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A Brief Complaint From a Salty Triathlete: You Can’t Do It All, so Do Some of It Well

Stop trying to cook fancy, complicated dinners, and other advice that will help you simplify your triathlife.

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Stop trying to cook fancy, complicated dinners, and other advice that will help you simplify your triathlife. Look for a new “Salty Triathlete” from Kelly O’Mara every month in Triathlete magazine.

People always ask me, “You’re so impressive, how do you do it all?” Because I am very impressive. What I tell them is this: The only way to do the things you care about well is to stop doing the things you don’t care about—which you were probably doing badly anyway.

Stop trying to cook fancy, complicated dinners. Nail down a system for food, so it takes you 15 minutes max to make a meal. They do amazing things with frozen ready-to-eat meals these days. Stop mincing garlic, for the love of brick workouts. That stuff comes pre-chopped. Admit to yourself that your house isn’t going to be in Architectural Digest. I’m sure it could be. I’m sure it’s very nice, if you cared about those things, but you don’t, because you’re trying to race triathlon and you have to pick. You have a limited amount of time; don’t spend it at IKEA.

Here are the things I prioritize: training and relationships. Once you decide what things you care about, you can work on doing those things as well and as efficiently as you can. And you have to stop worrying about everything else.

If one of the keys to getting faster is just to decide you will not skip workouts—which isn’t necessarily always a healthy life choice, though it does take the question out of things—then how do you have any time left for friends or your significant other? Double up! Hang out with your friends on your bike. Plan race trips and training with your spouse. Maximize your off-season to get in your social activities and beach vacations.

There are a limited number of things you can do in life. That’s not pessimistic; it’s science. If you try to ignore science by cramming more than 24 hours worth of stuff into 24 hours, you can make yourself as miserable as a cramping, dehydrated Ironman at mile 23 of the run. So how do you do it all? You don’t. Put all your effort into the things you care about. And simplify everything else.

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