When people hear that I drive a truck and do triathlons, their first response is usually, “How do you do it?”. At first, it is hard to image doing all that swimming, biking and running as a truck driver. “Where do you train? When do you train? How do you do it?”
Well, it starts in the mind. Or maybe not the mind, but somewhere inside me their is this desire. At first, it was just the desire to stay fit, mostly because I am somewhat vain and I like to look good. Once I committed to “looking good”, working out while driving long haul was just what I had to do. It started with just “15 minutes a day”. It didn’t matter where or when, but somehow I was going to stop for 15 minutes and workout.
Within a year, I had perfected the high-intensity 15 to 20 minute workout and I was in pretty good shape. I had the experience of routinely working out everyday. It became a habit. I was then able to grow that habit, realizing that I could reasonably stretch workouts to last up to an hour if i wanted.
I was always intrigued by the Ironman competition and admired triathletes and now that I was a “fitness trucker”, I thought what better way to prove my fitness than to do a triathlon. So again from inside I had a desire and made a commitment.
I already had a fold-up mountain bike (Motague Paratrooper) on the truck and got fitted for some running shoes (Brooks Ghost 3). I can run or bike just about anywhere. I also already had a wetsuit (Desoto T1) so all I needed to do was find water to swim. So here is how I do it now:
1. I use www.beginnertriathlete.com to plan and monitor my training.
2. If I can start driving after 9 am, then I will train up to two hours before I hit the road. I like training in the morning to avoid the daytime heat and I feel better knowing I have cranked my metabolism and dont have to worry about finding time to train later in the day.
3.I will try to combine two disciplines in the morning: biking and either swimming or brick running.
4. I will use the GPS on my phone to see if there is either a lake with a beach or a YMCA within 10 miles and call ahead to see if there is a place where I can park the truck. If there is nowhere to park the truck, then I will ride to the lake or YMCA, do my swim workout, then ride back. 10 miles ride out, 45 minute swim (about 3000 yds) and 10 mile ride back to truck is standard.
5. If there is no place to swim, I will do a brick run off the bike. Usually this is no more than 4 miles.
6. If I am short on time, I will do one workout in the morning less than 1 hour and find time somewhere else in the day to do the other workout, usually a run. Often this is after I am done driving and usually before the sun sets. I don’t like to train at night but on occasion I will.
7. Often, I will bike or run while waiting to get loaded or unloaded, and I do my trip planning to arrive at places early to do so.
8. Since swimming is my strength, I don’t need to train it so much and as it requires more effort and planning (finding places to park a truck at YMCA’s is an adventure!), I only swim twice a week during triathlon season.
9. Once a week I will do a long bike (over 30 miles) and a long run (8 to 12 miles).
10. After every training session and whenever I have to drive for several hours, I wear Compressport F 1 full length compression tights to help my legs recover and increase circulation while driving.
And that’s pretty much how I do it!