Teachers that tri!

Are there any teachers out there? How do you manage to fit tri in? I am in my NQT year and struggling to manage work life balance before I even think about tri training. All good intentions often go to pot if parents turn up or the department meeting gets changed. My training is largely done at weekends between marking but I am planning on fi ishing at the vitruvian in August. I am well aware that my training needs to improve well before the summer hols... any tips would be gratefully received. 


  • Hi Ellie,

    I'm a deputy head who runs, occaisional tri/ultra too.  Firstly, the NQT year is one of the hardest... you will find that it gets easier.  You will have lesson plans, resources, and the extra experience will gradually mean things get easier.  Keep at it.

    Secondly, as you can imagine, my work load is pretty insane, i fit training in by running too and from work, and swimming in the evening after.  Cycling was always the hardest to fit in, so that had to be on the weekends or to replace a run to or from work.  

    Good luck!

  • there are a couple ofteachers out there..but i think the problem with fitting in training is one that hits about 90% of the people competing not just teachers.......so many do long commuting hours and hectic work schedules that its hard to fit in especially with partners and kids.....

    I'm on eof the lucky ones with time but lack the motivation at times......but even i have to be fglexible with the schedules to drop things and rearrange things to fit into life

  • I get up early and do an hour before work, and then swim before I get home ... I get up early Sundays to finish my long ride by lunchtime, and do my long run Monday evenings.

    I'm not an NQT - but do Open University teaching on top of my full time teaching job, and am in the T.A. as well. I do occasionally spend an hour or so moving bits of paper saying "swim", "long run", "brick" etc to find a combination that fits my weekly commitments. I've learned never to plan a session after tea, because that is marking time and by then I'm tired and inefficient, so there will never be a spare hour at that time of the day.

    As you get more confident you can start to prioritise your time - training is my de-stressor so its really important I find a slot (or 9) in my week. As my mum used to say, "where there's a will, there's a way"  image

  • Thanks Shiva... glad to hear it gets easier. I was marking until 10.30 on fri eve and have just finished marking a set of tests now... all in a bid to have Sat free. Some weeks just seem easier than others, but a 7-9.30/10 day is normal! I had thought about cycling to and from work but a) there is a really nasty 3mile stretch i cant avoid where there have been several cyclists killed (one of which i saw the aftermath of) and b) i seem to have so many books. Maybe I should get one of those kid trailers, I dont think panniers would cut it! 

    Seren, I am quite lucky in that I dont have children yet and hubby does ironman so our 'together' time also doubles as bike training! Although he is a reseacher and much more flexible with his time... maybe thats why it seems so hard for me. Having said that, when I had a 9-5 job I had no motivation whatsoever!

  • Omg Britrisky how on earth do you do all that! Hats off! What time is early? I normally manage 7 hours in bed (less actually sleeping!) which I never feel is enough but I like to be in school for 7-7.30.  I dont know if I could cope on less sleep. Maybe I just need to man up! 

    Not planning training for aftr tea sounds like a good idea, although I will have to be organised enough to have lunch or something after work otherwise Id drop dead. saying that I need to find time for lunch anyway... its not healthy to grab a twix as I tidy up/set up for the afternoon! I think I am actually turning in to a chocolate bar.

  • I imagine that you could train before 10am or after 3pm. Teachers eh!image

    My wife is a teacher; I know how much time teachers put in and how hard they work.

  • mathschickmathschick ✭✭✭

    Ellie - I am a teacher too, and I get up early in the morning to fit training in. I have joined a masters session at a swimming club to make sure I get the swimming in - before that I would just be tired and not bother going as the public session were all fairly late. As I have paid upfront for the masters session I feel forced to go! And I always enjoy it when I am there.

    My worst thing is fitting in a long bike ride on Sundays because of the family.

    The NQT year is hard, but you need to become efficient with everything you do, and I guess that comes with experience.

  • Meals are my first priority - I never skip lunch or try to fit any training in then (we only have 40 mins for lunch anyway).

    I get up at 5.45 and train for an hour, there are others on here that are up way earlier than that, though! I thought I'd be dead on my feet, but I think my boyd just sleeps more soundly to make up for it!

  • What about during the school holidays?

  • Good point, Pudge - last year I did an oly in July (when the marking has eased off loads) but had the summer hols to build up my bike miles for a HIM in September.

  • i don't know ....

    • 10-4 working day
    • 5 months per year holiday
    • the ability to have a nap at work without anyone noticing




  • Absolutely, I would have imagined that all the time off you get during summer would be ideal for training for a late August/early September triathlon.

