Hey Rob -
Big congrats on the win. Also enjoyed your interviews with the IMTalk guys - was really excited to hear you won the whole thing after enjoying your first recent interview.
I think this was asked in another thread, and I'm sure you get asked this a lot. But since you opened it to *any* questions...
What are some of your best tips on time management? What time of the day do you normally train? What did you have to sacrifice in order to train as much as you do? And how did you get there over time? Would love to hear some of your tips.
thanks - yes the IMTalk interviews were fun!
In terms of time management, here are a few tips. I think I need to do a blog post with all my thoughts on the matter. I've definitely changed my perspective over the past few years, and it's required a very different approach since my kids were born.
1. Always do the most important workout first thing in the day. Actually, this tip carries over to other things too. At work, do the most important things first. But for workouts, I either do a bike ride or a swim early in the morning (5am-9am or on shorter days 6am-8am). Runs are always shorter, so I just fit them in at other times of the day when I have a gap.
2. Since having kids, I can't reasonably justify spending all weekend training. So now, I just take half days off work in my key build weeks. For Ultraman Florida, there was some good time over Christmas when nobody was working much so I took advantage of that and did extra training (indoors for me since it was snowy outside). Then I took 2 half days the week before the race. On Wednesday I rode over 6 hours and I swam, and on Friday I rode 2 hours and swam 3 hours.
3. A "just in time" approach works really well (for me anyway). I actually have had better results just doing "real training" 8 weeks before a race, than the pre-kids days when I was trying to do 25+ hours per week all the time. So now, all I need to do is maintain enough fitness to be able to turn on and do a 25 hour week whenever I need to. As long as I'm fit enough to do that final training block, that's all that really seems to matter.
4. People watch way too much TV - it takes up so much time. Most of my TV watching is done on the trainer.
5. Commuting can be a great way to train. I actually recently sold my car so that I don't even have the option to drive it. Whenever I go to work I ride a bike or run there. When I used to live in San Jose, I would ride a mountain bike to work which took me 2 hours each way. So a typical day would be leave home 6am, ride to work, swim, run at lunch time, ride back after work. That's like 6 hours of training on a normal work day!
6. Trainers are productive. If you are time crunched, riding on a trainer is a very good use of time because there are no stop lights, downhills etc.
7. Related to #6, I actually now use the wahoo fitness desk, and do most of my email reading on the trainer. So I can get up in the morning, spend 90 minutes on the trainer clearing out my inbox at the same time. That also means when I'm working, I'm actually doing useful things and not spending time doing emails.
8. After having kids, I found it was critical to be flexible. Things happen in unpredictable ways, and if you are fixated on getting your scheduled workout in, that just leads to stress which is not useful at all.
9. As far as possible, set up your life to enable better training. This is easier than people realize, and very possible with a bit of effort. We all have choices, and it's not always as hard as one thinks. For example, I now live in Boulder, on the IM bike course, with a very short commute and surrounded by great athletes that push me to be better. I could have stayed where I was before but I developed a plan to make that a reality. There are plenty of other examples... ST regular Dev Paul would often visit silicon valley for work, and we would meet up at 4:30 and ride Mount Hamilton before work. While all those other corporate guys were still in bed, we had done 3.5 hours of hard riding in a beautiful location. Those are all choices, that when added up, make a big difference.
10. I'm sure there is more, I will for sure do a post on that sometime.
The second part of your question: what did I have to sacrifice? The main things:
- I gave up an epic social life. I don't go out drinking with buddies or even just hanging with friends watching the game or whatever. If someone wants to hang out with me, they can get a bike and come ride with me. My social life is limited to a few "normal" friends and then people at swim group. And my mechanic.
- As mentioned above I don't laze around watching TV. All that stuff is done on the trainer. But I will occasionally have a day when I just slob around watching movies on the couch all day (usually the day after an epic workout)
- From a corporate point of view, I probably have given up the opportunity to be a super senior executive. While "work/life balance" is all the rage, the people at the very top are kind of obsessed with their jobs and are very one-sided in their approach to life. For me it's been a conscious decision, that chasing that type of success will not fulfill me as a person. So I have to be content that I will not become CEO. But he will never win an ultraman ;-)
- From a family point of view, I don't think I have sacrificed anything. I don't put training above spending time with my wife and kids, because it's not more important. So I fit things around them, and they in turn are more accommodating when I really DO need to put in some epic days.
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