Summer Schedule: Swim, Bike, Run, Rest, Repeat

swim bike runAs a triathlete training for some new goals this summer, I’m doing my best to balance my training for all three legs.  And it’s a big challenge.  My ideal schedule for that is: early morning swim training with a group on Tuesdays and Friday for 90 minutes; short run on Thursday and long run on Saturday; biking to work and longer rides on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and/or on the weekend.

That’s ideal. I have difficulty hitting it.  One of my challenges is that I am also committed to my Precision Nutrition workouts, and they’re getting tougher.

Triathlon training and intense weight training pull against each other.  Triathletes often take it easy on the weights during the main season, perhaps doing some light maintenance but sometimes not even hitting the weight room at all.

And I’ve heard all sorts of views about how endurance sport compromises weight training results.

What I’m finding most difficult right now is balancing all of this sufficiently with adequate rest.  Rest is really important.

RestTime-Logo1As this article states, it gives the body time to recover and build. And in our PN program lately, we’re working on sleep rituals (I’m terrible at establishing a recommended sleep ritual, and the poor quality of my sleep reflects that) and post-workout recovery strategies.

I’m supposed to be taking a full day of rest a week. I have blogged about my struggles with this before. Things are no better at this point. I’m much more likely to get rest only when I reach the point where I have no choice. Like this:

i_need_rest_by_gada_chan-d34h65n That’s kind of where I’m at today. My swim workout was tough. That usually energizes me for the day. But instead, I know that it would be a bad plan for me to push on with the scheduled noon bike ride.  I need rest!  And I need a better strategy for getting it before I hit the wall.

Suggestions welcome!  How do you balance everything else with adequate rest?

13 thoughts on “Summer Schedule: Swim, Bike, Run, Rest, Repeat

  1. If you can figure out a balance between weight training and triathlon/running, I’m all ears. I constantly struggle with this, and what usually ends up happening is that all of the really beneficial multi-joint exercises for my lower body (squats, deadlifts) fall by the wayside the further I get in training for a marathon or a longer distance triathlon I really believe that strength training is going to help me get faster and stronger at everything else IF ONLY I COULD FIGURE THIS OUT OMGGG.

    1. Next summer I am going to experiment with focusing on one and going light on the other (probably go light on the strength training and throw myself whole-heartedly into the tri-training). Balance is just challenging when there are only so many hours in a day.

  2. What you’re going through is really hard. You’re clearly addicted to exercise, and so have a hard time resting. I think we’ve blogged about this before. Unfortunately, the only way I know of to work around this kind of addiction – I don’t have a clue how to overcome it – is to make serious social plans on your rest days. Plays, movies, dinners, my gosh – cooking classes – whatever it takes to divert you! As for getting better sleep, you could try doing some of your serious exercising at night – so you’re so tired an hour or two afterward, you’re just done and sleep like a log!

  3. Maybe. I don’t think of it that way (as an addiction) because I feel like I can’t work to my goals if I don’t do what I do. And I do have lots of other things scheduled, but I don’t like it when they get in the way of my training. I’m willing to entertain the possibility that it might be something of an addiction but it doesn’t feel like other addictions. Good sleep eludes me these days. But I’m so tired at the end of the day I have a hard time imagining a good workout or even run at that time. Maybe I need to experiment.

    1. I’m not at all sure that an exercise addiction is like substance addictions in all regards, either, Tracy. All I meant by the comment was that if you know that rest would be best, but you can’t rest as you’re compelled to exercise, then the truth is that you’re exercising even when it’s counter-productive to do so. Regarding when to exercise, we’re definitely all different. I just can’t work out in the early morning hours, for instance. I’d get hurt if I did, and I’m just not into that. So maybe working out at night is just not right for you. All I know is that when I work out at night and am only awake for maybe 1 to 2 1/2 hours more, and I work out hard, I’m out like a light, and motionless as a log! -until my 9 year old daugter climbs into my bed, awakens me while I’m in a dream state, and informs me that it’s time to get up because she’s hungry, of course:
      “Does oatmeal with apple and raisins sound good this morning?”
      “Yes. Let’s go now! I’m hungry.”

