This is a topic I feel has not been given much attention in the mainstream training literature: training enough to be competitive while holding a physically laborious job.
In college I was riding 16-20 hours a week and managed to upgrade to Cat 3 in two seasons; last August I graduated and signed up for a year of service with AmeriCorps, wherein my day-to-day tasks involve a heavy amount of walking, digging, lifting, and general physical work. I have been attempting to maintain a 8-10hr/week training schedule, but even this is a struggle as given the nature of the work I perform, I am often left too exhausted at the end of the day to perform any beneficial training. A weekend, such as this one, where my off-days are stormed out, I can pretty much kiss any hope of meeting my goals goodbye and resign myself to running and indoor rock climbing.
Has anyone here successfully maintained a training regimen while holding a manual labor job? How did you go about it?