Jun 13

Time Management – The 4th Discipline

As important as swimming, biking, and running are to a triathlete, time management is the unsung hero of the whole process.  Without it, training would never get done.  Normally, it is very easy for me to manage my time due to the fact that my job hours are so flexible.  Quite frankly, those of you out there with a regular 9-5 job, I don’t don’t know how you do it.  My hat goes off to you.

However, I knew that this past weekend was going to a logistical challenge as I not only had a full 9 hours of training scheduled between Friday and Sunday, but Jennie and I were also visiting her family on the other side of the state for her brother’s and cousin’s 8th grade graduation parties.  So, I had the idea on Friday morning to track my schedule over the next few days to see where all my time went.

As I tracked my schedule I thought that it would be an interesting way to recap my weekend in a different format than normal.

7:00AM – 10:45AM I started off the morning working.  Normally, I would start the day at 5:00 with an early morning swim.  However, I was up late on Thursday working and needed my rest.  I actually woke up at 5:00 and got as far as packing my swim bag before I realized that a workout in my current state would have been worthless. I was half asleep and would not have been able to do a quality workout.  Back to bed I went.
10:45AM – 11:15AM I had to swing by my LBS to get a new set of cleats for my road bike.  Lately, the bike has been making all sorts of squeaking noises on each pedal stroke.  I narrowed it down to the pedals, shoes or cleats.  The cleats weren’t quite to the wear indicator mark, but I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to try.  Thankfully the new cleats solved the problem.  So, if you have Look Delta cleats and they are really noisy, try replacing them.  I think I am going to look into buying a set of cleat covers to make these ones last longer.
11:30AM – 12:30PM I went straight from the LBS to a lunch time swim. 
12:30PM – 4:00PM Back to work.  I had my lunch at my desk while I answered emails and did some research projects on my plate.

The plan was to wrap up with work at 3:00, but as my luck would have it, it started raining at 3:00.  I checked the forecast and it looked like a short-lived rain storm so I decided to work a bit longer.  I ended up working until 4:00 by which time the rain had stopped and the roads even started to dry out.

4:15PM – 6:30PM Pre-ride, I had a Twitter conversation going with Jeff, Colleen, Jeff, and Mandy (exciting news coming soon) that left me totally pumped for my bike ride.  I had a sprint workout on tap – 9×1:30 sprints for a total of 1h50m ride.
6:30PM – 7:00PM When I got home, I was greeted by my loving wife already prepping dinner. Woohoo! I had planned on getting dinner started after my ride, but because I had gotten a late start on my ride, Jennie beat me home.  All ride long I was thinking that I really wanted either pizza or tacos.  And when I get home, what is on the stove? Tacos! Double Woohoo!
7:00PM – 8:00PM After dinner, we had to pack up for our trip.  Bailey was going crazy while we packed.  I think he was afraid he was going to get left behind.
8:00PM – 10:30PM Finally headed off on the drive across the state.

We made pretty good time.  When we got there, I headed straight to bed because I knew it would be an early morning.

6:30AM – 7:00AM I woke up at 6:30AM ready to go for my bike ride.  I was super happy to see that it was dry out.  The forecast for all of Saturday morning was 60% chance of rain, so I had resigned myself to a rainy ride. 

I had a couple bowls of fruit loops and loaded up my bike with my nutrition and hydration and took off.

7:00AM – 11:30AM On Friday, I chatted with Alex on Twitter about places to ride as he lives on the east side of the state.  I had a route planned that I found on MapMyRide, but he let me know that parts of it weren’t paved and suggested an alternate route.  I ended up following his advice and it turned out to be a great ride.

I headed out from the in-laws and headed over to Stony Creek Metropark.  It was about a 12 mile ride to get there.  Once there, I did 3 laps around the lake each at about 11 miles.  I was surprised at how not flat the loops were.  I had run at the park before but never noticed all the false flats and little climbs here and there.  There was quite a few bikers doing loops around the lake aw well.  It was a totally different experience than riding on our side of the state though.  Out of all the bikers I saw, I got maybe 3 acknowledgements (a wave, head nod, and “Good Morning”).  I don’t know why the difference, but I’m used to a friendly head nod or wave by nearly every rider/runner I pass.

