The Busy Athlete - An Oxymoron?

          The busy athlete, wait a moment…we are all busy and the word “busy” is more of an oxymoron nowadays. We challenge you to find someone that claims they’re “not busy” and doubt that you will be able to come across such an individual.  Add some training sessions into your schedule like the familiar “swim/bike/run” workouts and many athletes are juggling a pretty hectic schedule. In addition, most would like to improve their performance without compromising health, family, friends and work. How do you do it without feeling guilty when you missed a workout, cut it short for other commitments, or did not read the fine print in the description because you were in a hurry? How do you best direct these conversations in your head? Read More...

          At Kinney Multisport, we reassure athletes that it is doable to balance life with work and their personal triathlon, or endurance sports, objectives. Our goal is to pursuit personal excellence and development with healthy and energetic athletes throughout the entire season. For all ability levels.

          As driven as you are as an athlete, you obtain a jump in performance. The initial thought is to train more and for some this is, sometimes, true. At the same time, we often see limited performance gains because of all the other life factors and stressors the athlete tries to manage. The best overall approach here is to stay consistent with a productive, healthy training program to allow progression from the layering of many months of high quality training. In other words, more is only better when rest & recovery can be “balanced” with the overload from the training volume & all of life’s other commitments, so…” sometimes” more is better.

          Before developing a training plan and discussing races distance options with an athlete there is one missing component, HONESTY. Foremost is for each athlete is to be honest with their relationship to their sport and their training schedule. There is a misconception that we can have balance in life. We argue that in a modern society there is no such thing as balance…only priorities. We simply have too much going on that competes for our attention and time. Determine what is important to you and why.

          While some are very dedicated and sacrifice various elements of life for a workout this does not mean that every athlete must contribute to that level of commitment.  You still can expect improvement and results in your performance. What do we need from you? When we (together) plan your training week(s), glance and get an idea of your personal, work, and social calendar. Based on that, we will schedule key sessions within the training program. Don’t ask yourself how much training you need, rather ask yourself how much time do I TRULY have, so we can properly develop your workout roaster. See what happens when you approach planning this way. Here are some guidelines to assist you in establishing your training availability:

  • Identify slots in your weekly schedule to add in workouts, periods that are likely not be disrupted by work, family and/or social life. What day of week, what time of day, and how much total time is there that can TRULY be committed? (The keyword: TRULY)
  • Pinpoint time gaps where you can train, but are more likely to be interrupted
  • Isolate periods where you are inflexible due to work meetings, commute, family, etc.

          Now we have a good idea where to place your key sessions and integrate support sessions. The key sessions are the “do not miss” sessions that provide the main specific training load of any given week.  Every athlete should place their emotional and physical importance on achieving these vital workouts to the best of their ability in any given week.  Obviously, the type and amount of key sessions/support sessions varies with each athlete, depending on each individual’s work/family/social week, athletic background and how much fatigue they are carrying & able to sustain. Scale down on workouts when you know you will be pinched for time and be fine knowing that you will not be able to get in every session. And vice versa. If you are fresh and have unexpected availability, you may include more workouts.  That brings us to four more questions to ask yourself regarding recovery: 

1. “How much sleep will I normally get?”

2. “Do these nights of sleep allow me to get 8 hours at least twice weekly?”

3. “Do I have any additional ‘buffer’ time to solely rest and relax?”

4. “Do I have proper post workout fueling, including timing of my meals?”

          If you fall short on any of the above listed questions please reach out to your coach so your plan can be redefined. We can’t emphasize enough NOT to chase the number of workouts you can cram in to simply stick to the current plan and get the color “green” in TrainingPeaks, no matter what.  Instead, pin the key sessions then follow your life, time, energy and other commitments to implement the supporting workouts. We would rather see 10-12 quality hours of workouts versus 16+ hours of up and down fatigue-ridden training! If you also notice that you are under-fueling following the workouts, changes are necessary. This could mean that, beyond the scaling of hours, to place specific focus on the habit of post training refueling, and replace the subtracted training hours with sleep or downtime.

          On a broad spectrum, the goal of the training is to prepare you for a chosen race.  This sounds easy but many athletes fall into the trap of thinking of the goal of training as “hard work”. Please remember that you train to perform, consequently, you gain positive adaptions when you train effectively & efficiently. If you follow this as a basis of your training, then you can make wise decisions and maximize your training potential.

Train Smart!