When I don’t work overtime, I have a 46hours week. The first month I had to get used to this new rhythm and my training suffered from it. You can clearly see the curve of weekly and monthly mileage going down since I started in my company.
Frustration in my running and the fear to have a low-year in 2016.
So, to balance work and training, I had to make a plan: waking up early, preparing my gears the day before, showing some discipline, etc. Sure, I am not the only one out-there with these problems. If you want to get back on track, you’ll need willpower, motivation and discipline. Forget your frustration and follow these 7 tips to balance work and training.
1 – Define and set your goals
As I said in this past article, setting (realistic) goals are important. It also keeps you motivated to train. For example, my nearest goal is to finish my first ultra (72K) in March. I am already registered; my plane tickets and my hotel are booked. So now I have to deliver. It helps me to stay motivated, especially now, when the days are shorter and dark.
When you set yourself a goal, you can visualize it when it gets difficult to find motivation, when it’s hard to get your butt out of the couch after a 10hours day.
2 – Plan your workouts in advance
If you plan in advance, you can better anticipate.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
You decided to run early in the morning before work?
Prepare your tights, your shirt, your watch, and your shoes the night before. Make everything possible to not be dragged back to bed.
You decided to hit the gym after work today?
Prepare your sport-bag and take it with you at work so you don’t have to come back home before the workout.
If you are like me, you like to stick to your plan. I feel like failing if I don’t.
3 – Train smart, by prioritizing quality over quantity
You want to have a social life, maybe you have a family, you have a full-time job and still, you want to run an ultra or reach the sub-3hours for your next marathon? Let’s be honest. You have to make a choice.
Í always thought logging 70 miles a week would be key to my performance. I tried hard to reach this point (never did). And then I met Anke, who made my training plan for Paris Marathon. At first I was like “Is she crazy? Almost no long runs and only speed?” With targeted sessions and efficient training, I finally improved my PB on marathon distance drastically.
We all know running is more than just putting shoes on and go out. Now you have to cross train, to do core training, etc. You have to make a decision. Work with a trainer who will create a plan adapted to your lifestyle; inform yourself; learn new techniques… But find out how to train more efficiently!
4 – Be realistic with your goals
How much time do you have for your training?
How much time do you have for your family and friends?
Is this time enough to reach your goal?
Or is it inappropriate at the moment?
5 – Wake up early
If you really want it, then do it!
I wake up at 5.30 a.m. almost every day during the week to workout. Of course, that means that I will go to bed around 10 pm the night before. But I have goals, and I want to reach them. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone to create a new one.
Waking up earlier to go for a run is not a problem to me because I really love my morning runs. If you have no idea how to go out when everyone else is sleeping, try these tips.
Maybe it’s also easier to me, because I don’t have a family. I only have to combine my training with my social life and my work-time.
6 – Be creative, think about alternatives
I have two hours spinning a week as cross training in my plan. If I had a bike, I would bike to work and back home every day instead of blocking these two hours. Because it’s never two hours: you have to get to the gym, change, do your spinning, shower, go back home.
I work for a fitness brand that creates fitness studios. We have one near the office. I could actually easily run to work, and shower there. Or sometimes I just run back home.
These are my possibilities to combine everything together.
Find yours! If you really want to balance work and training, work and life, you will find a way.
Maybe you have a shower at work and you can go for a run at lunch.
Maybe you have a gym facility where you can do your core training near to the office.
There is always a way to go if you look for it. – Ernest A. Fitzgerald
7 – Be easy on yourself!
Sometimes, life gets in a way and you cannot fulfil your training.
Sometimes, you work overtime and you feel too exhausted to go for a run or to do your core training.
Learn to know your body.
Learn to know when it’s a kick in the ass that you need
and when it’s just a cup of tea and chill time.
Be kind to yourself.
Having a full-time job and high expectations on our running results must be combined with finesse.
To balance work and training ain’t gonna be easy, but it’s gonna be worth it!