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The TBN #39-Limited time to train? 7 tips for time crunched athletes

Updated: Apr 8

Read time: 3min.

By Coach Yan Busset

  1. Target Your Weakness : You have more room for improvement in the discipline you need to develop the most. Instead of always training what you like, focus on what you need to do. For example, if swimming is your weakness, prioritize your precious time on that discipline first. Or, if you're a petrol head type of athlete and going fast and short feels natural, then prioritize endurance and your base aerobic capacity, where you will need more development to perform over any distance, as even a super-sprint triathlon is mostly an aerobic effort.

  2. Strength and Conditioning First! When planning your weekly training, prioritize free weight force training at the gym. It’s the foundation base of your fitness. Using free weights over machines will make your core stronger, and pushing heavy weights will be a great natural hormone booster with great side health benefits. Just make sure you do it with the right technique. One great advantage of putting effort into strength training is that it helps all disciplines at once – a real 3-in-1 training! Counterintuitively, the longer your race, the more effort you should put into strength training, as at the end of a long distance race, the greater limiter of performance won't be the lack of endurance but the lack of force. You need strength and a strong core to keep your form toward the end of the race.

  3. Skip the Cool Down: If you are on a very tight schedule, don’t compromise the warm-up (best way to stay injury-free) but rather cut the cool-down part of the training session. Related article here.

  4. Multiply Short Sessions Throughout the Week: Avoid becoming a "Weekend Warrior." Four 30-minute run sessions are better for your fitness than one 2-hour session per week. Shorter sessions are not only easier to fit into a busy lifestyle but also help your technique. Maintaining proper form is easier in shorter sessions. This is a win-win combo, as proper form is also key to staying injury-free.

  5. Plan Your Training: If you train randomly, you can expect random results, and there’s a greater chance that something will come up and pull you away from training. So, schedule your training sessions ahead, keeping work and family duties in mind. The help of a coach will save you time in planning and allow you to focus on enjoying your session rather than stressing about what to do and whether it’s relevant and effective for your goals.

  6. Keep Track of Your Sessions: If you ask me, "Groundhog day" was maybe one the best movie ever, but you might don’t want to, alike the main character, stay stuck on a loop. If you don’t record and measure your training performances, you will lose track and won't learn from them. Chances are you’ll do the same things over and over and plateau. These days, with a smartwatch and Wi-Fi, everything syncs automatically.

  1. Build Your "Pain Cave": One of the most time-effective ways to train is at home. It may be more boring than being outside with training buddies, but if you don’t have the luxury of free time, having your bike ready, and perhaps even a treadmill to hop on whenever you have time, is a game-changer. Especially in winter, when getting ready with layers of clothing can be time-consuming. Depending on your available space and budget, you can allocate a part of your garage, balcony, or living room to set up your bike on a trainer. The only downside is that you might get interrupted as you are more easily reachable. More on indoor training here.

When your time is limited, you need to get creative to put in the required hours for your favorite hobby. Check this one. Remember, it’s the best time investment you will ever make. You will discover so much about yourself, build life-changing fitness and resilience, and be in better shape to help and inspire those around you, ready to tackle any challenges that come your way. So while you hesitate, someone busier than you is already training! What are you waiting for?


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. If you are in the Helsinki area and looking for the best training group check here

2. If you are looking for an online coaching service check here.

3. If you are looking for support for your triathlon journey, I recommend you book a 30min 1on1 video consultation with me here.


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