Saturday, January 20, 2007

Making Time to Train

Sure, most of us lack the sponsorships, billion-dollar Internet enterprises and wealthy aunt Mildreds that would enable us to devote our days to training or improving technique. But that isn't an excuse for not making time to train.

Each summer, I like to take two weeks vacation to pretend to be independently wealthy (you know, I do whatever independently wealthy people do while the rest of the world is at work: going to lunch with people I don't typically see, swimming in the middle of the morning, making plans for my superhero secret lair), just to get a taste. But when my real world kicks in, carving out time for training can be difficult — especially if you don't have people who support you.

Regardless of whether you have work, school, kids or some other priorities, there should always be a balancing act you can manage to keep yourself healthy. Even if it can get dizzying at times.

Class began this week (as I previously mentioned), and my regularly scheduled training during lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays has been supplanted by one of the last courses for my master's degree. I can't just cut out two days of training, so I have to balance.

Last week I tried to run in the morning. That's going to get some getting used to: it's cold, it's dark; I'm stiff and just a little bit lazy. Training after work is an option. But if you've ever met me, you'll know that once I'm on the road home, I'm going home!

My key, however, is to prioritize my training. For instance, on Wednesdays I could a) sleep until 7 a.m., casually get ready and go to work by 8 a.m. or b) get up at 6 a.m., get to the rec. center by 6:30, have an hour to train, and 30 minutes to get ready and go to work by 8 a.m. Tough choice?

Granted, that extra hour of sleep can be a major sacrifice. I'll just have to trim some late-night wall-staring to compensate.

But on the running front, I ran a total of nine miles this week, including 3 miles on Friday afternoon. Rather than just running for my entire session, I ran a fast two miles and then rode a stationary bike for several miles until my legs were tired. Then I took off and ran one more mile on tired, wobbly, Bambi legs. It was awesome!

It was difficult at first, but I still managed to clock 7:22 for my mile. I would like to move toward combining the three areas so I understand how my body operates in the tri-environment.

Finally, I swam my longest single-distance for the swimming season on Thursday:

2,000 yards free
400 yard IM

It was strangely crowded at the pool (the beginning-of-the-semester resolutionists: "this semester will be different") on Thursday afternoon, so my time was a little cut short. My intimidating staring failed again. I guess I'll have to learn new techniques. Or just take up lap swimming in the hot tub or the vortex.

Speaking of the vortex, I'll be looking more into open-water swimming soon. I have minimal experience in open water (by choice). But if you would like to hear the story about swimming five miles in the Caribbean on a wind/wave-warning day as I was carrying someone and getting stung by a jellyfish, ask me about it some time.