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Triathlon Balance: What To Do When Life Gets In The Way

Back in March, when if felt like warmer weather would never get here, I was really looking forward to this summer. I dreamed of having time to read a few new books, of spending long lazy days lounging by the pool, of hosting dinner parties with friends on the deck, and of going on lots of weekend vacations and camping trips.

Oh, and of course, it would be effortless to find plenty of time to fit in my triathlon training.

Triathlon Balance: What To Do When Life Gets In The Way |

But it is July already and this summer hasn’t been so luxurious or full of free time. We moved (twice) in June, my work schedule at the hospital increased and the days seem to speed by faster then ever before. So fast in fact, that our triathlon training hasn’t always been our top priority.

One of our friends is training for her first triathlon on top of her job, finishing her last semester of graduate school, planning a wedding (she’s getting married next month!) and buying a house. Needless to say, she hasn’t had as much time to train as she hoped she would.

If you’re like us, it can be tough to train for a triathlon and still have a life. Is balance possible? We think so! Here’s what we’ve found helps us keep moving forward and making progress when life gets in the way.

1. Just Do Something

Whether it’s a 5-minute toning workout at a rest stop during your next road trip, a quick bike strength training routine that you can do with a chair, or a swim in the lake before you lounge on the shore with a good book, just do something. Even a good stretch session while you watch your favorite TV show can help keep you feeling great as well as maintaining your fitness level.

Not only that, but getting your body moving in some way, even for just 5 minutes, can help you de-stress and have a more positive outlook on life… especially when it gets crazy busy.

2. Let It Go

If you’ve taken one too many rest days (we all have) or have just been too busy to workout, don’t spend any extra time or energy feeling guilty or worrying about “falling out of shape”. Worrying about the workouts that you missed won’t solve anything. Instead, let it go, move on and resume your training tomorrow.

Triathlon Balance: What To Do When Life Gets In The Way |

A few missed workouts here and there won’t make a huge difference for you on race day if you’re training consistently on the other days.

3. Prioritize

Is getting in a long bike ride after work really more important then meeting some out-of-town friends for a last minute get together? Probably not.

Relationships are important, and your friendships or marriage shouldn’t suffer just because you’re training for a triathlon. In a few weeks, your triathlon will be over, but your friendships will last forever.

Now we’re not saying you should forgo all of your workouts and hang out with your friends every night instead, but we will be the first ones to give you the nod of approval if you opt for an evening on your friend’s pontoon boat instead of going for a run.

4. Everyone Join In!

So you’ve got a triathlon coming up, but you also really want to spend some quality time with your spouse or friends. Well, invite them along for a workout!

Triathlon Balance: What To Do When Life Gets In The Way |

Go for a walk/run at a new park, or rent bicycles and ride downtown to see an outdoor concert, or spend the day at the lake and go for a swim together, followed by a picnic. There are a ton of ways that you can still train and spend time with your friends.

5. Maximize Your Time

Being the Type B triathletes that we are, Davey and I have a really hard time waking up before the sun coms up just to get in a workout. Maybe we’re not disciplined enough, or maybe we’re just smart, but we think that it’s totally possible to get in a great triathlon workout without having to wake up extra early. (But on those days you do wake up early to workout, here are a few tips to help make morning workouts easier).

The key is to maximize your time by really pushing yourself during your workout. When you do a high intensity workout, you are getting the most bang for your buck. A shorter, more intense workout is a great substitution for a normal training session when you don’t have a ton of time.

Try adding some hills and fartleks to your 2 mile run or swim 25 yards at a slow pace and then sprint the next 25 yards. Save the longer workouts for the weekend, or when you have more time.

What do you do when life gets in the way?

How do you train for a triathlon and still have a life?


  1. Trainer Davey
    Trainer Davey07-14-2014

    I like how you snuck a picture of me and only me “lounging” after our workout.

    Nice! We were awesomely sweaty after that brick session in the hot hot heat.