Coffee & Coaching Episode 22: Managing Life & Triathlon

Episode 22

Title: The 3 Biggest Misconceptions About Training for a Triathlon

Episode Length:  (Can watch the episode or read the blog below)

About the Episode: 

Recently Exercise Physiologist Jaclyn Murphy shared her advice on managing life and triathlon. In this episode of Coffee & Coaching we share some of her top tips with you, including what load is and how to manage it to achieve your best both within triathlon and in life outside of it. 

Watch the Replay 

Or if you don't have time to watch the replay, you can read our summary of what's covered below! 

What is Load?

  • Load = Everything we do that impacts the way our mind and body operate.
  • Training Load = the amount, type, intensity and duration and the environment of your training
  • A really high or unsustainable load can lead to increased risk of injury or illness.

  • This is why managing your load is important for any athlete… because it reduces your risk or injury, of over training or of high levels of stress.

  • Visualise load as if you're carrying a backpack. Wearing an empty backpack is quite manageable and tolerable, but each thing that we choose to do is a brick in that backpack. E.g. you go for a run in the morning - that’s a brick in your backpack. Then you go to work and you’re on your feet a lot, that’s another brick in your backpack. Had a stressful day, haven't slept well the night before… they’re all bricks in your backpack. Eventually the backpack is going to get so heavy that you won’t be able to pick it up or even stand up when you have it on. That’s your load. 

Optimal Load

  • Everyones load will look and feel different. For some people, training 5-6 times a week is a manageable load, for others training every second day might be a manageable load for them, because of everything else that’s going on in their life.
  • We all have an optimal load 
  • It’s about figuring out what we can manage so that we can position ourselves in that optimal zone.

Examples of training load

  • Swimming, cycling & running
  • Training at 5:30am
  • Running in the rain or in 30 degree heat
  • Playing a social netball game
  • Dancing with friends at a nightclub 
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Getting home at 3am Sunday morning
  • Being stressed about a uni assignment
  • Going through a breakup
  • Stressful job
  • Dehydration
  • Poor diet 

Managing your load

  • Scheduling and planning ahead is the best way to do this.
  • Identify what your ideal week would look like in terms of training
  • Then slotting in where life happens around that - work, social, study
  • You then may need to go through and remove things so you're left with a manageable load

Identifying Load

  • Identify how an unmanageable load presents itself for you e.g. bone stress, getting sick, low iron
  • Identify what good load looks like for you - how do you feel when you have that balance right
  • Then you can work to stay within those parameters 

Strategies for managing load

  • Having support networks around you
  • Set realistic goals
  • Manage your expectations
  • Identify your priorities
  • Identify when something isn't working

Finding Balance

  • Sometimes it's "Harmony" rather than "Balance"
  • In the 16 weeks before your first half ironman life might take a bit of a back seat. Later in the year you might have a big event coming up at work so your training needs to drop back a bit to accommodate for those extra hours you’re spending in the office. 

  • It's important to have other hobbies and interests outside of triathlon. Learning how to manage them so they can compliment each other is then critical to making sure they fit into your life as you need them to. 

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