Unless you are a professional cyclist, you’d be forgiven for not making cycling your number one priority. Even if you are pro, you still might not consider your work top on your list!
I’ve worked with, and know, many professionals and the ones who now don’t ride for a living say the 10 hours per week training they do around their 40 hour a week job is far harder than the 40 hours a week they used to spend riding their bikes. Definitely worth a thought.
Many people go blindly into a decision to place training high on a pedestal, lacking the foresight to see potential problems coming later; busy jobs, changes in responsibilities or family matters are just a few examples of how one moment you feel you can dedicate your whole life to cycling and then the next you are virtually quitting.
Even when I get a cyclist approach me for coaching who says that they are able to focus 100% on their goals, their partner and kids will understand the next 6-9 months will be focused on them and their boss is on board with it all too, I like to approach with caution. Take a step back a moment, are your goals requiring you to focus 100% or is there some ley-way? You will be very lucky to go 6-9 months without an interference that causes you to divert from the plan and in that case the damage to your plans, and motivation at least, might be devastating.
Approaching training from the perspective that it is important to you, but, still not the most important factor in your life will give you more perspective and better balance. If you feel you need to be 100% committed to reach your goals, consult with a coach, see what they say and if they agree, you might want to reconsider those goals. After all, it is better to step back a bit than fail altogether. Training isn’t just about the work you put in on the bike, it is about the support you receive from loved ones and work.
Let’s suggest that you have all this sorted and that you have realistic goals, but still want to push on. Perhaps you are racing and you know that if you could carve out an extra hour per week you could hit a new personal best or get that license upgrade, what can you do? Well here are my top tips for finding the perfect family / work / training balance.
Ordinarily I hate factoring in commutes, they are very difficult to control, often the training is sloppy or just not anywhere near what we need. However, maybe commuting one day per week will open up the possibility of an extra ride. Of course, if you live too far away, or even too close, this might not be the for you. However, if you live in the goldilocks vicinity to your work this might be a real winner.
With it being just one day per week, you can easily prepare by bringing extra clothes the day before to change into. Get some dry shampoo if you work has no showers and you can reduce the need to carry anything with you while commuting, by bringing it in the day before. It really isn’t as bad as it might initially sound.
Train at Work
If you find yourself constantly working and you live too far away to commute, you could explore the idea of leaving a bike and trainer there. Sure this might not be for anyone in a public facing job, but, if you can secure the bike, your boss doesn’t mind and there is the room, would it hurt?
You have the potential to then fit a session in during the day and get work done around it. Worried how your boss will take the request? Pitch it as a benefit to productivity. You know how good you feel post-workout; you know you’ll get more work done if you can get the training done too.
Involve the Family
When your problem is more at home than it is in the workplace, you could explore the idea of involving your family in your training. Can they join you in an off-the-bike gym session or even a spin class where everyone goes at their own pace?
This is a huge win. Never has anyone implemented this and found their families want even more time. Mostly you’ll find family members are truly grateful you would involve them in something that means so much to you and then they’ll be more co-operative when you need a bit more time later on.
Get Off Your Phone
Be honest, how much time do you spend on social media a day? While I’m not saying that you need to stop doing that, can you do that while on the bike training? Perhaps this isn’t one for those who ride more outdoors, but, it is very easy to train indoors and socialise online. You might even get a few emails done too.
Anchor Your Day
What are the tasks you simply must do per day that can’t be moved? If this is work, this becomes your anchor. Perhaps it isn’t and you have to do the school run, then this is your anchor.
Take a calendar and mark anchors in, then list everything else you must do during the day and see where you can fit more time in. Maybe your boss wouldn’t mind you coming in an hour early and going home a little earlier. Maybe your partner wouldn’t mind doing the morning school run, if you committed to the afternoon one.
Eventually, you’ll have a full day with everything you need to do on it. Seriously give this a go, it is very likely you’ll carve out a huge chunk of time implementing this. Then the only thing left to do is to follow it. Phone prompts are excellent for this.
No matter what your position, you can always find the perfect family /work / training balance and if you’re still struggling, give us an email, we would love to help.