Establishing a routine

For many athletes, one of the toughest parts of a training program is simply getting into a regular routine. We're all being pulled in multiple directions with family life, work demands, social obligations, and other possible hobbies. (!)

A few tips to help you line up your training and get into a long term habit of making it happen every day follow.

Train at the same time every day. If you know you're at your best in the morning, make arrangements to do many of your sessions then. For working athletes, this is the best time to get it done, before work and family take over your time and energy. If you are the type who is more jazzed up later in the day, schedule your training at that time. It is good to recognize when you have both the time and the motivation to get going.

Find some training buddies. Accountability is a huge factor for many of us. Knowing that someone is waiting for you at the trailhead is a great way to stop dithering and get out the door.

Keep snacks in the car. You planned to work out on your lunch break, but now you're hungry and losing focus. Keep a few healthy snacks in your vehicle so you can take the edge off and get your session in.

Get organized. Face it buddy, you're a grown up now. Your Mom is not going to remind you to finish your work project and brush your teeth. Use a planning app or basic wall calendar to plot out each and every week.

Reward yourself. Make a promise to you: If you get all your workouts in for the week, you will do something fun. It is OK to celebrate small successes. Every session counts, and consistency over time is a major factor for both health and improvement.

I hope these help see you off to a great season!

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon coach who lives in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Marty has been coaching endurance athletes since 2002. You can read more about OSB coaching services at

One Step Beyond is the producer of the Powerstroke®: Speed through force and form freestyle technique DVD, intended to help new to intermediate triathlon swimmers become faster and more powerful in the water.