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Got 20 Minutes? Learn How to Master the “Quickie” Workout.

By Peter Foster | Sept. 21, 2020, 3:17 p.m. (ET)

Your workout plan calls for a 45-minute swim, 10k run or spin session on the bike. But your Zoom call ran late, you need to pick up the kids from Grandma’s and you only have about 20 minutes. What can you do that would be time-efficient and beneficial?

Let’s start with the less obvious: meditation and napping.

As simple as laying on the floor, closing your eyes, and thinking of nothing. Mediation’s easy, right? As soon as you shut your eyes, those lists will come flashing into view. Relax and let them go. Just enjoy the simple pleasure of absolutely nothing. It will help clear your mind and relax the body. Perfect for recovery.

Yes, napping is the new training. Your body repairs and rebuilds while you sleep, so give it an extra boost with a 10- to 20-minute nap. Longer than that becomes deeper sleep, and you may have trouble waking up or sleeping later. Some of the greatest characters and high performers in history were famous nappers — Winston Churchill, for one. Not a great triathlete, but always full of energy.

Now for the more familiar: core, strength, stretching, walking and time management.

Core and Strength Exercises:
You can do planks, sit-ups and push-ups in your pajamas, sweats or work clothes, which are often the same thing these days. You could do planks at your morning coffee break, sit-ups before lunch and push-ups before you head out to get the kids or run your errands. Each Iasts only a few minutes. Add some wall squats or standing squats and you’ve got yourself a full body strength session completed for the day.

Stretching or Yoga:
Yoga and stretching don’t need to take the form of an hour-long session in the yoga or Pilates studio. At any time of the day, you can do ome simple forward folds to loosen the hamstrings, adopt the sleeping baby pose to stretch out the lower back, or do downward dogs to work those legs, hips and shoulders. The figure-4 stretch is always good to loosen up the piriformis, a source of problems for many runners and cyclists. Everybody has their favorite muscle group that always tightens up — work on that area and enjoy a relaxing stretch for 5-10 minutes. 

Brisk Walk:
A 10- to 20-minute walk can be a great way to get the heart pumping, breathe in some fresh air and mentally unload. The psychological benefits are as valuable as any aerobic training you might be missing. 

Go Early or Stay Late:
If you find that you are frequently time-crunched, then take a look at your daily schedule and life commitments to see how you could better balance your priorities. If you are overloaded with work, family or life issues, then take the proper time to take care of them — triathlon will always be there when you are ready. If it’s a time management issue, then maybe get out of bed 30 minutes earlier and get the workout done before everything else comes crashing in for the day. If you are a night owl, tack your workout onto the end of the day and enjoy the evening — just make sure you have proper lighting and a familiar route so you can ride or run safely in the dark.

Peter Foster is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach with TenWestTriathlon.com, helping novices and age groupers get the most satisfaction and enjoyment from their triathlon experience, with dozens of athletes attending his camps, clinics and online coaching. He can be reached at pfoster@tenwesttriathlon.com

 

Peter Foster

Peter Foster is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach with TenWestTriathlon.com, helping novices and age groupers get the most satisfaction and enjoyment from their triathlon experience, with dozens of athletes attending his camps, clinics and online coaching. He can be reached at pfoster@tenwesttriathlon.com