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Balancing life, work and training

— by iracelikeagirl  (Angela Naeth’s team) sponsored pro triathlete, Lenny Ramsey

When people think of pro triathletes, many assume our days consist of training, eating and sleeping. While that might be the case for a few at the top, many of us do not make the money needed to be able to live that kind of life. Most of us work on the side, and that can range from triathlon related jobs such as coaching to 9-5 jobs like anyone else.

Lenny Ramsey and Angela Naeth. Photo: iracelikeagirl

I got into triathlon while I was working on my Ph.D. and took my pro card three years later, right after I finished. At that point, I had accepted a position as an assistant professor at a liberal arts college – a job generally not considered a 9-5 job. If you want to get tenure you work more – teach, grade, set up a research lab, publish, go to meetings (and more meetings) and fulfill your other duties. However, there are two major perks – 1) I do not need to be in the office if I don’t have meetings and 2), I don’t teach over the summer.

The only way I can maintain my workweek and training is planning. When training around 20 hours a week and working at least 40 during the semester, I keep a very tight schedule, which I plan and write out every Sunday. I look at my teaching schedules, my meetings, all of the work I need to do and all of the training hours and place it all in a weekly planner. That way I make sure I don’t miss anything. And then the key: I stick to all of it. No snoozing, no procrastinating.

The other things that require planning, and are essential to stay on top of are sleep and nutrition.  If I don’t sleep, I notice it. I need at least 8 hours, which means I need to head to bed around 8:30 pm. To be able to maintain that I keep a steady schedule, seven days a week.

In terms of nutrition getting in protein (I don’t eat meat), greens and fruits are always my focus areas. This again comes down to planning, I prep for the week on Sundays. That means getting groceries and pre-cutting and pre-package anything I can for the workdays.

Planning everything out ahead of time takes away a lot of the stress . One tip is to build in some flex time into your schedule to have unforeseen meetings or do unexpected tasks. Unfortunately, there is only so much time in a day and week, so we can’t do it all and something has to give. I chose to give up flexibility and evening outings to be able to do what I want to do.

I love doing all of it. It just takes some planning and commitment to a schedule. But to me, that’s totally worth it.