How to make training work in your busy life

Being an athlete is tough, especially if you are an adult athlete.

As an adult athlete, it can feel very overwhelming to try to dedicate enough time to every important component of your life. 

While it’s important to identify yourself as an athlete while training for your upcoming events, your primary role in life is much more than just being an athlete. Being an athlete is a choice and your training is a hobby. As you train your body for your upcoming athletic event, it is important that you do not neglect your parent, spouse, family or job responsibilities just to be an athlete.

In life, human beings have to make a lot of lifestyle choices. These choices help people function better in life with improved energy, mood, productivity and health.

As an athlete, these choices are extremely important as they help you adapt to training while keeping you in good health, but they help with the flow of your extremely busy life.

Life as an athlete is tough. It’s busy, it’s rushed, it’s packed and it involves a lot of decisions and planning. As an athlete, your life is like a puzzle and each piece of the puzzle makes up your ability to function well in life. Sometimes, it may feel like all the pieces are there and sometimes it may feel like there’s always a piece or two missing.

As an athlete, you don’t need every piece of the puzzle to be perfectly in place for you to function well in life but you need the pieces of the puzzle to be there. And for those pieces to be present, you do need to make a lot of decisions on a daily basis. These decisions will always be tough because there’s a lot of moving parts to your life - you have a responsibility to your family, spouse and job to show up, be present and take care of others but you also have a responsibility to your body to prepare for your upcoming event.

As an athlete, sometimes you will make decisions that are very easy and sometimes you will make decisions that are very, very hard. For you to achieve athletic excellence, you must be motivated to make decisions all the time – no matter how easy or hard.

For example, 6 weeks out from a key race, athletes are very motivated to make decisions. Athletes will not skip workouts, they will cut out alcohol and sweets, they will pay attention to the diet, they focus on good sleep and they remove outside stressors. Decision making is a great priority. These athletes are still great parents, they show up to work on time and they are great people, but athletes prioritize the decisions that are made, all in an effort to help with race day preparation.

Right now, making decisions is probably pretty tough as it relates to race preparation. It’s cold, you are too busy, races are far away, it’s no fun running on the treadmill, riding on the trainer is boring, the pool is too far away, it takes too long to cook, etc.

One of the easiest ways to make better decisions is to focus on the many lifestyle factors that can help you feel less overwhelmed with your training.

Although it's hard to change lifestyle habits, I can tell you that when you focus on good sleep, a healthy diet, good recovery, daily mobility, stress management, communication with your family and consistency in training, it’s a lot easier to function in life. Even though this may look like a lot to focus on, life actually becomes less overwhelming when healthy lifestyle habits are in place.  There are less missed workouts, you feel less overwhelmed, your body isn’t as tired and your body is more prepared when you get to that next stage of training. Your week just seems to flow very smoothly when you make good decisions with your lifestyle.

And let’s be honest – training makes you feel good and function better in life. So why push training aside when you feel overwhelmed??

It all comes down to your lifestyle choices. 

Training should not be a chore or an obligation but something that you want to do because it makes you feel good, it makes you happy, it makes you feel less stressed, it makes you a better parent and feel less overwhelmed and you are being a good role model to people around you.

I know that it’s hard to balance training with life and sometimes, training adjustments will need to be made and workouts will need to be missed. But, by being an active participant in your life and making great lifestyle choices (ex. plan ahead, be creative, communicate, manage your time well, be practical), you will find a way to make training less overwhelming in your busy life.

Training is not always fun but it's important that you enjoy your athletic journey so that one day in the near future you can look back and tell yourself that it was all worth it.