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Triathlon Helped This Busy Attorney Find Balance

This busy intellectual property attorney doesn’t have the time to train. She makes the time anyway.

Don’t tell Priya Sinha you “don’t have time” for exercise, because she’ll be quick to say that’s exactly why you should do it. As an intellectual property attorney with her own firm, Sinha’s days are jam-packed with clients ranging from start-ups to large corporations, helping to protect trademarks and trade secrets on everything from convenience-store wares to technology used on the space shuttle. It’s a lot, and she really could use a few more hours in the day. So why, then, does she block off two hours each day for swim, bike, and run workouts?

“My job requires me to juggle projects, people and problems while learning new technologies. My work day is usually hectic, and often I am moving from fire to fire,” said Sinha, of Edmonds, Washington. “But triathlon is different. I have a schedule I can count on; that part I really enjoy. I get up and spend the morning maturing in one of the disciplines of triathlon before my day starts.”

Priya Sinha
Priya Sinha hopes to complete an Ironman for her 55th birthday.

Self-care comes in many forms, and for Sinha, it comes in consistency. Checking the box on her training plan each morning allows her to get into the right mindset for the day ahead. “This sport activates parts of my brain that allows me to be creative, problem-solve, and experience success and failure. That’s something that I really have to work on—it doesn’t come easy to me, like math does.”

As a first-generation American born in India, Sinha describes her upbringing as “all about school, career, success—not sports.” She first earned a degree in nuclear engineering before moving on to law school and founding her own firm. It wasn’t until her late 40s that she learned about triathlon through her friends. “They had all finished Ironman. I’m one of those people who look at others doing crazy stuff, and my first reaction is ‘I want to do that, too!’”

By doing the “crazy stuff” of triathlon, she has found an athletic side she didn’t know was possible. Sinha doesn’t claim to be a natural athlete, but instead an analytical one: “[Before law], I was an engineer. That portion of my brain helps me understand the mechanics of my movements and all the numbers (which I love).” 

Though she could use more hours in the day, Sinha says her work helps her be a better triathlete, and triathlon helps her be better at work. Because each element of her life enhances (and is enhanced) by the others, it’s possible to keep a healthy balance of work, life, family, and training. “I’ve done the sprint and Olympic distances, and was supposed to do a 70.3 in April [the race was cancelled because of COVID]. My goal is to do a full Ironman for my 55th birthday. I’ve only said that to my coach. I guess I’ve now said it out loud to the world.”

A Day In The Life of Priya Sinha

Priya Sinha shares a typical workday schedule.

4:00 a.m. Alarm goes off

4:30 a.m. Swim or bike workout

6:30 a.m. Grab the dog for a walk and get coffee

7:00 a.m. Shower, make breakfast, make lunch (I’m never organized enough to do it the evening before), check emails, take calls with clients on the East Coast or in other parts of the world.

7:45 a.m. Pre-COVID, out the door to the office—now, open my computer and start the day

11:00 a.m. First lunch at my desk

1:00 p.m. Second lunch at my desk

3:00 p.m. Sneak out of the office for a run or strength workout, followed by more work

6:00 p.m. Have dinner at home with family (I usually meal plan and cook over the weekend, so this is easy)

7:00 p.m. Take the dog for a walk 

7:45 p.m. Wrap up final work projects

8:30 p.m. Wind down, read a book, and asleep by 9:30 or 10. (Note. I almost never make it to 10. I have to put this disclaimer in, because the people who know me will make fun of me.)