The Great Balancing Act

Processed with Snapseed.

Written by Lisa Roberts, Professional Triathlete

Photo Jun 28, 12 09 47 PM

Our lives are full of tasks, day in, day out.  And that triathlon you signed up for isn’t going to train for itself.  While you think you may be at a disadvantage because of your jam-packed lifestyle, it’s actually good to have other commitments and interests outside of triathlon – and you CAN prepare well for a race while succeeding in life. You just have to strike the right balance.

Yes, it’s GOOD to have commitments besides triathlon. On one hand, it gives you a break from work and on the other it stops you from over-training.

What would I do with spare time on my hands? Probably ride my bike for an extra hour (because it’s gorgeous outside!), or do another run (because I’m feeling great!), or hang out by the pool (to even out my tan lines because I just rode for an extra hour!).

So, just how do we accomplish ALL those things we’re committed to AND do them well?

Photo Aug 05, 10 48 16 AM

Stick to a schedule
Create a realistic schedule: use it, update it, live by it. The key to it all. Otherwise, how will you know where you’re going and how to get there?  I just finished writing down everything I currently know is coming up in 2016. I put it all in there – work schedule, races, games, family, school, meetings, conferences, travel, birthdays, volunteer time, home projects, deadlines, and so on. Don’t forget to schedule chill time and social time, you know, “real person” time.

As you fill up this big calendar take a good look at it.  Eliminate what isn’t necessary.  Organize and combine what you can. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea how much time is REALISTICALLY available for training. The operative word here is REALISTIC.

Create a training plan that fits within your schedule to reach your particular goal. Don’t compare this plan to others. Your life, your goals, and schedule are different. Do this well and you won’t fool yourself into thinking you have more availability and then beat yourself up for not getting things done.

I am the queen of honestly thinking I can accomplish a four-hour bike ride in a two-hour time frame. Needless to say, I have ended more than one day in a foul mood because I over-scheduled myself and couldn’t fit it all in.

Be consistent and maintain quality
No training plan will be effective unless you are consistent, so plan for it. Organize longer training sessions on days you have more time available. Get up early to get a workout in (if that’s what it takes) then you’re there for family when they get up. Plan ahead, organize your gear the night before, and make sure you’ve allowed enough time for prep, setup, and driving to your session.

Lisa Roberts

Do everything with purpose
Smart training is always better than more training. You have scheduled designated times to train; you don’t have the luxury to drag your feet. Get up, show up, get it done, and get on with it!

Prioritize, don’t multitask
Be in the moment and be PRESENT.  Multi-tasking ends up taking you more time to finish a task and doing so will makes you constantly feel unfocused and stressed. If you’re always stressed you won’t have the time or brain power to be able to step back and look at the bigger picture when you need to.

You can’t do it all
Understand, know, and admit that you can’t do it all. Ask for help when you need it.  We all need help at times.  Then return the favor when you can.

IMG_6008 copie

Stress is stress
Remember that work, family, school stress and training stress are treated exactly the same by your mind and body. Therefore, avoid having important deadlines, commitments, and a huge training load at the same time if you can. Quality will suffer and you’ll be more likely to get injured or sick trying to cram it all in.

Take a break
These should be part of your schedule if you can’t seem to do it on your own. Am I good at doing this regularly? Nope. But I’m better than I was a few years ago.


Social time is important…don’t skip it
Chances are many of your friends, family, loved ones are sacrificing for you while you pursue your racing dream, so show up if you said you’d be somewhere.

I have to actively practice and remind myself of these tips every day.  I apply them not only to the bigger picture of the year or racing season, but also to the upcoming week, this day or even to this hour! But I know when I do these I am calmer, more focused, more prepared and ready to go hard on race day!

About the Author: Lisa has been an athlete all her life. Now a common sight on the triathlon, cycling and running podium at competitions, she is culminating years of hard work and dedication and turning it into results. This leaves only the sky as her limit with the goal of winning a World Championship title and qualifying for the Olympic marathon. Learn more about Lisa Roberts at and follow her on Facebook:, Twitter:, and Instagram: