2 time-crunched workouts

Everything in moderation. You have probably heard this saying a lot when it comes to the diet but what about when applied to an athlete's workout regime?

Well, I don't want to be a moderate athlete. I want to be the best athlete I can be.
Because my season is focused on endurance racing, I know that there is a specific training regime that I need to follow and accomplish to be mentally and physically prepared for my races.

However, just because I have training plan for the week, this doesn't mean that it can never change. Understanding that life brings changes, stressful moments and days when free-time to train is extremely limited. 

I never sacrifice my diet, sleep or work to train. Work pays the bills and my diet and sleep contribute to performance gains. I have learned through making many mistakes in my endurance training and racing lifestyle over the past 9 years that the quality of workouts matter more than the quality.

Additionally, I constantly remind my athletes that what you do (or don't do) between your workouts (when they do occur) is how we get stronger, faster and more powerful as athletes. Just because you can check off a workout, it doesn't mean that it will bring performance gains if you are sacrificing other things in life that will assist in physical performance gains. 

This past week has been quite busy for us and the planned training routine was modified almost every day. For me and Karel, one week of training never matches the next week of training, even if we accomplish every workout in our training plan.

On Thursday evening, it was nearing 6:30pm and I had a key bike and EZ run on my schedule. Although we rode in the morning with our athlete Justine for almost 2 hours, that ride was all about  her. We would have been just fine not working out in the evening but we both felt like we needed our own personal workout. Karel did a 6 mile run (starting from my mom's house because we needed to help her with something from 4-6pm) and I got on the trainer.

My main set on the trainer was 25 minutes and my main set for the run was 4 minutes. Here's the workout:
(disclaimer, although I share my workouts please keep in mind that they specific to where I am in my periodized training plan. It is important to focus on your development as an athlete and build a strong foundation and powerful body prior to doing any speed work). 

Thursday PM workout:
Trainer Bike: 
10 min mobility/hip/glute work
20 min warm-up (Z1-Z2, increasing cadence and effort every 5 minutes)
MS 5x's:
3 minutes heavy gear at Z3 power
2 minutes high cadence, Z3 power
10 min cool down

Brick Run: 
2 min run to the other side of my neighborhood
8 x 30 sec hill sprints w/ 90 sec walk/jog in between (down the hill)
2 min run back home

On Saturday morning, we needed to be in the car to head to Asheville for a meeting at 9:20am (meeting at 11am, 1:20 drive to Asheville) so without sacrificing sleep or fueling before the workout, we planned to head to the Y at 7am. Things would have been different in terms of our run and available time to train if it wasn't raining outside so the treadmill run was better than no run and thus, we made a quality workout out of it.

Karel did his own workout and I did as follows:

Saturday AM workout: 
10 min hip/glute/mobility work (I will never skip this before a run even if that means running 10-15 minutes less)

20 min EZ run with 1 min rest at 9 and 19 minutes. 

MS: 20 x 90 sec hill runs at 4% incline with 30 sec rest (straddle treadmill) in between. 
#1-10 @ 7.5 mph (steady)
#11-15 @ 7.8 mph (strong, felt the burn the last 30 sec)
#16-19 @ 8 mph (strong, felt the burn the last 60 sec)
#20 @ best effort, 8.6 mph (felt the burn at 15 sec)

3 min cool down
Total: 1:05, 7.75 miles

The wonderful part of focusing on quality workouts  and making the most out of your available time is knowing that you are still moving closer to your fitness goals but you are not skipping the valuable steps in your development. Plus, if you use your time wisely, you will recover faster, perform better and still enjoy the awesome things in life that will make you smile on race day.

Like Campy exploring the Asheville woods. 

A few take-aways for the time-crunched athlete:
-There are going to be times when you feel so rushed to get it all done. Never sacrifice sleep or healthy eating and proper fueling at the expense of getting in a longer workout  or more workouts.
-Make sure you have a few key workouts during the week dedicated to your development. It's great to workout  with friends but your workouts need to be focused on you and your progression in order for you to apply those workouts to your race day.
-Never underestimate the power of a shorter workout. I challenge anyone to tell me that a 5K all out effort is easier than a 10-mile steady long run. In order to focus on quality workouts you need to get your mind focused and stop telling yourself that more is always better. 
-Your fitness development is based on consistent workouts and frequent workouts. Use this advice to have a global perspective on your training. If you are able to only work out 3 times during the week, make sure they are quality workouts and don't overdo it on the weekends to make up for time-lost during the week. If you can get in 5 x 30 min workouts during the week that is much better than 1-2 ok workouts during the week and 1-2 epic workouts on the weekend.
-A haphazard training plan where you are just checking off workouts to get them done, just going through the motions with an underfueled, exhausted body, following someone else's training or using fear based training to make you feel more prepared for race day, comes with great risks and consequences. Be smart with your available time to train.