  4. I just love being outdoors when it’s warm enough so that usually tips the scale for me. More riding and running and playing outside. Less time in the gym. It’s not a conscious training thing, more about temperament. I can also take my bike and running shoes on family holidays and while I’ve played at lifting boulders on the beach, I’ve never done it seriously. What I’d love for summer is a TRX for suspension training in the backyard and on my campsite when camping but I looked at the prices and backed off that idea.

    Generally, on scheduling, I work out twice a day most days and then take 1 or 2 days off a week. The total days off (other than bike commuting) feel very restful and restorative. When I was training more seriously for cycling, we also did hard and easy weeks with a recovery week built in each month. So easy, tough, tougher and then rest/recovery week. The harder you train, the more important good rest and recovery is.

    Think of it as part of the training plan. No rest leads to slower improvement and injury.

  5. Hi Tracy– two things to add to Sam’s comments:

    1) typically during race season, cyclists rest on Mondays (maybe do no exercise, or maybe just easy bike commuting), and Fridays are rest or light (if you have a race on Saturday, you do some leg openers– typically a few sprints– but in an otherwise not-hard ride). Saturdays and Sundays are race days or ride-long-and-maybe-hard days. So I’d pick one (or better two) days a week to go really easy or knock off completely. Your body will thank you.

    2) Since you are running, which is a weight-bearing exercises, I’m not sure why you need to do any weight training at all during tri race season. Of course, I’m not a triathlete, so defer to them. But this period is not so much about building strength but instead about fine tuning endurance and performance. You’ve been working on building all winter and spring, so now is, oddly enough, time to go a little easier on the body. You will need your reserves for all that energy output. Eating works differently during this season, too. Bike racers eat more and in particular more carbs at various times, and protein too. I think I mentioned Nancy Clark to you– check out her cyclist’s food guide and sports nutrition guidebooks. She is smart and keeps up with research and is an athlete as well. Here is her website: http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/

    Keep us posted– we are all out here pulling for you!

    1. Thanks, Catherine. The complicating factor this year is that I am also doing the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Program and a large part of its results come from doing the workouts (3 times a week of specific weight training sequences). It’s probably not the best year for me to do that given my triathlon aspirations. But I’m trying to balance them out with each other.

      1. But are you doing the Precision nutrition intervals? You could probably do those on the bike.

      2. Yeah. Intervals and active rest i do in the pool or running at the moment. Wouldn’t mind doing them on the bike too.

  6. Tracy .. that is why you have me to help you! As a triathlon coach, i can help you figure this out. That is my job as a coach 🙂 I am back in London on Saturday and I believe you said you were going to join Balance Point Triathlon. We will get a schedule set for you that fits your goals. The most important question will be what is your ultimate goal this summer? Why do you want to do the triathlon? To have fun completing it ? You are racing Olympic Distance later in the summer so we have lots of time to work towards that goal. It sounds like you already have goals set with PN and that is this summer’s main goal. You can still do PN and have a goal of doing a triathlon. Everybody is different and i don’t believe that we all must follow the exact same plan. We can discuss this more in person.
    I am off to go scuba diving today. Portugal is beautiful!

    1. Thanks Gabbi. That’s right. I’m signing up with BPT when you get back. Pam and Mary had great things to say about it yesterday, especially the Saturday mornings at Lakeside.

      Glad to hear Portugal is beautiful. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  7. I find having a coach helps. I am the queen of “I’ll just add this swim in here and maybe go for an extra run there and do this CrossFit class because it’s fun.” Accountability and having a schedule (which I suppose don’t require formal coaching but come with the territory) help me stay on track with things. I remember that though “endurance sport compromises weight training results,” it doesn’t compromise the results I want. I wouldn’t sign up for triathlon at the same time I decided to take up bodybuilding, and I try not to compare myself to what other people or the winter version of myself can lift while I’m in the midst of enjoying my time in the pool, on my bike, or running! This helps me stay away from doing too much. If I feel super tired, I just take a rest day (even if it’s unplanned) and trust that it’s better to miss one day on purpose than to miss a bunch because I end up sick or injured, which happens when I push too hard. Knowing what my short term goals (my race schedule, how many miles I want to bike this year) are and then having an idea of my long term goals are (what kind of athletic pursuits are on my bucket list, the kind of health and relationship with my body I want to have) helps keep it alllll in perspective. Sorry for the novel — hope some of this helps!

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