One of the hardest things about training for 70.3 (or whatever your distance) is balancing everything. I have a 6 (turning 7) year old, a Husband, a House and a full-time job. It takes a village to make sure everything gets done and my family is amazing with helping they way they do.
Most of the time I do okay keeping up with everything, but Sonja Wieck's latest entry got me thinking of some of the things I try to do (not always successfully or timely) to make things easier for my family, for me and to make sure I stick to my training plans. Now, especially, in the last 5 weeks before my "A" race. My biggest problem is, once one thing falls out of synch, other things do as well and domestic chores just snowball! The same goes for my training... if something happens and I miss a session, my training sessions snowball and I'm killing myself by the end of the week. Not good for quality training sessions or keeping injury free.
Sonja's entry has some great ideas for being organized and she shares some great resources that help ensure success during "crunch time." So be sure to check it out! It was funny to see I'm partially as organized as a pro, but just don't have pro speed, pro build and mad-pro-skillz. LOL I do, however, have the same domestic challenges, and there is some comfort in that fact, knowing we all have the same struggle.
Some of my tips... Many of these ideas are no brainers... some are great! I'm just short of implementing them all 100% of the time. It would be amazing if I was super human and could! LOL
1) Use Google calendar. Both Hubs and I are online all day long at our jobs. I linked my Training Peaks schedule to my Google Calendar, so he has an idea of what my training plans are for the week. He does the same with his.
2) Most days, I make my breakfast the night before and early morning workout. Most of the time I'm good with this... occasionally I'm rushing to do it in the morning. If I don't do this, I'm setting myself up for a fail with breakfast. Not good.
I also try to make extra for Hubs, to make it a little easier for him too. Funny story: Last week it was one of those weeks I wasn't so well at pre-prepping. So there were two days where I made my meals in the morning before leaving. I was so consumed with getting MY stuff together, I forgot about Hubs. Last night I said, "Hey I'm sorry I didn't make you any eggs last week, I was just consumed with trying to get myself out the door in time." He says, "Yeah, I was kinda wondering what I had done wrong." For a second I thought he was serious, but he was joking, thankfully.
3) Use the auto-brew feature on the coffee pot! Hubs generally sets it up and he'll remember for a long time... then he'll get lazy, then I'll set it up for a while, then I get lazy. We both appreciate the fact it's there, ready, when we come downstairs, so why we get "lazy" with this task sometimes is beyond me. Maybe it's just rebellion for having to maintain an already tight schedule? LOL
4) Try to make things easier for Hubs to get out the door with the Kiddo when I'm at early-morning workouts. Hubs and Cass-a-frass are kinda pokey and they know it. Easily taken off track by morning TV or the computer... locating the hair brush or the favorite swim suit. I try to make Cass' lunch and sometimes breakfast, if I have time.
5) We've tried to "empower" Cass with things she can do to help in the house. Like emptying her backpack and lunch box after Day Camp, and even making her own lunch for the next day. This worked really well for a while, but she groans and is, well, *over it* now. It was something that worked and we really should be better about enforcing it. Even the little ones have to pull their weight where they can.
6) Don't knock it until you try it: Alternative scheduling. I used to do all my workouts after work. This made for some later evenings and that didn't work well for the family. I decided to try to do my workouts in the early-am. Hubs is not an early-AM trainer... definitely not as early-early and I'm willing to go. I'm not a complete fan of it, but it makes for better balance at home so I can deal with getting up and half-past-still-dark, if it means getting my workouts in.
7) Don't waste time folding workout clothes. We have more workout clothes than regular clothes in a week's worth of laundry. We have bins for tri shorts, running skirts, running shorts. I still hang my tech tees/tanks, but that's about it. This was hard for me, because I come from a family of undie-folders; we also gave up folding undies! We have a bin for those as well!
8) I'm convinced too that my favorite race tech-tees and sports bras last longer because I don't put them in the dryer! I always hang them dry. Hubs hacked a drying rack in the laundry room. We had one of those over-the-door hooks in the bathroom with like 8 hooks on it. He moved it to the laundry room and it's been totally awesome to hang my sports bras on to try!
9) Because I swim a 5:15am Masters Class 3 times a week, I keep a bag packed with all my stuff I need to get ready for work, which I do at the Fitness Center. Each day I have Masters I just need to pickout my clothes and throw undergarments and shoes in my bag, which always stays packed for convenience. I use travel size shampoo/conditioner which I can refill once a week. I also have one of those towels that velcros around you, which is soooo nice to get ready in, rather than trying to put clothes on a showered body that is still sweating from a workout.
10) I have a separate bag for all my pool toys (goggles, kick board, bouy, Zoomers, paddles). The toy bag stays in my car, so it's not forgotten.
11) We have cubes with storage for all of our swim/bike/run stuff. Hubs has one set. I have another. Even Cassie has a cubbie! It's really helped me have one central location for everything and I'm now less likely to misplace my heart rate strap, sunglasses, or favorite visor.
12) I'm still trying to become okay with the concept of saying "No" and asking for help and clearly communicating what I have time to do and what I don't have time to do. This goes for doing things with Friends, triathlon, chores, errands, etc. This is still a hard one sometimes. I'm getting better at it because I appreciate the balance it can bring when practiced routinely. I'll get there. :)
13) When 2 people are training for a race in the same household, everything gets completely crazy twice as fast. Flexibility and communication is key. If you're the one not training, you're helping to get caught up with all things domestic. It gets stressful because you can easily feel a disconnect because you're training all the time. In our case we have a kid, so unless we spend $$$ for a sitter, we can't really even train together. We have done that before though! It's important to make family time -- we know when we need it.
In closing, I feel like this time around I've been better balanced. Has it been crazy? Heck yeah, but I think the early-morning training is better for the family. More of an inconvenience for me and an added morning challenge for Hubs having to get Cassie and himself out the door, but I'm home most nights, which wasn't happening before. I also took time at the beginning of the year to consider a smaller race schedule, knowing I had the September 70.3 race. This race kept me focused on training, more so than racing, so I wasn't racing every weekend, like I've done in years past. I also learned to say No, and volunteer less, especially when longer training weekends begin (like now!). Also, a gentle reminder to the spouse that heavy training weekends are approaching, is a nice heads-up. Hope I don't sound like a know-it-all. We still have our struggles, but we recognize it and are open and flexible to working through the challenges.