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Finding your Balance

Finding the ideal work-life balance is often hard enough, but when you want to include training for an event into this equation, sometimes you can find yourself far from balanced.

Long hours at the office, weekends away from family, and sacrificing commitments for long training sessions, can all become part of the event life.

Achieving a work-life-training balance can be a real challenge. Ideally splitting your time and energy between the demands of these three important areas can be overwhelming, stressful and put increased pressure on your daily life.

By finding our best balance we can avoid burnout, improve our mental and physical well-being, become more productive in training and in our work, and take control back of our lives.

We caught up with Pip Meo – professional triathlete, fulltime worker and social butterfly, to understand how she manages to find the balance.

For those reading who haven’t yet heard about you, give us a quick rundown on who you are, what you are up to these days, and plans from here? 

PIP: I am a  former New Zealand Football Fern turned professional Ironman triathlete. I recently won my first Ultra Marathon in Brisbane. My eyes are now set on competiting in both triathlon and Ultra marathons throughout New Zealand summer.


What does your current week look like from a work/training point of view?

PIP: My day typically starts at 4:30 am. I have a coffee and start working my way through emails. Leave for training around 5:15 am and finish at around 7:15 am. I start work around 7:30 so have mastered the training to shower into work clothes transition. I work in a managerial role in specialised nutrition and manage a team of 5. When I have to travel my training can start as early as 3:30 am to fit it all in. After work, it’s normally back out for a run or jump on the bike. Sitting down for dinner at 7 and asleep on the couch at 8:30 pm.

How do you ensure your personal life eg family/friends etc is not sacrificed when training for an event?

PIP: I think learning how to balance family life and training is completely up to the individual. If you are completing 90% of your training every week and need to drop a session for an event there will be little change in your fitness. If you know you have a big work week coming up don’t be afraid to pull back or change your key sessions to a less stressful day. Trying to do both at 100% is more likely to harm you than hurt you in the long term. If I’m in an important phase of training I make it work if it means getting up earlier, I do it no excuses. Those are the sessions you always remember when the pain starts to hit in races. Most importantly don’t get too hung up on your training or racing- there will always be another day and another event.

How important is it to include rest and recovery/time out from training, into your weeks?

PIP: I always prefer to be training than resting so when it comes to tapering for a race, I find a coach most beneficial. My coach Andrew Mckay from Boost Coaching sets out my two-week pre-race taper. Understanding the why and doing enough training to still make you feel on top of your game is key. By the end of the taper, you should be chomping at the bit to race.


What is your #1 piece of advice you would give to someone trying to juggle work/life while training for their first event?

PIP: Be very self-aware of how you’re feeling. Pick and choose where to invest your energy. Take 5 mins in the morning to plan and set goals for the day. Pick and choose where you are going to invest your energy for the day. Be very self-aware of your feeling and work with what you’ve got!