Busy Schedules for Busy Athletes

Whether it’s raising two kids, working all day, opening new stores, or learning Arabic, we all have a lot going on in our lives. Training is just one more thing to add to it. One of the biggest challenges that endurance athletes face is simply finding the time to train. As we get closer to race season and the workouts start to increase in duration, it becomes more and more important to manage your schedule well. Here are some easy tips to help.

The best thing you can do to help yourself make sure you get in your workouts is to schedule them on your calendar. Every Sunday night, I look at my training plan and schedule out my workouts for the coming week. Sarah gives me a hard time because I will literally even put 10 minutes of planks on my calendar. Look at your workouts for the day and everything else you have going on and figure out where the workouts will fit. The calendar goes a long way to help plan out your week. Make sure you add cushion time for things like getting to the pool, showering, and setting up your bike.

Once you schedule all your workouts, treat them like any other appointment. If it is scheduled for 5:30pm, be ready to go by 5:30pm. I try to compare it to soccer practice when I was growing up. If practice started at 5:30, I was there and ready to go. Even though you’re probably doing most of your workouts on your own, you still need to hold yourself accountable. If you start letting things slip and moving them a little later and a little later, you’ll start to develop bad habits and eventually you’ll start missing workouts. Instead, try to stick to the schedule you give yourself.

Finally, if you’re still struggling getting everything in, you can give yourself a checklist of your workouts for the week. Even if you have a Garmin that automatically syncs your workouts to Training Peaks for you, I encourage you to use a checklist. It brings conscious thought to what workouts you’re getting in and which ones you might be missing. The automation pulls you out of the equation and we don’t want that. Try using this checklist and see if it helps.

Remember, endurance is built through the weekly total workload (the combination of all your workouts) just as much as it is built through the long workouts on the weekend. It’s important to complete both. Not only that, but things do come up. If you need to change the schedule on the fly, move workouts around as necessary, but still try to get them all in and keep in mind that shortening a workout is better than skipping it entirely. Try out some of these tips and see if it helps you. I hope it does!

Bike Safety Tips

If you’re like me, you’re excited to be getting off the trainer and biking outside more. The weather is warming up, the sun is up longer, and the snow is (almost?) gone. Enjoy the nice weather, but keep in mind a few things to make sure you’re being safe.

#1 Wear your helmet.

Please, please, please wear your helmet. That should be the first thing you always check to make sure you bring when you’re going out for a ride.

#2 Leave your headphones at home.

When you’re riding outside, you need to be alert to what’s going on around you which means you need to be able to hear. Leave your headphones at home for the trainer rides.

#3 Pick a good course.

Get to know the area you live in. Where are the good roads to ride? Look for marked bike lanes and wide shoulders. This time of year, also look for roads where the street sweepers have cleared up all the sand from the winter.

#4 Ride clockwise.

If you’re riding a loop, ride clockwise. That means that you’ll be making mostly right turns the whole time which means you don’t have to wait for other traffic and also means you don’t have to cross in front of other traffic.

#5 Use your signals.

Always signal with your left arm. This keeps your right hand on the handlebars and your back brake – if you need to hit only one brake in a pinch, you want it to be your back brake because your front brake would send you into a front flip. Pointing up signals a right turn, pointing left signals a left turn, and pointing down signals stop.

Have fun and enjoy the nice weather, but be safe! The last thing you need is to get in an accident that will keep you out of training.