Training for any endurance sport requires a major time investment. Juggling that time investment with life can seem daunting at first, however, with some simple tricks you can achieve your sporting goals whilst maintaining as normal a life as possible!
Balancing family life with media commitments and triathlon training is a daily challenge for Shane, we grabbed 5 minutes with Shane and his coach, Dai Cole, head coach of DC Triathlon to see how the magic happens.
Tip 1 - Involve your supporters
Support from your nearest and dearest is vital to your sporting goals. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, involving your support crew at the planning stage is important. It’s a good idea to discuss your goals for the year, key races and what a typical weekly schedule may look like. Involving family in the planning stages will prevent any nasty surprises, it’ll also mean you’ll be able to see where training can easily fit around regular family commitments. If your budget allows, choosing an event abroad or at a tourist spot means you could include it as part of a family holiday. You could also plan you weekly training around the family. When you have a long run or a ride why not plan to meet your partner for a coffee and cake stop. Another idea is doing a point-to-point run. I often run on the coastal path and meet my partner and son and dog on the beach where we will then have a walk and a coffee on the beach. It keeps everyone involved. The run is easier and the family is happy. Another idea is having the children help with the stopwatch and handing of gels.
Tip 2 – Make the Morning your friend
Getting that session completed first thing in the morning will clear the head and won’t leave you chasing it for the rest of the day. My alarm goes at between 5.30-6.00 am every day and I will get one of my sessions done before work or before other family commitments and coaching commitments set in. You will be able to get a good quality session in whilst the family are still asleep and on weekends you also won’t miss out on time with the family and children. It will also leave you time to fit in another session that your coach has prescribed in the evening if you have to double up.
Tip 3 – Food Preparation – CEREAL and OATS!
Ironman and 70.3 training requires a significant amount of food preparation. The 4th discipline of Ironman and middle-distance racing is nutrition and this cannot be underestimated. When doing the food shop, have the training week in mind. When preparing food for the evening make a batch to have for lunch the following day. This will save valuable time and ensure that you are not turning to junk and smashing the crisps and chocolates after a session. I’m also a huge fan of Overnight oats. I will have porridge after or before training (depending on the session) every morning. I prepare the night before and it’s ready then to consume the following morning either heated in the microwave or on the go. You can near enough chuck anything in – banannas, honey, blueberries, frozen berries, raisins, peanut butter and as an occasional treat even Biscoff spread!!
Tip 4 – Have a Coach
It’s great to have a coach to prescribe you the training and to give you feedback of how you are progressing. Someone to analyse your performance and knowing whether you are doing enough, not enough or whether you need a rest day or not. It will save valuable time knowing every day what you have planned in the diary and also stop you from second guessing the session or doing a wasted session or deciding 2 mins before starting what session to do. Having a weekly plan will leave you knowing what you have to do and when you need to do it for example when you need to book pool times, what session you are doing when training and it will ensure that every session counts. Having a close coach/athlete bond is key and communication is crucial in making those gains across all three disciplines.