  • WildWill..... wrote (see)


    • the ability to have a nap at work without anyone noticing


    I must admit - when the class are watching a video I've seen a 100 times already, and the blinds are drawn and the lights are off ... well ...  image

  • EllieO,

    We are all busy, lazy useless people don't do triathlons. We all have pressures. Get Be Iron Fit from the library (or buy it if you have to), it talks a lot about time and gives real world examples. Some are mental like a bloke who has 6hrs sleep M-F but naps on the train to make up and therefore trains from 4am-6am daily.

    There are three opportunities in the day for you to train:

    oh and weekends but they can be easier for some.

    Can you train then Y/N. The morning may require an early start so go to bed earlier. If you can't find the time to train in the mornings then could you fit the marking in then? To free up the evenings.

    Can you train lunchtime? Even once a week?

    Can you train evenings

    If the answer to all three is No then pick an easier hobby!

    Bike Commuting

    Is there a different route? My drive to work is 18 miles and takes 35minutes. My bike to work is on different roads 50% of the time and is only 17 miles and takes an hour. However if I tried to drive the bike route I reckon it would take nearly as long. Some single lane with passing places, town centre with heavy traffic and traffic lights on a single lane bridge where I tend to ride the path. The driving route is much hillier and would take 1:15 to cycle.

    So consider the route as a cyclist not a driver.  Can you go slightly longer and safer, or even shorter and safer and quicker.

    To paraphrase Be Iron Fit and Evan Del Colle

    You have 168 hours - you use up 49 sleeping, 50 hours working, 10 hours commuting - the time window is closing but you still have 59 hours. 2-hours per day washing, eating etc. 45-hours closing. Family life and other commitments 14 hours.....31 hours. Emergencies 11 hours. This leaves you 20 hours per week. 1200 minutes so make them count.

    It is possible, stop making why nots and start making a plan that includes DO.

    **End of Motivational speech to great hurrahs - exit stage left**


    P.S. Do not get the maths dept to help with the above.

  • It is po sible, stop making why nots and start making a plan that includes DO.


    **End of Motivational speech to great hurrahs - exit stage left**


    P.S. Do not get the maths dept to help with the above.

    Yay! And welcome aboard! !  image

  • Thanks for all yout advice guys! I do manage to train a bit in the week but I have come to a point where I feel I need to be consistent. The other Thurs was supposed to Ow swim but the 5 min meeting with a parent turned in to an hour and  half with the head of year and myself.... its things like this that get to me as I cant stick to my plan! I need to be more flexible I guess. 

    This is my plan for the next few weeks then and we will see how i goes... mornings fit in run 3 x week and extend my working evening as I never feel like running late but if I have to work I will get it done. Long run can stay at the weekend. Lunch times are a no no... by the time I have ushered kids to the medical room  sortex out arguments and cleared up/set up practical stuff there is just about time to eat. Will be organised enough to take food for after school or have lunch and aim to leave by 4 twice a week to go cycling, plus go straight from school to ow swimming on Thurs. 

    Will have a good long look for an alternative bike route also. What do people think about only doing 1 swim per week ow? Swimming isnt an issue for me and I swim him distance + whenever I go... Im not bothered about getting faster, just finishing. Is there a need to do more? Running is my weakness big time!

    Thanks again guys... was having a mini melt down but you have put things back into perspective! 


    P.s. multitasking at the min... sat on the loo...becoming more productive already

  • mathschickmathschick ✭✭✭

    a hint about lunch times - make sure the kids get cleared up before heading off to lunch. Not sure what your subject is, but I always make sure everything is packed up and cleared away so I never miss a minute of break or lunch! You need to time to eat and rest and chat to your colleagues! I guess if you are science or DT then there is more equipment, but use the kids as much as you can! Tutor groups are great to use to cut up card sorts/sort out papers/filing etc. They need to learn these organisational skills anyway....and that frees up a lot of your time.

    if you are biking in make sure you aren't carrying too much marking in your backpack!

  • Try harder.

  • I do triathlon BECAUSE I'm a teacher!! Plan your events around holidays (peak training) and early September for taper!

    Best lesson plans are created whilst running - you just need to scribble the bare bones down as soon as you get in. (running and biking also ace for forgetting about the grotty bits of the day that are usually no REAL part of our lovely lovely job).

    I know most people love to get out on bikes BUT having kids aswell means that's not always possible  - so -  the joy of the turbo trainer... I have actually done more hours on the turbo this year in order to do the reading I need for my work...

    NQT is pants year ... Definitely try to do something in the morning; the working day is SO different if you've done something for yourself first.

    At the risk of sounding mental... get a small dog / arrange to help out a friend with dog walks... amazing how much training you allow yourself to do when it's not actually all for you!

    Don't know what your subject is but I do lots of motivational / technique etc reading on the trainer which I then use in my subject (comparative essays Chrissie Wellington vs Martyn Brunt; Chapter 10 '4 little words' from Holgs' book - the power of the short sentence!) Can you use your area to allow you to motivate yourself??

