by Katie Aguilar
Katie Aguilar has been a Team Podium Race team member and qualified for/raced Kona in 2017. She's sharing bits of wisdom she's learned along the way in a new blog series!
Before committing to a race schedule or a long distance race that will require at least a couple of months of big training weeks, be honest with yourself about if you have the time to do it and enjoy the training. There will be some stress. Heck, I have no kids and no pets, and sometimes I feel a little stressed. I have to ask for my husbands help with some things.
By being honest about your ability to commit and having open communication with your significant other and family, any challenge should be manageable. You can eek out every moment of unbridled joy in the training, and not just finish the race or season to feel that happiness.
You need to think about the entire time it will take to complete a workout. There is a lot more time that goes into it than that block of written time that shows up in Training Peaks.
Let’s say you have 12-hours of scheduled workouts for a week. In reality, you are looking at at least 20 hours of your life. I don’t say this to gripe....I love what I get to do. I often schedule more time than necessary because honestly, I love this stuff and want to enjoy it vs feeling rushed. I wait for the big stuff like a kid waits for Christmas. I also know this is a luxury not afforded to many. But whether you have all the time in the world or a more realistic scenario, I suggest you be realistic with your time expectations.
A run isn't just the one (or two or three) hour block of time on the schedule. Consider warm up (not just the 10-minutes of easier running but actual warm-up routines you do....especially important for morning runs when your body hasn’t really moved for a while), preparing fluids/nutrition for the run, reflective gear to put on for dark runs, etc. Meeting a friend? Add on at least 10 minutes for chatting. This is fun and social engagement is important. Why else would you run with them? I’ve gotten pretty good at ending close to home but often walk some after to cool down. Add on another 10 minutes for that. And stretch. An hour run out the door can easily take 1.5+ hrs with getting dressed, warming up, cooling down, and cleaning up.
Riding the trainer? Consider that there's nutrition, setting things up, or driving to the location if an organized group. And if a group...add in chat time.
Riding your bike outside? There are people who can ride out their door but I’m not so fortunate. I usually drive at least 45- minutes. Packing the car with equipment, clothes for after, and recovery nutrition. I allocate 30 to set up once I arrive (nutrition on bike, shoes, helmet, sunglasses on me, pump tires, set up gadgets). If it’s just me I can do it faster. But longer rides and/ or more people add time. More people are the social factor! Then there is packing up after your ride and getting your bike back on the rack. And once home emptying gear from the car, cleaning bottles, clearing out wrappers, etc. it all takes time.
And somehow your bike or someone else’s bike knows the days when you have a rushed timeline, and that’s when the mechanicals and flats occur. And it’s also when you make mistakes fixing these because “you’re in a hurry”. Or you forgot something like your shoes or helmet. So avoid the hurry. Take a breath.
Swimming? There’s the drive there (I am fortunate with a 10-minute drive). Then, especially in the winter, standing on deck and wondering why you are going to jump in the water. Brr! And there you usually do have people around, so social time!
And that’s just the training.
This really isn't something you get done, unless it’s a bucket list item. To me, anything you do for fun is something you get to do...and should be enjoyed. Allocate the time so you can enjoy it. All of it....the good, the bad, and the hard. Time is a luxury for many I know. and there are real-world commitments. Work with those limits. Be honest about the time it takes, and the time you have. Don't feel rushed. Enjoy the people around you and the journey of training.