Monday, October 24, 2011

An Ideal Schedule

Ideal triathlete schedule? Does it even exist? To be frank, I am not talking about working a 9-5 schedule and taking 2 hour lunch breaks to work out. I'm referring to those of you who work 50 plus hours during a normal work week, typically work through lunch, and to those who train 15+ hours a week. How do you do it?

Before starting my new physical therapy job back in May, I was asked what hours I wanted to work... I was given 2 options.... 5x8 hr days or 4x10 hr days... Please note those hours don't include paper work  only seeing patients :) Anyway I opted for the 2nd option thinking I could squeeze in long workouts and errands on that day.

I couldn't have been more wrong! The 10 hour days easily turned into 12+ hour days and my training time fell between the hours of 4:00 am-6:00 am or 7pm and beyond. Dinner on most nights was close to 9pm. Not fun. My day off, which just happened to fall in the middle of the week, was so jammed packed with errands and training that it was just as draining as a normal work day. I felt like one hot mess.

Frustrated and burnt out with training and work, I decided that something needed to give. I knew my schedule would in no way, shape, or form mesh with IM training next spring. I love love love PT and right now career should come first, but how would I squeeze it all in?

Well my friends... sometimes you just have to ask! I explained my situation to my boss and think I might have my problem solved. New hours starting last week... 10-6? How sweet is that?

Working full time and juggling training is never an easy feat but I think that this just might work! How do you fit it in? What are your suggestions for making it work? Do you ever think your priorities are backwards?


  1. I'm job hunting and one of my criteria is whether there is a good masters swim team nearby, so no, your priorities are not out of whack! I only swim, so no help from me, but here is a tip I got about academic writing that might help- schedule your training time as sacred, that is, give it the same priority in your schedule as you do work. You never miss work, so don't let anything interfere with the training time, either. The trick is to make it an actual time period on your schedule. It's VERY hard and I don't do it that well, but consensus is that it works for becoming a productive writer. I don't see why it can't work for training, too. Good luck!

  2. I think those are awesome hours! A long time ago I worked a job where we would switch schedules every couple weeks, 10-6 and 6-2. I LOVED 10-6 weeks. So easy to get a workout in before work and you don't get out too late where you feel like you can't have a nice evening.

    Miss ya!

  3. Congrats on the new schedule. I am lucky my schedule works for me. I only live 3.5 miles from work, so a workout can be just running or riding my bike to and fro. Out at 2:00 pm rocks M-F. I am just lucky to be an early bird. I am up at 4:00 am while on vacation.

    My schedule is flexible. I have to start my day by 7:30. I can make my start time anytime as long as it is by 7:30. I choose really early. :)

    I love the question do you ever think your priorities are backwards? Really is there even a correct answer to priorities??

  4. your new schedule sounds SO much better! hurray!

    i dont workout in the mornings before work, so i have to squeeze everything after work...there were times i would be on my trainer until 10pm. totally sucked. this is why i am done with the Ironman!

  5. I have worked both 5x8 and 4x10, while 4x10 seems since on paper, those 2 extra hours take a toll on you and your "extra day off" is spent doing chores and errands.

    the best scernio I have found to work for me is waking up extremely early and get your training done before the workday starts, then its done, out of the way, so if you get stuck at work or something happens and you have to run an errand at night, you still have your training done with

  6. story of my life. When I was taking classes, applying to PT chool, working 70ish hours a week AND training for an Ironman it did not take long for me to get totally burned out. I would be such a stress case and either miss workouts or school assignments. Now that my hours are 11-7 I do BOTH workouts in the morning before I get to work which is what I am assuming you will try to do as well. Be prepared to be totally zonked by the time you get home. One tip- make a bunch of meals on Sunday so that you don't have to spend too much time making dinner!

  7. Time is my most precious commodity. My typical day has me leaving the house by 630am and I get home about 7pm. My workouts start at about 8pm. I found doing them earlier didn't work for me.

    It all comes down to planning and balance. With 2 teenagers, sometimes things needs to get dropped. The aggregate weekly fatigue plays a role too. My wife helps a ton but of course she has already said that there will be no more ironman races for me. We'll see :)

    I wish there was a secret. If you find one, let me know!

  8. Finding time is very difficult! I struggle almost daily. That is why I take each day as it comes. Generally, I work 6am-3pm. I do a quick workout at lunch and then after work. When the training gets really rough then I have to adapt even further. Right now I have a new puppy which is like a baby so I will have to adapt again.

    I wish you the best of luck and I hope you find that best schedule that works for you. I know that if anyone can do it, it will be you!

  9. My priorities are so backward it is not even funny. I basically left teaching and started my own coaching company because teaching did not leave me enough time to train! When I did teach, though, I spent a lot of time working out in the early morning and on the weekends. But that meant I had less family time on the weekends, and it was quickly evident the marriage would fail quickly and painfully apart if I didn't change something! So I changed my job--even though I love teaching--and still miss it very much.

  10. I wish I knew what the ideal schedule is. This does sound like it'll be WAY better though!! I would love to work 10-6. I guess my advice would be to try to do at least one workout every morning. When I was in California and could get in later (like a little before 9) if I was really efficient I could do two workouts before work. That said I never do my hair or put on makeup, that is a real time saver!

    Good luck with the new schedule!! BTW I am doing Galveston too, we will have to meet up and convince Kim to race too!

  11. Yay for understanding bosses and flexible work schedules! My boss allows me to come in late twice a week so I can swim and/or get in my medium long run. It ,ales all the difference!
    P.s. where did you get the adorable pink racing kit you're wearing in the bottom photo of you on your bike? LOVE all the pink!!

  12. I often say that I don't know how people with real jobs do it! I work from home, own my own company and report to me. It makes training a lot easier. Major kudos to you for figuring out what wasn't working and making a change fast!

  13. My priorities are SO backwards!!! My schedule is pretty flexible, so I block off sections of my shared Outlook office calendar with "private appointments" to accommodate longer workouts when needed... I'm lucky that my company and boss are pretty laid back and as long as I get my work done, no one complains.

    I couldn't imagine working 4 x 10-12 hour days. Congrats on your new hours and talking to your boss -- sounds like you've found something that will work for you!

  14. So good that your schedule worked out well - also helps with your sanity - you know you got a good boss when they are willing to work with you :)

  15. Ok i have been in your EXACT shoes, but i was trying to train for tennis and its not like i can do that in the dark without another person since you cant train with a ball machine or the wall LOL.
    I think you hit the nail on the head I did that often, changing a few days to 10-6 or even 11-7 bc we always have people that want after work hours. Not too many PT's work after 5pm. And then a few days i did 6am start times. It sorta messes with your sleep but the key is to not have late days followed by the early AM start times. I found myself wishing more than once that a patient would cancel in the early AM and usually they never did!
    I used to wear a lab coat and nosh on nuts and stuff btwn patients, but i know its impossible to actually take a lunch with them running late, etc. So just do the best you can. Glad you got out of the 10 hour days, that killed me!