    I think anyone who works at all and competes is fantastic and as teachers we have all the advantages that anyone could wish for.

    Count your hours (Fink - m..eface) make it clear to yourself what you CHOOSE to spend your hours doing, and just have a lovely timeimage

    (unless you become a rubbishy teacher the hard work and long hours are here to stay - I've just been given the most stunning album created by my crazy yr 11 form who have left today... teaching IS the best!)



  • EllieO wrote (see)
    Will have a good long look for an alternative bike route also. What do people think about only doing 1 swim per week ow? Swimming isnt an issue for me and I swim him distance + whenever I go... Im not bothered about getting faster, just finishing. Is there a need to do more? Running is my weakness big time!

    OW swimming is up to the individual. In my first year of Tri I went quite a bit, I enjoy it. Last year year it didn't fit the family schedule so I never went once. First time in OW last year was the Outlaw. Swam 1:13 2 minutes quicker than previous PB. I only swam OW 3 times last year and each was in a race.

    I like it but if it doesn't fit and/or is a waste of time then I don;t see the need to go. Used to go before work but easier to to do the pool, back home, school run, then work!

    If OW concerns you (and it is not always related to swimming ability) then OW water is the bestt thing to overcome the issue. If you love it and your wetsuit fits and you have no concerns then it is not as important. 

    Sure if it fitted better I would go more. But pool is 5 minutes away and lake is 25-30minutes away.

  • you've just replied to the questions in my head!

  • I've been teaching for nearly 8 years now and started tri this year. Only done two sprints but now training for an Olympic and my first OW swim. I cycle to work one day a week 30 KM each way. I also try and go to a swim session at my local pool that is for the cost of any lane swim. I try to run a couple of times a week as well But this suffers as my bike and swim need the most work. 

    Fitting it in can get tough and it's a case of I do some of my best thinking when I'm on the bike or running. I've got into a routine so when I don't train I get grumpy and feel less productive at work. 

    Getting the balance is hard but your workload will never get less but you learn to work smarter. I'm a HOY and have a young family but you will find a way to fit it in I you really want it.

    I'm a better teacher when I tri!


  • Couldn't agree more! Also worth noting that in my borough there is a significant discount for membership to council run gym / pool. I'm currently spending £9.90 on 3xswim but when I sign up it will be £22:50 per month for unlimited swims in ANY pool in the borough( inc a 50m olympic)... ask at your local centre.

  • Thanks guys! Ges ogt and Big n slow you are right about being better teacher when doing things for yourself too (training!). Infact one of my best lessons came to me when I was out runnning with very little effort... I just sometimes feel snowed under and like I can't take the risk because what if nothing comes to me when I am out, then I have 'wasted' an hour or so. Irrational I know, I can tell myself that on days like today when I am not so tired and semi on top of things. Oh triathlon has also made my life so much easier with a couple of pupils who are also into tri!

    Can;t remember who asked but I teach science and while the kids clear up their mess, there is always stuff to be taken back to the prep room or set up before the next class. It is something I am getting better at, but slowly.

    Yesterday I forced myself out running before tea and did 10km (thats my longest run ever) - I used to hate running but I have had this mental breakthrough and I loved it... maybe it is the escapism! I now feel much more confident about being able to complete the HIM so that is another weight off my mind!

    Today I didnt quite manage training, but I managed a good laugh - my sister (also a teacher) has signed up to her first tri so I took her out on mum's roadbike ... she did very well at first, until my chain fell off and she decided to try and mount the kerb to try and help and fell off! I keep telling her it is just not the same as mountain bikes with spokies and handlebar tassels like we used to have! Maybe I shall get her some for the tri.

    On the gym/pool front... I am a member at my local pool which I try and use, I just wish the y would open earlier in the mornings. I have to swim in the evenings, but now the lake is open I will make that my aim instead. I have swam in OW several times before so I know I can do it, it just seems so much harder this year ... must be the cold as I am ok when I get going.

    I hope I haven't come across too whingey... I do love my job, the kids are great, staff are great and I get to burn stuff. It just sometimes gets on top of me and I worry that trying to do tri this year especially is a daft idea. But you have all reasurred me... Thank you!

    Now off to plan another lesson

  • try a bit of 'transference skills', I've been setting my lessons as 'tris'. En1,2&3 are swim, bike and run. Each lesson has a focus of one discipline, but with warm up, drills, main set and cool down, hahahaha, I'm loving it! I have challenged the kids to create their own plan based in their own interest, hobby, even the order of tv shows that they watch... It's amazing how much more they get through, and how much you can learn about them in a very easy way. Don't care if they think I'm barking, we're working like demons and it feels fresh and fun. Def get 'don finks' book, the focus on time management is superb triathlon or not. Good luck... Nearly the hols.

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