Before you try to figure out which set of intervals you need to do, or what bike components to purchase, or what diet to try out, or supplements to take - there is a more essential task to your success in building performance. That is how you spend your time. Not in a "I have to be more productive" kind of way - but more taking a long view of what spaces you have in your lifestyle for your training to fit in.
I've gotten the comment many times asking "where I find the time" to train as a father of 4 kids and co-owner of a business. It's been through seeing my time as a resource I need to budget, instead of using my lifestyle as an excuse and letting time turn me into a slave of duties.
Here is a brief set of steps we use with JoetoPro Cycling Members on starting to isolate areas of possibility for focused training, recovery, and lifestyle balance:
- Which days of the week are the easiest for you to get a ride in?
- Are there days where it would be easier (more likely to be done) for you to do two smaller workouts, instead of on larger workout?
- What part of the days is most accessible to your bike workouts?
- What days are sacred (not religious) and need to be protected from workouts, with recovery protocol falling there at most?
- Which days are your busiest from morning to evening?
- What is your typical sleep schedule (go to bed, and wake up)? And are you willing for that to be more consistent?
- Is your family supportive or leery of the time you spend training?
- Where, would you say, you waste the most time in your weekly schedule? (Time you spend on things that are moving you backwards, instead of forwards.)
These type of questions not only help us get an idea of rhythm of life, it exposes potential opportunities to get consistent training time into your schedule. It also focuses on maintaining life balance. It is often the case that with small adjustments we have plenty of time to build a capable level of fitness for our goals.
Once you've taken the time to really evaluate your time it is much easier to make a plan around your goals - not just in training time for the bike - but in relational time with family, in fun time for friends, and in personal development time for improving your character and staying sharp as an individual. It all feeds into the discipline and fun of going after big challenges and pushing into the higher levels of life experiences.