This is a question that I believe I think many triathletes start to think about once life starts to unravel.
My recommendation is to start out by considering this issue as your first priority.
What do you have going on in your life and how much time can you really devote to triathlon?
To be brutally honest, there are some people who take on the task of training for an Ironman when they just don’t have enough time to enjoy the journey.
This is my 8 step process for achieving and maintaining balance…
- Do a thorough audit of your life and calculate exactly how much time you can devote to training each week on a consistent basis. We can all find the occasional week when we get lots done. Unless you are new to the sport then the easiest way to do this is to look at how many hours/week you averaged in the last 12 months.
- Make sure that you factor in at least 8 hours in bed every night and time to prepare and eat healthy food, ideally sitting down and eating slowly, not consuming while you are travelling or working at your desk
- Factor in 15-20 minutes of mobility work every day and at least 2 strength sessions. This helps to to create a robust body that will be less prone to injury
- With the remaining time, allocate roughly 25% to swimming, 30% to running and 45% to cycling.
- With swimming and running especially, focus on good technique and efficiency.
- Follow a polarised training method with the majority of your training time below 80% max heart rate and 10-20% above 90% max heart rate. The Maffetone method is excellent for building a great aerobic base
- Be patient and take a long term approach – endurance sports are long duration and it also takes a long time to develop appropriate fitness, so please don’t try to do everything y the time of your next race in a few months
- Be flexible. Those daily tasks you identified in #1 may require more energy from time to time (sick family members, work projects, travelling etc) so you may occasionally need to reduce training hours to maintain balance. Recognising when this is happening and taking appropriate action will help you to retain that balance. If you can follow a maintenance training load for a few weeks, you won’t lose any fitness.