Time Crunched?

Time crunched? Eat, sleep and rejuvenate on the fly with these time-saving tips.

Triathletes are busy, goal-driven people. Not only do we juggle training for three sports, many of us hold down full-time jobs while trying to spend time with our families, among other activities.

What’s the secret to getting fitter, stronger and avoiding injury among all this activity? It lies in finding a balance between stress and rest. Physical training provides the necessary stress that allows for critical adaptive response, or fitness gains, to take place. But this adaptation can only occur in our rest phases—the time in between workouts.

In order to improve, you must consider your recovery as equally important to training. In fact, recovery is simply an extension of training. While there are numerous expensive and time-consuming recovery methods (think fancy zero gravity treadmills and weekend retreats), most triathletes tend to gravitate towards three main methods: sleep, nutrition and massage. These three are the most effective, cost sensitive and realistic for busy athletes. Below are creative suggestions for getting in a quickie—even in the busiest of schedules.

Get your Z’s

While it may be tempting to cut out an hour of sleep in order to get your next workout in, you may actually negate the positive effects of the training by doing so.

During sleep the body produces hormones that facilitate the recovery process. If you aren’t getting enough, you are missing out on a key opportunity to get stronger, faster and fitter.

Most athletes need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Heavy and/or intense training loads sometimes require even more.

→ Sleep Tips

  • Commit to a consistent bedtime routine
  • Get off electronic devices 60 minutes before bedtime
  • Limit caffeine by mid afternoon and alcohol
  • Sleep until you naturally wake up as often as your schedule allows
  • Take naps to supplement your nighttime sleep and help reduce sleep debt
  • Keep your room cool and dark, which promotes deep sleep


Recovery begins the minute your workout is over with a post-workout snack. The optimal window for glycogen repletion is within 30 minutes post workout. During that critical window of time, blood flow to the muscles is greater, digestive enzymes are most active and the muscle cells are more sensitive to the effects of insulin, which promotes glycogen synthesis.

Research shows that athletes who follow the 30-minute rule will store up to three times more glycogen than those who wait two or more hours to eat. The faster you replace glycogen stores, the faster you recover.

The ideal recovery snack should include 15 to 25 grams of protein to stimulate muscle repair and 1.0 to 1.5 g/kg carbohydrate. (A 4:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio.)

→ Quick snacks

  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Pretzels and peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt with granola and fresh fruit
  • Fruit smoothie with yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese and crackers with sports drink
  • Bagel with peanut butter and jelly
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich

Snacks aside, don’t skip your next meal! Ideally, 90 minutes after the post-workout snack, your body will still need to receive a balanced meal for optimal recovery.

Limber up

While you might just want to flop down on the couch after a hard training session, keeping your muscles in motion throughout the day can help keep injury at bay. This is especially important if you sit at a desk. “Increasing your flexibility is a way of keeping your body young and supple, and of allowing it to perform better and stay pain free,” says Lifesport coach, Lucy Smith. “Work on maintaining your body’s unique flexibility, which will allow you to perform better and recover faster from workouts.”

→ Quick rejuvenation

  • Stretch in the shower
  • Move around and stretch during the day—even if only for a minute or two at a time
  • Prop your feet up on the desk during a conference call to elevate the legs
  • Perform the “legs up the wall” pose with your rear end as close to the wall as it can comfortably go. Hold for five minutes.
  • Wear compression socks/sleeves under your work clothing (ladies: compression socks make great boot socks)
  • Foam roll your hips and thighs at lunch break, or in the evenings while spending time with your family
  • Ice areas that are tight or inflamed

Recovery is critical and can be simple—no matter how busy you are. It’s about finding ways to make it part of your routine, just like swimming, biking, and running.


Swim for Smiles Children’s Triathlon

CHAPEL HILL – Youth from all over will once again raise money for the NC Children’s Hospital next Sunday in the seventh annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon.

Swim for Smiles was co-founded in 2005 by Gary Kayye and Laura Gondek. Kayye said that he and his daughter Annabel founded SFS as a way to give back to the hospital.

“She became a year around swimmer and is now hoping to possibly swim in college one day, and she developed a passion for swimming and sort of married her passion for swimming with wanting to give back to the hospital, and that’s what ended up becoming Swim for Smiles Foundation,” Kayye said.

Before Swim for Smiles started, there were no triathlons in which only kids could participate. Now a USA Triathlon sanctioned race, Kayye said that everything came together just right when beginning Swim for Smiles.

“Well I’ll marry the passion for my sport that I adopted, with the passion to give back to the children’s hospital and let’s create a children’s triathlon” Keyye said “and really we were at the right place at the right time because at the time USA triathlon was specifically looking to build up the sport among youths and they helped us establish our race and one thing led to another.”

A few years ago, SFS held the largest youth triathlon in the country. As it continues to grow, SFS has moved to the larger venue at Briar Chapel to accommodate more participants and a wider course.  Kayye said that he hopes SFS will one day grow to compare to the popularity of Dance Marathon.

“I would love to think that one day we’ll be as big as the dance marathon, but we are really happy with where we are right now, we’ve enjoyed really nice growth, in 2011 we were the largest kids triathlon in the United States, second largest in the world” Keyye commented.

This year SFS is having a larger finish line festival with food trucks, Juggle Boy, bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, and face painting.

Registration for the triathlon will only be open for a couple more days if you are interested in participating in the race. You can enter in the Promo Code WCHL to receive 25% off the registration for the race.

SFS is also always looking for more volunteers to help with the events.  To register for the race or to find our about volunteering click here.