Lets face it, when you have a baby life changes a little. You spend many nights waking up 3 or 4 times per night (or more), get up early for work, finish work, change nappies, feed baby, make dinner, wash baby clothes, bibs… the list goes on and on. So how do you have time to train for an Ironman or any triathlon for that matter? I only have one baby in the house, so if you have more, managing your time effectively is even more important!
Here are 5 ways you can maximise your time when you have a baby and you’re training for triathlon. Adapt them to whatever your occupation, however many children you have, wherever you live in the world, whatever event you’re training for.
Micro-manage your day: Complete tasks fast!
Give yourself time limits to complete tasks i.e taking out the bins, tidy the lounge, wash up, ironing, make dinner, showering. Now I don’t mean set a timer on your phone for 60 seconds to take the bins out, but what’s stopping you just getting tasks done fast? Don’t let them snowball from one simple thing, to ten different things. Theres a lot to get done. If there’s something to do, do it! Don’t waste time.
I’ll give you an example. Between 5pm-6pm I might need to prepare dinner, get baby’s bath ready, change nappy, tidy living area, entertain baby, all before heading out on a 10km run with dinner being ready to cook on my return. How can I make that hour as efficient as possible so that the time is well spent?
Well, firstly, I don’t turn the TV on and slob out on the sofa as soon as I get home. I don’t sit flicking through Instagram and wasting my time on there. And I don’t sit on the sofa twiddling my thumbs waiting for the rain to come. I just get on with what I need to do and I get it done fast.
This goes for other parts of my day too. What can you do while you travel to work? Do you drive to work? In which case, can you get up earlier to train or get some tasks done so you don’t have to do them later on? I catch public transport to work – 1 hour there, 1 hour back – I make the most of the bus journey by catching up on emails, listening to training vlogs, reading up on training methods, prioritising my day.
What can you fit into your day? Instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media, what can you do to help improve the way you spend your time?
Waking up v’s Bed time:
Decide what time of the day you operate most efficiently. I have to go to bed early, I just can’t go to bed late as well as getting up at 4/5/6am. Between 9-10pm I’m in bed and pretty much asleep. Generally speaking, I’m exhausted from training, baby, work, public transport, cooking dinner, tidying the house etc etc. I use my time effectively when I wake up early.
On a normal day, when Im going to work, I might be up anywhere between 4-6am. If I’m off work my alarm is at 6am. Depending on priorities, I’ll get some work done, blog, breakfast, train, look after baby. The main thing is I get shit done. Having a 5 month old means there is potential for some sleepless nights, which at the moment is pretty regularly. She just can’t stop waking up in the night – I think something to do with teething, but we’re not quite sure.
Anyway, sometimes its hard, sometimes I struggle to get up in the morning, but it’s essential, otherwise there comes a build up of tasks and then nothing gets done. If there’s one thing to do, get it done, otherwise that one thing will have built up into 10 things and so on, and so forth.
Sharing responsibility of baby:
Of course, this goes without saying, assuming there are two of you parenting the child, its important to communicate with each other and ensure you both have time to do the things you enjoy (as well as looking after baby).
Take it in turns to baby sit while the other trains or goes to their pottery class, or sees friends, or reads a book. Then when its your turn, make the most of the time you have. Set out a plan of what you’re going to do. “Okay, when you get back at 5pm, I’m going for a run for 1 hour before making dinner.” Done. How easy was that.
Maybe I’m the only one, I don’t know, but do you not get mentally exhausted sometimes when entertaining baby, regardless of how much you love them? Take time for yourself, but make sure you communicate with your partner.
Prioritise tasks – write lists:
If you don’t know what you need to do in the time you give yourself, your time will be wasted deciding what you need to get done. Write things down, prioritise the things most important in your day. Set out your training plan. What does it look like?
Monday – Swim, Run, Tuesday – Bike, Wednesday – Swim? Write it down and then organise when you will complete it.
What time? During your lunch break? Straight off the bus after work? Then whose cooking dinner and which one is looking after baby? Have you been food shopping yet?
So much to think about. Set out when you’re going to swim so that when you leave work at 5pm tomorrow you need to bolt straight for the pool, no excuses, no nonsense, GET SHIT DONE. Don’t waste your time, its extremely valuable. Particularly when you have a child.
What works well for me is that I dedicate two days per week where I put in some Km’s in training. Saturday morning is my key day. 6am road ride, anywhere between 3-4 hours, plus a road run of around 10km/45-60minutes. This is locked in every Saturday morning. Jordanna likes running later in the day so this works well for us. Plus, by the time I’m home, its 9/10am and mum and baby are just about woken up. Weekdays are flexible for training, usually swimming straight after work, or running when I get home from work. Dedicating a day or two just means you know you have to do the work and you know you’ll be getting something done.
It is of course hard when you get that phone call from work and you have to stay late, or somethings gone wrong and your day has just been extended an extra 3 hours. I get it. So, if you know you don’t work on certain days – get some training locked in! We all know there are stumbling blocks every week. How can we work around these, should anything happen? Whats the solution?