My association with balance comes in the form of my overall lifestyle – which by choice is that of an endurance athlete, with an everyday working/social life too. This is the tricky one to master a balance, not because I love one and have to try to make myself do the other, but because there generally seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day!
When I was first Ironman training I managed to maintain a great balance right up until the final few months – I chose to give up drinking in the last month, I was so tired on weekends for social things (and it wasn’t fun without the gin) and I generally had so much work to catch up on with any days off. All in all, to say I only struggled for 1-2 months to maintain a ‘balance’, I’d say that’s a pretty good job!
How do I manage this balance?
Treat the training that you do (if you are actually training for something) like a job, like, factor it into your daily timetable just like you do that meeting, or that party. Extra hours wont just appear, so you have to work them in.
When you do have social plans, they’re also just as important as your training or work. This isn’t just important for your relationship with your friends/fam (which is numero uno), but also for your own sanity! You’re working hard, enjoy the fun or down times…. We all know you need it!
Explain to your pals what the deal is! My friends aren’t into this triathlon business, but they’ve accepted it’s part of me and my life. Now they know what I’m doing (kind of, one friend genuinely thought I ran 150 miles everyday….LOL) and they know why I’m doing it, they’re generally just really supportive.
You have to get up early and keep on top of your sleep. I was training by 5am most mornings, certainly on nights that I had plans, so it’s super important to get the sleep (for recovery too).
If your week isn’t working, jig it around! Don’t be afraid to switch your plan up or sacrifice some training sessions if your boyfriend is flying you to Paris for the weekend (lucky you!) But seriously, it won’t kill you! Sometimes life just gets in the way – and that’s great!
Learn how to train hungover, or learn the meaning of ‘moderation’ (something I’m still yet to master), I know this probably isn’t the most sensible advice, but it’s real! Last year I went out most weekends, I would drive to my friends on the Saturday night for pre-drinks, go out in town, come home and sleep, then get up and run 10+ miles for my car, or bike, or whatever my training was! I got really good at training hungover, but I think it’s probably better if I advise that you just take it easy on how many drinks you have, or how late you stay out.
Although you’re technically training as though you’re an elite athlete – you aren’t. You aren’t getting paid (in actual fact you are just PAYING a fortune in money and time) to do this, which means it isn’t worth sacrificing a social life. I think triathlon is an amazing sport that has actually given me so many life experiences too, but could easily take some away if you let the training take hold of your whole life! Hopefully this helps you find a bit of balance.