Don’t Just Think, Do!
Good intentions. We all have them: to train more, to do our swimming drills, to make time to stretch, to avoid that piece of cake after a long ride… But between thinking and doing, it is all too easy for our good intentions to get lost in the maelstrom of daily life. If you aren’t feeling very motivated, any excuse is sufficient to let you stray off track: family, friends, work, Facebook, the local pub! And even the more dedicated exercisers sometimes just can’t face another run at the end of a long day.
Here are some practical tips for triathlon training that can help you sidestep the obstacles that life throws at us, and stay on track to achieve your goals:
1. Planning is key
Sit down with your work and social diary and add in all your training sessions for the week ahead. Make training one of your key priorities, not just a ‘nice to do’ – remind yourself how good you feel when you’ve exercised, and how you’ll feel even better when you cross the finish line!
2. And more planning
Plan all your meals and snacks for the next few days. Make a list, shop accordingly, then you will always have fresh, healthy food to hand. Have more energy, become leaner, and fuel your training properly to maximise results.
3. Sidestep the excuses
If you train straight after the morning school run, put on your training kit when you get up, wear it to school, then there’s no practical reason for procrastination when you get back. Walk straight back out that front door!
Think you have to work through lunch? How much do you really get done if you eat a sandwich at your desk? Could that time be better spent fitting in a quick interval session? Plus you’ll avoid that mid-afternoon slump and increase your overall productivity.
If you’re an evening trainer, hit the pool on your way home before you hear the call of the sofa! Consider joining a local club (either a triathlon club, or maybe if you struggle more with your long runs, join a local running group) – a little bit of peer pressure can work wonders for your attendance!
4. The first step is the hardest…
Ok sometimes there is nothing else for it but to bite the bullet and get on with it. But if you really don’t want to get outside, swap a long run or ride for a shorter, more intense session. Telling yourself it will all be over in 20-30 minutes is more appealing than the prospect of a few hours slogging away. And once you’ve made that first step you’ll probably realise it really isn’t as bad as you feared.
5. Get your family and friends involved
Training can sometimes be a lonely pastime and we all need support from those close to us, so share your triathlons dreams so those around you understand how much it means to you and how they can support you.
Arrange to do tough sessions with friends so you can help keep each other going. Or make it a family affair – take a trip to the pool with the kids, or maybe they can cycle as you run alongside with the dog!
6. Mix it up
No matter how much you want to finish the race or beat your time, a repetitive training schedule can get a bit boring. So try mixing it up a bit to keep it interesting: try an off-road trail run instead of pounding the pavements, find an outdoor pool or even try a spot of wild swimming, check out your local yoga class, every once in a while head out for a run without your watch, GPS, heart monitor and just, well, run!
7. Enjoy it!
Remember why you got involved in this crazy world of triathlon in the first place! Everyone has their own reason for doing it (the personal challenge, charity fundraising, the thrill of competition, a drunken bet!) but life is too short not to enjoy it. So make it fun, enjoy the journey and celebrate your successes – after all, you’ve earned it!