Getting your training in during a tight schedule can be difficult. Feelings of guilt can build up if you miss a workout, or cut one short because you are pressed for time.
Some athletes work out unique solutions for time challenges relative to training. An avid cycling friend of mine took to bike commuting 60 miles round trip to his office and back. That foundation of nearly daily riding prepared him well for a planned trip to France, where along with a group of other talented riders, they tackled famous Tour climbs such as Alpe du Huez and Mont Vontoux.
You may not be able to commute by bike to work, but you should not neglect the value of a one hour ride when you can squeeze it in. That’s about the divide for endurance training on the bike. Lance Armstrong once stated that he did not go out on the bike for less than one hour. For all his negative press about doping, the man did know how to train.
There is also a strategy that suggests intensity is a great substitute for time. In other words, if you don’t have time for an hour ride, throw on your gear and ride hard for half an hour. I use the oversized block around a park to do mini-criteriums. With four turns and four long straightaways, the block crit is critical practice for actual bike racing. Riding half an hour at 20+ miles an hour is an excellent workout.
The same goes for running. So many runners pile up mileage that does not do them real good. On many occasions, it is far better to run four miles within a minute of race pace than it is to slog along for six or eight miles at whatever pace your body allows. When pinched for time, there’s really no gain in those three or four extra slow miles. They cost you time, and the returns are minimal.
The mental aspect of short training is critical as well. Getting some sort of workout in can still be a stress relieving bit of exercise. And while setting PRs come race day may be your goal, there is also the short-term benefit of mental health to consider. That’s why it pays not to sweat or forget the small stuff. It’s okay if you don’t hammer a big workout every day. Take what you can if life hands you time lemons.
There may even be times when it is best to punt. Yesterday with temperatures in the 90s and humidity over 90% as well, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to run once I stepped on the street and started jogging. The previous days had included three straight days of riding, a couple strong swims and a run to boot. My legs and body were tired, and my health is finally stabilizing after this anti-biotic-driven bout with C-Diff. So I turned around and got in the car, drove the mile to the health club and did some excellent lifting, which is much needed as well.
Now I grant you, Ironman training is a different animal indeed. That would be a different conversation entirely. Yet even Ironman athletes have to be sensitive to their limits, and sometimes take their luck as it’s handed to them.
Neither sweat or forget the small stuff. It pays to be flexible sometimes.
(OUCH) I JUST WATCHED PIERRE ROULLAND IN THE TOUR DE FRANCE SLIP ON THE ROAD AND CRASH INTO TEH DIRT AND GRAVEL OFF ROAD. THAT SUCKS.