Ultramarathoner and Ironman triathlete Graham Cooper is a 38-year-old father of two who lives in the Bay Area and holds down a full-time job 500 miles away in San Diego. His athletic accomplishments are impressive enough, but it’s his ability to find the time to train between commuting to work during the week and being a weekend dad that makes you think he must be a robot who doesn’t sleep. Turns out he’s not; he’s just ruthlessly disciplined about cutting out every unnecessary activity out of his day in order to log his training miles. Competitor magazine reports:
When Cooper is in serious training mode, a few luxuries fall by the wayside.
“I don’t watch TV. I don’t socialize much. I don’t read as much as I’d like. I don’t do long lunches and I don’t drink. When I’m training, I get about six hours of sleep a night. When you’re getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 and starting your day with a workout, you get a lot done.”
Cooper starts from a thesis that most of us have an inefficiency in the system. The key, he says, “is to squeeze as much of the slop out of our lives as we can.”
(Emphasis mine.) Now, I love long lunches and watching TV, so this sounds like a spartan existence devoid of pleasure. But the key is that Cooper can’t not train. His wife says:
“I know how happy running makes Graham. When he’s not working out, he is a nightmare. He’s grumpy and preoccupied. When he is working out, he is relaxed and happy. Running is good for him, it’s good for me and it’s good for our family. It may be tough sometimes to juggle it all but it’s definitely worth all the effort.”
Full article’s entitled Two for One.