Balance life like a triathlon
In triathlon, you need to balance three disciplines. Swim, bike, and run. You will most likely be better at & enjoy one discipline more than the other ones. Naturally, you would like to focus on the discipline you enjoy more than the other two. Choose the path of least resistance. However, in order to get better, you need to do the exact opposite.
For me, running was my favorite. I had run a couple of marathons, so I was familiar with running. When I signed up for my first Ironman, I didn’t own a bike and I couldn’t swim more than 100 meters. That’s where I needed to put my focus.
Living in snowy Finland, and training in the middle of the pandemic, made it difficult to do all the disciplines at times. There were weeks when I mainly focused on one discipline. That’s fine, and might actually be beneficial. I especially remember a three-week stretch where I mainly focused on swimming. As swimming is the most technical of the three, those weeks really set me up for success.
Another thing I noticed was that consistency is key, doing shorter workouts more frequently made a huge difference. Obviously, when training for an Ironman you have to do the long workouts, but especially for the swim technique, I noticed that doing three shorter sessions was better than two longer ones.
Translate that into real life. In a relationship, it’s better to be present and work on the relationship every day instead of buying flowers every now and then. At work, it’s better, if possible, to work an hour longer for five days instead of five hours one day. If you’re trying to eat healthy, you need to do it every day. Just eating salad for one day doesn’t cut it.
When training for triathlons, there’s always a gradual build-up. The volume increases by up to 10% weekly for three weeks, then there’s one easier “recovery week” (obviously it varies depending on the athlete and their program, but that’s roughly a general structure). The same cycle is repeated X times. I think it’s good to think of “real life” the same way. Improving 1% every day will pay huge dividends over time. It’s also much more manageable than going from 0 to 100 one day. And easier days/weeks are needed in order to recover and get back stronger.