Any ways, after getting tired of the loops, I jumped on the Macomb-Orchard Trail for a quick flat out and back to add on some miles.  After that, it was time to head back and finish up my ride.  I ended up with 78 miles in 4h10m – far better than I expected to do especially on my roadie.

With 6 miles left, I felt a twinge in my left knee that hurt with every down stroke.  I decided to just soft pedal the rest of the way and to baby it.  With 2 miles to go, I stopped by Mickey D’s for a McDouble and small fry.  I didn’t bring enough nutrition on my ride and needed the calories quickly. 

As for the weather, I could not have bought more perfect weather.  Despite the 60% chance of rain, I never had a drop.  It was cool and overcast the whole time.  A little humid, but because it was so cool, it wasn’t really noticeable.

11:30AM – 12:30PM After getting back, I loaded my bike back up and got cleaned up and ready for my brother-in-law’s graduation party.  I was going to try and get a little bit of work done but by the time I got settled, I had run out of time.
12:30PM – 5:00PM Party time!

I managed to sneak off with Bailey for 30 minutes or so to take a quick nap.

5:30PM – 8:30PM After the party wrapped up, it was time to hit the road back home.

On the way, we swung by Little Caesar’s for a Hot N’ Ready pizza.  We gorged it down in no time.  It tasted so good, but was a total nutrition fail.  Traveling totally screws with my healthy eating.  Oh well, one weekend isn’t going to kill me.

9:00PM – 9:45PM As soon as we got home, I headed out on my recovery run.  The run wasn’t particular eventual which is why it was so fantastic.  The twinge I had felt in my knee earlier had completely disappeared.  No pain at all.
9:45PM – 11:00PM I got in a bit more work before bed.  I know it may seem weird to be working at 10:00 at night but A) I love my job and B) I get some my best work done off hours when my email isn’t dinging or otherwise getting interruptions.
11:30PM Bed time.  Fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
8:30AM Wake up.  8:30AM? Wow.  Can’t believe I actually slept in for a change.  And since when did 8:30 become sleeping in?  My college self wants to kick my current self’s ass.
8:45AM – 9:30AM Jennie and I made a big Sunday breakfast; eggs, hash browns, toast, fruit.  So delicious.  It was a lot of food though.  And I had to run long.  The food did sit pretty heavy on my run, but it was worth it.
10:00AM – Noon Jennie and I headed out on the run at 10:00AM with Jennie on the bike.  Overall it was a great run.  A bit slower than I would have liked, but I was happy with how it went.  Again, no knee pain.  The weather was absolutely perfect for the run.  Mid 50’s and overcast.
Noon – 1:00PM Recovered from the run, answered some emails, and caught up on some blogs/Facebook/Twitter.
1:00PM – 2:00PM Headed up to the pool for a swim.  The main set was 10x100yd at +/- 1 second of each other, but for some reason I could not stay on pace.  I was all over the place: 1:30, 1:36, 1:33, etc.
2:00PM – 2:30PM Finally had time to sit down and have a quick lunch.
3:00PM – 5:00PM I spent the next couple hours catching up yard work and chores.  The lawn was getting out of control and needed to be tamed.  After that, I washed both cars and gave my bikes a quick rinse and wipe down.
5:00PM – 6:30PM More work. I had been thinking about how to handle a particular report that we needed all weekend and finally had a decent idea on how to write it.  So, I sat down and got a rough draft done so that I didn’t forget the idea.
7:00PM – 8:00PM Dinner time!
8:00PM – Bed I spent some time working on some blog work while watching TV and otherwise sitting around relaxing.  It only took until 8:00PM on Sunday, but I finally got sit and do essentially nothing for the first time the entire weekend.

So, there you have it.  The craziness that comes with being a triathlete in training.  Thank goodness today started a recovery week.  Maybe now I can get caught up on blogging and blog reading.

Thanks for reading!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/06/13/time-management-the-4th-discipline


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  1. Jon

    Its only gonna get worse 🙂 D-ROG’s picture of his lawn reminded me of how much worse its gonna get on the weekend’s. Suddenly the weekend turns into a 5 day slug fest, with Wed & Thurs still the speed days. Where is there time to recover? Oh wait, there isn’t. You are lucky you work from home. Getting ready for and doing a commute is like the most ridiculous amount of time wasted you will never get back.

