This is a new one for me.
I worked a fairly steady 9-5 the past five years. There were some earlier mornings, late nights, and weekend work that had to get done, but my previous company truly valued its employees, and I never felt burnt out or stretched too thin for too long. The job rarely felt like it ate up my whole life, so I could easily build a training plan into my schedule however far out I wanted. My work schedule was always pretty consistent.
Now? Yeah, right.
Working a few part-time jobs with some freelance thrown in there has pretty much blown up any plan I had for my training. I get my work schedules two-three weeks in advance and they always include early mornings, late nights, and wonky weekend hours that fall juuuuuuust so that it makes it difficult to get any solid workouts in. And forget about warm ups or cool downs.
I’m not training for any races right now, and I’ll be off the bike for a bit longer due to the crash so, thankfully, that means I can be a bit more flexible when it comes to fitting in runs or walks. But it still ain’t easy, and sometimes it is frustrating.
My cousin’s husband is an Ironman triathlete (AKA TOTAL BADASS) and he said during his training for those races, it felt nearly impossible to get in the miles and hours he needed to properly prepare for a race of that caliber.
I’ve had some time to think on it and live with it…and these are my tips for trying to have a somewhat consistent training schedule when your work or life schedule is batshit crazy. Check it.
Here is a beautiful, completely unrelated picture of Colorado’s snowy mountains. Majestic, right?
1. Have a backup workout in your back pocket. Maybe you have to stay late at work one night unexpectedly…or maybe that one long, long day of work took more out of you than you thought…and the couch sucked you in. I’d say have a backup workout planned just in case. Swap your rest day with this training day and try to squeeze in some miles then. If it’s too dark outside to run or bike and/or the pool is closed, have an indoor HIIT workout queued up or hop on the bike trainer for a quick spin.
2. Ballpark your weekly miles, don’t carve them in stone. It’s always going to feel like a letdown if you set exact numbers then fall short. If you are in just a “fitness” season of life and not a training season, start with a range you’d feel good about (whether running or biking) and go from there.
3. Recruit a friend or friends. Eeeearly mornings and late nights are the toughest times to fit in some movement, but if you make a date with a friend, that’s something to look forward to, not dread. Even better if you pick a friend who is in the same boat you are work-wise.
4. Set your availability at work. When I began my part-time jobs, they both asked if there were any hours/days I could absolutely NOT work and, because I’m an idiot, I gave them both FULL availability. If you want to make training or fitness a priority, give yourself set hours for that each week. Work with your employer if you can from the beginning to block out personal time for your sweat sessions–AND rest days.
5. Add in one more rest day per week. -Maybe this seems counterintuitive but resting is just as important as training–it’s PART of training. So if your goals and season of life allows, take that extra rest day per week. Sometimes the stress of trying to fit in workouts and then missing them due to busy schedules is worse than the physical stress. That’s something I’ve implemented these days. I love having six solid workouts a week and one rest day, but some weeks that is just not feasible, especially with longer commute times. So if I have 4-5 workouts each week I am a happy camper.
6. Call work your workout. I work in retail now, and I’m on my feet all. frickin. day. I go up and down stairs, I squat, pick up heavy things, put them down, bend, stretch, and rarely sit down. It’s basically crossfit, ya know? 😉 I also end up walking 10,000+ steps every single day while I’m working. If I get in a run before work, that is great, but if I don’t, I can be happy with the amount of movement I’ve done…even if it doesn’t go on Strava.
Do any of these help? What’s your schedule like?
Keep going. Keep pushing. Keep being awesome.
Push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>