Tip of the Month: Find More Time to Train

The biggest challenge for most non-professional endurance athletes is simply finding enough time to train and recover on a daily basis. Here are some tips to help you save a few minutes here and there that can add up to several precious hours per week. Remember, if you are training 8 hours per week, an added two hours of training might not seem much but it is a whopping 32% increase in volume. Two extra hours of sleep per week could mean the difference between gradual exhaustion and perpetual well being.


1) Laundry: Get a few more pairs of cycling shorts and a few more pairs of underwear and socks so you can go a few more days between loads of laundry. If you are doing laundry for others, do the same for them (Potential Savings: 1/2 hour or more per week.)
2) Grocery Shopping: Try out a grocery delivery service. Many are free if you order more than some minimum amount. If you can’t stand the idea of not choosing your own groceries, buy shelf stable stuff in multi-week or even multi-month quantities. Always check the pantry and fridge and make a list before shopping to avoid needing to make repeated trips. (Potential Savings: 1 hour or more per week.)
3) Junk Mail: If mail comes with a “Presorted Standard” stamp, that means the sender doesn’t care if that piece of mail gets to you enough to pay a few cents to have it forwarded if you’ve moved. That means it’s not a bill or a new credit card. You can safely discard it without opening it. (Potential savings: Depends on how closely you like to read offers for new credit cards, furnace tune-ups and gym memberships, but potentially 1/2 hour per week)
4) Cooking: If you do the cooking in your house, make large enough batches of stuff that reheats easily and tastes good when reheated that you can skip cooking for several meals later that week. There are hundreds of foods that qualify, but here’s a starter list: chili, lasagna, roast chicken, fruit salad, green salad (don’t dress it until ready to eat), most kinds of soup, roast turkey, boiled green beans, mashed potatoes… If you are making your own ride food, prepare enough for several rides at one time (Potential savings: several hours per week)
5) Smooth work to ride transition: Step away from the computer and put the phone down once you commit to training time. Don’t pick it up to check that last email or text message. The return phone call or email answer can likely wait the one or two hours that you’ll be away. This is your time. Take control of it! If you ride your bike to work and train directly after work, dress in cycling wear for your commute home so it can serve as your warm up or even part of your training. You are much more likely to get going right away on a ride if you are already dressed and potentially sweating. You can drop off your bag, refill water bottles, grab snacks or whatever, but be back out the door within minutes rather than potentially being distracted when you go to change.
6) Cycling Gear: When you come back from a ride, always put your helmet, gloves, glasses, shoes, etc. in the same place so you never have to search for them before a ride. When you use chamois lube or drink mix, put that back too. When you buy tires, tubes, brake pads, chamois lube or other consumable bike stuff, get a several month supply to save on additional trips to the shop. If you can afford it, get a back-up training bike so you wont have to miss a ride if something breaks. (Potential savings: depends on how much you tend to lose or run out of stuff now, but minutes to hours per week).
By following these tips, you should be able to increase you training and your sleep-hours too. Good luck.