Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Creative scheduling as working mom and athlete

I am about a month into fall semester and to this point I've managed to fit all my workouts in. That's not been an easy feat when I'm trying to minimize their impact on the family and kids' activities and not intrude on work hours which are primarily when kids are in school (9-3).

I typically have about 11 workouts in a week:
  • 3-4 resistance training sessions
  • 2 swims
  • 3 runs
  • 2 bikes
Generally I have one workout early in the morning before the kids head to school, and gym workouts right after the kids get home from school, but before their activities start up for the evening. It's a time they are happy to be at home resting and playing.

The swims are the easiest, I head to the campus pool for the 7-8 am lap swim. I have a locker and towel service so I can just show up, swim, and shower. I found if I got everything ready beforehand (kids' lunches, my lunch, all chores done), I can swim and get home in time to finish up with them after dad feeds them breakfast and drive them to school on my way to work.

Road runs are easy too. There is still enough daylight, and even when daylight is an issue I plan to get a wearable headlight so the sun is not needed. Track workouts, though infrequent, need daylight.

Bike rides are the biggest challenge as the early morning temperatures are falling and daylight is a necessity for safety. My two options are to ride the bike on the stationary trainer or squeeze a ride in during the day.

Three things make the schedule even possible. (1) circadian rhythms that get me up by 5:00 every morning, (2) good calendar tools, and (3) shedding of most time-wasters from my life. The last one has been a win-win really. I contend that the structure and routine of the workouts has enabled me to streamline, leaving me much more satisfied with the way I spend my time.

One thing that seemed to really slip last year was the whole meal prep and family food management and we did far too much of eating whatever for dinner. With the help of my trainer, I was (and still am) learning how, what, and when to eat and was busy changing my own habits. This year I am able to extend what I learned to the family. I am doing a better job of planning out meals a week at a time and getting dinners made before the end of the day when I am too tired.

It is a challenge to make things fit, but at the same time I see that it is making a difference with the kids. They see fitness and exercise as fun and rewarding and they appreciate the commitment that is necessary to reach goals. They are each finding their sports niches. Spencer's is more in line with individual sports and he really enjoys strength and agility training at the gym. Grant has developed incredible focus and a diligent work ethic in Karate and soccer. I'm proud of them both and just want them to enjoy their physical gifts, appreciate sweat, and learn to push their own perceived limits.