Finding the Time to Train in Your Life

We all know that the lives of professional cyclists revolve around training. They get up in the morning, eat, rest, go for a ride, eat, rest and then go to bed. It sounds like the dream life, one in which our biggest race dreams could come true. The reality is that most of us have full-time jobs, families and other obligations that compete for training time. It is possible to work your training hours into your busy life, it just requires some preparation and organization. Here are some strategies that might make it easier to achieve your race goals next season without compromising other aspects of your life.

1. Plan Your Week in Advance

We all have those days when one thing after the other happens and before we know it its bedtime and we haven’t done our workout yet. I have found that I can avoid days like this by trying to coordinate my training program with errands, appointments and other obligations that might take a lot of time. Look for the days off on your training program, or days when you have an active rest day that would give you time to get some things done that might otherwise interfere with your longer workouts.

2. Find Alternative Training Times

As the days get shorter there is less time to actually train during daylight hours. With the right set-up of bike lights and reflective gear, training in the early morning or evening is a great alternative to riding the trainer or running on the treadmill at the gym every night. If you do use the trainer or treadmill a lot because you live in a cold climate, try doing a morning workout and an evening workout to help ease the boredom. If you have the flexibility to go into work earlier and take a long lunch to ride or run, that would be a great option as well.

If family obligations make it hard to do sessions everyday, try to do a few long sessions per week in lieu of shorter sessions every night. This will make things easier on your family and will free up valuable time on hectic nights.

Does your spouse/significant other ride or run as well? Take a date night and train together. If you have children to take care of, swap nights that you train. Since my husband and I both race, we have to trade off watching our son. I commute to and from work and that frees my husband up to ride in the evenings.

3. Use Your Commute to Train

Depending on your commute it may take the same amount of time or only 20-30 minutes longer to ride to work. This is a great way to accomplish two tasks simultaneously and you will feel energized when you get to work. Plan ahead and take extra clothing to leave at work so that you don’t have to carry a big bag each day.

4. Group Trainings with Family Activities

If you have kids that play sports or have other activities look for ways to integrate your training into those activities. I heard of one dad who would run laps around the soccer field while his daughter played her games. Maybe you can work out a carpool for your kids with other parents so you can ride to and from the soccer game or swim meet. My son takes swim lessons at the gym that I lift weights at, so I schedule his lessons on my lifting days.

5. Be Prepared

When I wake up on a cold, rainy, dark morning and know that I need to ride for several hours, it’s much easier to get motivated to wake up and get going if I am prepared ahead of time. If you tend to be on a tight schedule to get your training time in, try taking time to prepare the night before instead of using your riding or running time trying to find everything and get out the door. Simple things such as filling bottles and getting food, laying out clothing, getting lights on your bike and checking tire pressure will save you a lot of time when it’s time to ride. You will also be less likely to leave something at home that you will need if you have organized it ahead of time.

One of my favorite sayings is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” It just takes some organization and creativity to squeeze all of our activities into our daily routines. I hope that some of these strategies will help you balance your life and allow you get training time in.

Coach Jeanie Bihlmaier coaches road racers, mountain bikers and adventure racers and is accepting new clients.