Saturday, December 8, 2012

What I learned during my year of Ironman Training

I got to say, blogging has not been my priority.  I want to blog and it sounds good in theory - to have my whole Ironman training experience on line for me, my family and others to read.  But let's face it - it has not been made a priority in my life (as you can tell by the lack of blog posts).  But here I go, trying again, to post at least once a week my journey to finish an Ironman as a full time working mom.

I wanted to document what I learned from my year in training for Ironman Arizona for the other moms out there trying to complete an endurance event. I work full-time as a project manager from home 40 hours a week.  Sometimes those hours can be less or a lot more, like 60, depending on the project.  My job is very flexible (I can work early mornings, late nights, etc).  My sons are 4 and 6 and their schools are very close, so not a long commute.  I drop them both off around 8 - 8:15 and pick them up around 3.  Most of my training was/is done when they are sleeping or at school - I really try to limit the amount of time spent working out when kids are around and during the weekend (I get up early on weekends to get workout in).

1.  Get your workout(s) done in the morning when everyone is sleeping.  Or it might not get done.
I got at least one workout done early in the morning.  Ex: I would get up at 4:30 to get an hour workout in before my 6 AM conf call.  So, I had some really, really early mornings.  I got up early at least one weekend day to get long run or bike in (usually run). But this was easier with #2:

2.  Go to bed early -I got my kids to bed at 8....had an hour or hour and a half of wind-down time with my husband.  In bed by 9:30 or so.  10 became late for me.

3. Take vacation days for long bike rides.  I took Fridays off (slow days at work) to get my long bike ride done so I could have my weekend with the family. 

4. You got to REALLY want it because it's hard.  If even a little part of you doesn't want to do the training, it won't get done.  It's hard to get up at 4:30 when it's 40 degrees outside and dark.  But for me, I really want I do it.  But it's hard.

5. Stand up desk for work - this helps you move around more and helps with #6. If you are already standing, you're much more likely to do strength training and other workouts during the day:

6. Strength training at home while working.   I could get in some push-ups, core exercises, weights, etc all while answering emails and thinking about work. I got to admit, strength training wasn't the priority, but I did build up to doing 30 pushups at a time!  Without even realizing it.  So every little bit helps.

7. Schedule my workouts that I need to get done during the day on my work calendar.  I scheduled all my strength training and other workouts on my work calendar.  A reminder would pop-up.  I didn't get them all in because work, of course, comes first.  But it did help me get in a lot more than not.

8. Do not schedule any workouts from 3-8 PM - plan some down time during this time. I learned the hard way...but I finally realized I was driving myself crazy trying to do it all after I picked up the kids from school until they went to bed.  I was so worried about all the things I should be doing - working, spending time with kids, homework, working out, dinner, picking up house, etc, that I was driving myself crazy.  I started planning downtime during this time and it got better. I learned to pay attention to my kids and not worry about everything else that needed to get done.

9. Kids are watching and learning. No mater how selfish you think it is, the kids are watching you and learning about exercise and seeing their mom work hard.

10. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize. Example - what's more important - spend 30 mins blogging or 30 mins strength training or on the trainer. While training, I would choose working out (hence no blog posts). Every minute counts.  What is the most important thing you could do during 30 minutes of down time?  Spend your time wisely.

11. Naps When my training became 10 -12 hours a week, I learned a 20 min nap during the day can really help.  I wasn't such a zombie at 7 PM if I just took a 20 min little snooze.

12. Spouse has to be on board.  Luckily, I have a very supportive spouse.  He supports my training.  If I didn't have his support, it would not be doable.

And that my folks is my advice when trying to get all your workouts in.  Of course, I never actually did the Ironman because of my broken toe.  But I will not give up!  I will do the Full Vineman in July!!

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