My weekends are a write-off

This shouldn’t be a revelation to me – but it is. My weekends are a training write-off!

Once again I planned my training week with a long run on Saturday and a long ride on Sunday. And once again I failed to achieve them. These aren’t monster sessions that I’m failing to complete – a long run is around 90 mins, and a long ride would be 2-3 hours. Incredibly, I am consistently unable to find 90 mins on Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday.

Trainign by Day of the Week, Last Six Months

It isn’t a lack of motivation which stumps me. I’m keen, I’m itching to get out. It’s primarily a lack of available time. But it’s also a lack of foresight and intelligent planning. I can’t do anything about the available time, but I can and must do something about the foresight and planning.

My training window on the weekend is tight. My wife and I divide up the mornings – she gets Saturday morning, I get Sunday. The rest of the weekend is choka-block filled with kids activities. There is certainly no time in there for a selfish swim.

I can sneak out early Saturday morning, provided I’m back by 6:30am to catch the kids when they awaken. If I’m back any later, goodwill is tested, and Sunday’s session is in jeopardy. So the plan is to be on the road, running, before 5am on Saturday morning. Ideally I’ll awaken before my alarm because an unwanted 4:30am wake-up doesn’t help goodwill either!

Sunday morning is mine. Well, it was until Little Nippers started. I need to be back home by 8:30am so I can head down to the surf club with the little man. It’s actually a really fun morning at the beach, but it does mean my long ride has to start EARLY! The plan is to be on the road around 5:15am-ish Sunday morning, which allows a little time for recovery, and any mishaps like punctures.

This weekend timetable has little room for movement. I got up and dressed Sat morning only to switch the outside light on to horizontal rain and surface flooding. The forecast was for clearing skies. I foolishly, optimistically, imagined I’d be able to get out for 90 mins sometime later in the day. It was one of those half-thought out decisions you make when you are not quite awake, and faced with a choice between bed and adversity. I wanted to believe that I’d be able to do the session later in the day; there was a mathematical possibility – it had happened once before…sometime, hadn’t it?

I keep thinking: “Successful athletes find a way to get it done.”

By midday it sinks in that the run isn’t going to happen. It’s only a priority for me, not for the rest of the family. If I don’t make it happen when I have the chance, it won’t happen! I blew it by not going out in the morning storm. I’m disappointed in myself. I should know better by now!
Nine years of having kids and I’m still in denial about how completely they’ve consumed my life.

I could push, and do a session during the day, but it would take a little nibble from my relationship with my wife, and a little nibble from my relationship with my kids. Too many small bites and those relationships are gone. Pushing is not a sustainable approach.

That evening, once the kids are down, I try to make things right and force myself out for the 90 min run – in the dark – in the rain – in the wind. The very same conditions I’d faced in the morning. But now I’m risking the Sunday morning ride.

By the time I get home and feed, I’ve eaten into my sleep time. And my legs are complaining about the long run. The quality of Sunday’s ride is compromised and, if I do head out, I could get rundown and sick, and blow a few more days of training. There’s no chance for catch-up sleep with four young kids. I’m on the knife-edge of 6 hours sleep a night already.

I’m resigned to it. The ride is off. I don’t set the alarm and end the training week there, on Saturday night.

Maybe next weekend I’ll get it right?

What are the lessons here?

1. Just do it! H. T. F. U.

2. Decide my Plan B the night before, so I’m not making decisions when I’m half asleep and just want to go back to bed.

3. Don’t leave key sessions until the end of the week, because if I miss them, there’s no time to reschedule, and then my week feels bad.

Train on!

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