load or life in general, is combined. The body can only take so much, and it needs to be managed appropriately.
Even professionals need help with managing that stress and this is where a coach comes into play. You have to listen to those that you trust, whether it be a coach, friend or loved one.
4. Set broad long-term goals …
Having a broad long term goal allows you to reach for something that's achievable. Whether that be a year or four years away, if you set a goal that is broad enough, such as a qualification or completion of an event, then you can work backwards as to how to achieve it.
5. … And specific short-term ones
This is where you have worked backwards, and you can set your short term week in week out goals. SMART goals can be key here (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound). These goals can be from weekly hour goals, to shorter milestones such as stepping stones to your larger goal.
6. Keep a training diary
Training peaks is what we use as a training diary to keep track of our day to day schedules. The benefit of this is that you can see what you've done in the past, present and what you have coming up in the future if you're working to a plan.
It's a sort of habit tracker... if you can see everything moving in the right direction, and you're ticking off training consistently, it builds motivation.
Other ways of tracking are:
7. Always give yourself new challenges and face your fears
If you're not not challenging yourself, you can become unmotivated by your goal. If it's too easy then you won't be satisfied with the journey. There is a sense of achievement if you're stretching your abilities and improving yourself.
If you're worried about not achieving your goal, then it keeps you honest and doesn't let you miss training.
8. Sometimes motivating yourself has to come from within
Extrinsic rewards are always nice. But no one can take the intrinsic rewards away from you. Be sure to set your day to day goals to be both intrinsic and extrinsically focused... meaning internally and externally rewarding.
That way you're able to be satisfied with your training from within, whether it be just completing a session and feeling good about it, as well as getting the extrinsic reward of losing weight, looking better, or completing a time.
9. Resisting temptation
There is a balance to be had... you have to decide whether going out for a few drinks with your friends is worth the headache or fatigue that may cause a missed session the day after. This is completely individual and just worth managing. This isn't to say you need to cut it out completely, but you probably need to reconsider how many times you have that alcoholic bev or late night.
But again... depends on your priorities.
10. Get support
Resisting temptation becomes easier when you've got the support from your friends.
Tell them about your goals and get them on board with supporting your journey. Be upfront about why you can't go out late ,and explain why it's important to you that you do the training necessary. You'd be surprised at how supportive good friends can be.
The more upfront you're able to be the more understanding they are. In my experience, having friends and family that understand your goals can be the biggest benefit to whether or not you accomplish them!
Not only this. If you have help from a coach or training partner to manage your training schedule and life balance, then you'll be able to manage your life / training / stresses with far more ease!
Don't underestimate the value of a coach not just for your training but also for your life around training.
Whatever you want to do, just be sure to think about your priorities. Get help with organising them, and then structure your week dependant on that. If you need help with this then look for a good training plan or coach to help with this structure.