First, an administrative note: Pure Run classes are cancelled for Friday, May 13th and Tuesday, May 17th.
I’ll be back in town for class on Friday, May 20th.
Now, onto this week’s post (a fitting topic as E-Bomb and I are traveling to Ontario)
Training while Traveling
We all get called away from home at various points throughout the year, for business trips, family vacations, or (like me) out-of-province weddings. Assuming that your trip is not a “train-cation” or other form of training camp, what can you do to minimize the loss of fitness while you’re away from your regular routine?
Before you go
Let’s face it, it’s hard to get out for a run or go to the gym when you’re not in your home environment. Motivation to go do a workout can be non-existent when you have business meetings to attend, family dinners to help organize, and beaches to nap on. Before you leave for your trip, here are some basic tips to help you get your training in.
Don’t set your expectations too high
Treat your time away as a recovery period, where you’ll do minimal exercise, but let your body recover and your mental batteries recharge.
Make a plan, and include realistic goals
A half-hour run done every morning is pretty doable, even on the most time-crunched schedule. Pair it with a half-hour walk after dinner to help keep your limbs lose and to promote recovery
Research your facilities
Where can you train while you’re away? Are there parks to run in, a local pool where you can go swimming? Finding out answers ahead of time will make it easier to plan your workouts, which will dramatically increase the chances that you’ll actually do them
Remember to pack your gear
If you’re like me when I travel, there’s not a whole ton of extra room for workout equipment, but without a pair of runners you’re definitely not going to go for a run
Buy some recovery equipment
Especially if you’re traveling by plane, a pair of compression socks can help alleviate blood pooling in your legs and feet during travel. Also, sports recovery equipment like The Stick or Trigger Point are small enough to take with you, and can help you work out some of those sore spots while in your hotel room.
While you’re there
Once you’re established at your home-away-from-home, try get into the exercise mindset as soon as you can. This is the best way to ensure that you get at least some exercise done while traveling, and can help minimize any loss in fitness.
If you have the time, get out for a walk or jog right away, and start to take in your surroundings. If you researched some likely workout locations while you were still at home, try to scout them out, before your travel itinerary prohibits you from taking the time to explore and creating a mental map.
Aim for shorter, intense workouts
Chances are your free time to squeeze in a workout will be limited, especially if you need to factor in time to shower and change before your next business meeting. Focus on high-intensity interval workout, in order to make the most of the time you have. Running laps around an empty parking lot, or incorporating tempo-paced pickups are great ways to raise your heart rate fast.
Watch what you eat
If you’re working out less than you normally would be, then your calorie intake should be decreased as well in order to maintain your current body weight. Additionally, when we are rushed during travel, we are less likely to take the time to make wholesome, healthy choices in what we eat. A lot of the time, decadent food is part of the experience of travel, and this certainly should not be missed. Just keep it all in balance, and sometimes, choose the salad.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Bottled, filtered, carbonated, or from the tap, just make sure that you keep up on your water intake. This is especially important if you’re traveling to a location in a different climate. If you’re having difficulty with the taste of local water, a splash of fruit juice can go a long way to helping you meet your daily hydration needs.
When you get back
Sometimes, try as we might, it’s just impossible to maintain even a minimum level of activity while traveling out of town. Here are some tips to help speed your transition back to your regular schedule.
Get a good night’s sleep
Even if you haven’t flown across time zones and don’t have to cope with jet lag, travel can put high mental and physical stresses on our bodies. Including a single good night’s rest in your own bed when you get home (either by going to bed early, or by letting yourself wake up without an alarm clock) can go a long way to getting you back into your at-home routine.
Get back to your workout schedule as quickly as possible
While going out for a run the moment you open the door and put your bags down might be the last thing on your mind, don’t put off your first workout for too long either. Whether coming back from a relaxing vacation or a stressful business trip, it’s very easy for us to keep putting off our workouts while we take “recovery days” from travel. But, if you make an effort to get out for a run within 24 hours of returning home, you might find it easier than you thought to get your exercise back on track.
For the first few days, don’t push too hard
If you succeed in getting back at it quickly, make sure to re-introduce the more strenuous elements of running slowly, especially long-duration runs and speedwork. Remember, our bodies lose fitness fairly quickly after periods of inactivity. Don’t get discouraged, though, if your fitness has dropped from its pre-travel levels, for with a few days of consistent work, it will return.
Also, if you travel anywhere really warm or exotic, it’s definitely bad form to upload them to Facebook and show everyone the fabulous places where you got to go running!