When you and your spouse are both juggling full time jobs (40+ hour work weeks), Ironman athletes (who train 15-24 hours each week, depending on the time of year), enjoy spending time with family and friends, and still have a home life to balance and maintain, life can get hard…if you let it. Triathlete Magazine recently posted a great article on couples that train and race “together,” how it impacts their lives, and how they make it work. The irony is that the week before this article was published, the Iron Hippie and I were generating our own list of things we do each week to make our lives run more smoothly. Every couple has to find their own way and what works best for them, but these are some of the ways we make it work:
- Communication is key…We review our schedule daily for the next day, even though every Monday looks nearly the same as every other Monday, we take time to communicate what it will look like this week. What time will we be home? Are we working out together or separate? Who will be home at feeding time to feed the dogs? What leftovers are we having for dinner?
- Food preparation happens on the weekends…After our long workouts on Saturday and Sunday, we take the time to prepare food for the coming week, making sure to have plenty of leftovers so we don’t have to worry about preparing a meal after a long day of work and a tiring workout. We often freeze a lot of our meals and pull them out as we need them. Salads are one of our summertime favorites and super easy to make after an evening workout.
- Laundry, laundry and more laundry…With each of us producing mountains of laundry each week, it is critical that we stay on top of this. The best time saving hack we’ve found for laundry…drum roll…wash and dry laundry while we are on the trainer riding. During recovery sections of a workout, we can put the clothes in the drier and start a new load…now if we could just find a magic fairy to fold all of it and put it away…
- Post workout smoothie…The Vitamix is one of the BEST inventions and time savers that we have experienced!! In the morning we throw all the fruits and veggies into the Vitamix with some Pure Clean Beet Powder and Osmo Recovery Powder. This is the perfect way to refuel post workout and it is quick and easy to prepare and clean!
- Prepare for the coming day the night before…The Iron Hippie and I both set out our work clothes and workout clothes for the next day the night before. We also pack our lunches and all the bags that we will need the next day. Some days I get referred to as the “bag lady” as I’m walking into or out of school by students and colleagues. It is part of what comes with this lifestyle 😉
- Piggy backing workouts…When time permits, it is great to complete workouts one after the other. This often occurs for us more on the weekends than during the weekdays, but it allows us to take fewer showers, saves us time, and often produces less laundry…BONUS!!
- Shop once a week for groceries and goods…Typically after our long brick on Saturdays, we run errands around town purchasing groceries and any additional supplies we will need for the coming week(s). If we go to the grocery store during the week, it is usually immediately after a workout when our stomachs are ravenous. This is NEVER good for our pocket book or diet!
- Riding the trainer…Living in central Iowa, we spend all winter on the trainer, but even in the summer, we choose to ride on the trainer at least twice a week. It is safer since we are not on the roads with vehicles during prime times of work commuters. We don’t have to wait at stop lights, which saves time. We are in a controlled environment so we can compare our results from one workout to another. I personally love a good trainer workout! It allows me to get physically and mentally stronger on the bike by teaching me about focus, strength, and fortitude.
- Take workout gear to work with us…Sometimes we go straight from work to the gym for a workout, or ride our bikes from the school when the weather is nice. By packing up all of the gear we will need before work, we can experience a smooth transition to our workout without having to make the extra trip home for workout gear.
- Extra food is stashed everywhere…We keep extra food all over the place! We typically have Barnana bites, goldfish crackers, or Honey Stinger Chews in our swim bag, gym bag, desk drawer, car, yoga bag, on the table next to our trainers…you name it, we have probably stashed food there. Since we both workout between 15 and 24 hours a week (depending on how close race day is), we both burn through A LOT of calories! When I get hungry, there is a VERY short window before it turns hangry. Keeping food everywhere helps me prevent the hangry feeling as best as possible.
- We both share responsibilities…I am SUPER lucky to have a husband who can do it all (and is willing to)!! We both cook our meals, wash dishes, clean the house, do laundry, mow the lawn, shovel snow, tend to the dogs, take out the trash…there isn’t one task I can think of that we both don’t do. I’m truly blessed!!
How do you balance life and training/racing? What tricks or time saving hacks do you have to help keep you sane and on track?