About TriMax Our Background Our Philosophy Tri-Life Balance
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” -Jack Nicholson from The Shining
For the purposes of our discussion, this great line from Stephen King’s The Shining could read “All tri and no life makes Jack a dull boy.” Whether you’ve signed up for a marathon, ½ Ironman or full Ironman, it can be quite easy to lose perspective and become overly focused on the task at hand while negatively impacting those close to you. The intention of this article is to offer several suggestions on how to nip this problem in the bud before it ever rears it’s ugly head. Additionally, we’ll also look at techniques that can be used to engage interest in such athletic endeavors for those who feel that they can’t find the time and life balance to commit to such efforts.
Among the first question I ask any client is what are their athletic goal(s) and why they want to do it. This may sound overly simplistic, but it provides the very foundation for all further conversations. Such questions also allow for the setting of expectations. I don’t care how talented you are, but if you tell me you want to break 3 hrs in a marathon on 2-3 hours a week of training, it’s not going to happen. Conversely, if someone wants to do an Ironman under the 17 hour cutoff, such a plan could be put together on about 7-10 hours a week while most professionals are averaging close to 20-30 hours a week to do the same event in about 8.5 hours. Once this baseline has been set, we can move onto our secondary strategy, communication.
There are very few, if any, athletes that can honestly say their success is 100% attributable to their own personal commitment. Instead, almost all will cite the influence and support of peers, coaches, friends and family as major contributors to their success. Furthermore, everyone’s motivation can waver at times. It is in these times that the support network of those around you can mean so much. Even if your support network features friends and family that don’t understand your commitment to your goals, they can at least be educated as to the level of discipline you will be exercising in the realization of them. Once you have committed to a goal and the time surrounding it, tell them. Share the joy and power of your goal setting with everyone around you—significant others, kids, family, friends and even co-workers should all be aware of the time commitment you will be making. Not only does this prevent future conflicts around your priorities, it can also be motivating to those around you as they see you progress against your plan.
So, now you have a goal, you have researched the time associated with realizing it and told everyone around you about your intentions. Perfect. One more step to take. Planning your work and working your plan.
Whether your goal is to complete a 5K run or to break 11 hours for a full Ironman, planning can be critical for both life balance and the realization of your goal. Firstly, the creation of an annual training plan allows you to share the actual details of your plan with your support network. A successful plan will outline exact workout times and goals by day, week and month. By doing so, you’ve created a road map to success for your support network to follow while also creating milestones for yourself in how you are progressing. Such a plan should also highlight priority events in your life that supersede the importance of athletic goals. Graduations, birthdays, vacations, work commitments can all be fleshed out to ensure any conflicts in time are addressed before they become larger issues, causing greater demands on your time and energy.
These same tools can be used for individuals who are intimidated by ‘stretch’ athletic goals. As an example, there are dozens of plans available for people interested in doing marathons that demand no more than about 8 hours of training per week. This may sound like a lot of time for some people, but taken in perspective with an activity like watching television (the average American watches over 2 hours a day—or 14 hours a week), such a time commitment pales in comparison and yields an untold amount of personal growth and satisfaction that television could never offer. So, after you’ve done your research, committed to a goal, communicated it to those around you, take the next step by challenging someone close to you to do the same. You’ll introduce them to a new level of fitness and give something back to the sport that’s given so much to you.