How to Get Your Training in While Traveling
The demands of life make keeping a regular training routine difficult. Being away from home, whether for work or pleasure, adds a degrees of complexity. Here are a few things I’ve learned that make sticking to your training plan away from home not feel like a burden.
When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I played way too many video games. One day, I discovered my mom had hidden the controllers from me. In a fit of passion and rage, I packed a bag and left home. I made it to the end of the driveway before contemplating the difficulty of life on the road – I’d need food, water, shelter… a Nintendo. Defeated, I came back in the house – facing the alternative was just too depressing.
Back then, I left home without a plan. Since I’m away from home a few days every month, I’ve had to enact simple plans to replicate my regular routines, running routes and diet. Last year I was traveling almost every other week during a stretch during my marathon training.
Whether you’re a once a year Griswold family vacationer, a member of the Million Mile club, or somewhere in between (like me), these four things will come in handy far beyond the driveway.
It all comes down to planning!
1. Know your Schedule
If this seems overly simple, it is. As you’re planning your trip, study your training plan and trip itinerary. I schedule time for my runs (distance, speed, etc) in my Google calendar. I then put in the relevant items for the conference/meeting/family thing. This give me a schedule I can follow instead of guessing.
Stay flexible. I’ll switch an easy day with a speed day if the [other] schedule is more conducive. This isn’t a good long term strategy, but if the alternative is not running.
2. Pack the right Gear
When I travel, all I take for running is one set of dry-wick shorts and shirt, socks, shoes, hat, and sunglasses. A friend of mine taught me a trick – when you come in from your run, walk into the shower with your running gear on! Don’t be dumb – take off your shoes. Use the hotel soap and wash yourself down with clothes on. Rinse, wring and hang to dry. (Access to a washing machine is ideal).
If I’m going to a place where the weather is fickle (hello Seattle), or traveling in spring or fall, I add arm warmers, a running vest, long socks and running gloves. These items are versatile, compact, and provide plenty of extra coverage. Running in winter weather is a post for another day.
3. Map your Run
There’s nothing worse then showing up for a presentation 30 minutes late because you got lost on the winding hills in eastern Pennsylvania (true story). My Garmin Forerunner tells me how far I’ve gone, but has yet to tell me when I need to turn around. I like mapmyrun.com or Google maps. Localeikki will help you too.
Running can be a fantastic way to explore a new city or countryside.
4. Eat the right Food
I have a little routine when I get to the airport. As soon as I get through security, I buy a liter of water and power bar. Why? Because you never know when your next meal is going to be! Traveling dehydrates you – drinking enough fluids is critical. Having a snack on hand will also prevent you from being that cranky guy who demands another pack of peanuts. I also pack a small shaker bottle with some protein packets. Additionally, bring enough snacks to last a day or two (until you can get to a store).
Traveling while training doesn’t have to set you back. With a good travel plan, you won’t end up like that little kid at the end of the driveway. Instead, it can invigorate you and force you to creatively engage your training.
What sorts of things you have done to keep up with your running schedule away from home?