    So you have two Jeff’s on Twitter that you were discussing something? 😉

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I know how you feel about wasted time, at least from second hand experience. Jennie spends 10 hours per week in the car going and coming from work (an hour each way). Add in the time to get ready each morning and she loses a good 12 hours a week – that is a solid week of training right there.

      haha – You are the second Jeff 😛 Nice catch.

      “how much worse its gonna get” – It’s a recovery week dude. Seriously, I don’t need to hear that now. haha

  2. Matt Smith

    Wowsers! That is some serious time management there, and a very interesting blog post. I’m SO glad that knee isn’t something terrible. That freaked me out for a minute. I love those Hot n Ready Pizzas…haven’t had one in awhile and I “need” to do that soon. 🙂 Thanks for the tips on the Steelhead run course. I’ll run it sometime soon!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Everyone “needs” a Hot N Ready every now and then. You’ll need one after running the Steelhead course 🙂

      I’m glad the knee is fine too. I think it has to do with the new cleats on my bike shoes. I think I just need to adjust them a bit so my foot is better positioned over the pedal.

  3. Joel

    Interesting post. You certainly had a busy, busy weekend. Good job getting in the workouts, family time, etc. What I’m most impressed about, however, is that you were able to get in a NAP! I’m so jealous!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      It wasn’t a very restful nap if that makes you feel any better. I was on dog detail and he needed a break from the excitement. So, I took him into the den, sat on the couch, put my head back and I was out. I’d watch up every time Bailey would pull on his leash though. If I didn’t get the nap in, I never would have been able to make the 2.5 hour drive without ending up in a ditch.

  4. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    Great recap. Interesting how we fit it all in. Funny thing is I was planning on doing this via picture from my day on Thursday to see how that turns out and post on Friday.

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Great idea! Picture would be a cool way to experience what it is like to live and train in a foreign country. haha 🙂

  5. LB @ My Reason to Run

    yeah, i dont know how 9-5ers do it. im a home health nurse and make my own hours and its still difficult to fit in tri training. i guess i would have to bite the bullet and get up at 3:30am everyday…bleh!!!!

  6. Mandy

    Great post! And so true, it only gets a little worse! The weekends get so eaten up by IM training, it is crazy. I am also jealous of your nap!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      The only reason I got a nap is because I am on Bailey detail at the in-laws. He needed a break from the excitement so I took him into the den and just put my head down for a minute and boom, I was out.

  7. Matt Oravec

    Screw the time management dilemma, I am shocked you remembered HALF of what you did!!!

    Yeah, it sucks, life is such a flipping drag lately haha, just want to earn my checkmarks and work and “friends” get in the way LOL.

    I totally feel you though, great job getting the balance accomplished.

    No guilt in the mc D’s or hot n ready either man. Sometimes you need the fast junk calories for the body. Just make sure you follow it up with some good stuff for the rebuilding process.

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Haha. I actually took notes on a note card over the weekend otherwise there would have been no chance of remembering it all. I used to track my schedule on a daily basis to keep myself accountable for work. I stopped because I got depressed when I saw how much of my week was spent on work.

      Totally clean eating all week after this past weekend. The ironic thing is that I weighed at my lowest ever yesterday morning. WTF?

  8. onelittletrigirl

    Time-management is the one reason I cannot fathom doing a full IM. I have struggling enough with a full marathon training plan! I entirely agree that time-management is more than important- it is essential!

  9. Colleen

    I have always said that I don’t know how people with “real” jobs do it. Having the flexibility is so much easier I assume!

    You had one heck of a busy weekend! I love that you mapped this all out. Gives someone an idea of what the workings of an Ironman look like!

    Congrats for getting it all done. I honestly don’t know how you ran on Sunday with that breakfast in your belly! 🙂

  10. Derek

    your most def stayin on it!
    its the most unreal thing trying to piece together work and family and training together right? Its like playing Ironman Tetris!!! hahaha

    high five
    keep it up


  11. Regina

    Honestly, as a working mom, I have no idea how anyone like me manages to train for an IM. I am lucky to have flexible hours as a freelancer, and yet there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get stuff done (even when gettingbup at 5am).

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