Fit For Travel
Traveling can wreak havoc on your training. Whether it’s business trips or family vacations, we all have busy lives. It’s so easy to go into these trips with good intentions only to return feeling like you’ve lost your fitness, gained five pounds, and now you need to start over. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips to help you stay on track while traveling:
Research the Area
This sounds obvious, but you need to plan ahead and try to pick a hotel and location that has the amenities you need to get your workouts in without too much extra travel. Do they have a lap pool or access to open water? Is there space to run, or is their an exercise room with treadmills? Can you travel with your bike, rent one, or is there access to a cycling studio? If you try to do this after you already booked a place to stay or once you get to your destination it is often too late. You either end up without access to training equipment and facilities or spend so much time trying to find them you run out of time for the actual workout.
Your first choice is always a lap pool or open water swimming. Find a pool or open water swim group. Know the location and swim times so that you don’t show up at a time you can’t swim. There is nothing worse than showing up at a pool only to find out the lanes are closed for a fitness class or swim team practice. But what do you do when neither of these are available which is often the case? Invest in a tether($20-200) and tie yourself up to the side of the pool or to the pool ladder and swim in place. This allows you to swim in almost any pool no matter the size. You can do a lot in a 20 minute continuous tethered swim. A third option is swim cords (Swim Cordz), perhaps a last resort if you can’t find water. Try 10 x 1 minute on the stretch cords, focused on a high elbow catch, strong pull, and finish.
Running is almost always the easiest to get in. You can run almost anywhere and most hotels have a treadmill. It’s a good idea to make sure your hotel has more than one treadmill however just in case one is out of order or in use. Look for running clubs in the area you are traveling. They often have group runs during the week or routes listed on their website. If you meet up with these groups you can let them lead the way.
This is often the toughest while traveling, but there are still some good options. It’s often hard to fly with your bike when on business or family vacations. This leaves you using the stationary bike in the hotel, renting a bike or finding a cycling studio. If you are driving, take your own bike if you are going to be in an area where cycling is popular. Suunto’s Movescount has an amazing heat map feature that can show you the most popular areas for cycling, running and even swimming. It also can show you routes that already exist in a given area. You can use this to help plan your routes or find a hotel in close proximity to these areas. It can help you train like a local! Check the area for local bike shops and check their website for group rides or cycling routes. You can also look for cycling studios.
Make a Plan
Go into your trip with a plan. Know what you are going to try to do each day for exercise and how you plan to get it in. Knowing what exercise you plan to do, when you plan to do it, and where it will take place will make it much more likely to happen. Part of the plan might be trying to line up a trip with a rest week. This takes the pressure off knowing you’re not trying to get in key sessions.
Set realistic expectations
If you are traveling with family, make sure your support system is on board and know that you might need to get up early as not to disrupt your family trip. If you are traveling for business, schedule your training as you would an important meeting. Take into account post-work festivities which could railroad your training. It might mean skipping cocktail hour or arriving late to a dinner.
If you know your trip is going to be action-packed with business or family obligations, try to cut back on the volume, but keep up the repetition. Often athletes that can’t fit in their 60 min run will opt not to do it and push it off to another day. Remember a 10-30 min run every day for 3-4 days is so much better than not running at all and probably better than just one really good run. The same goes for swimming and biking.
Simple is Best
Sometimes it makes the most sense to just plan to run and work on your core while traveling. Again, plan ahead, get in some solid swim and bike sessions before you leave and just focus on the run and your core while traveling. All you need is running attire and running shoes which are easily packed. Find a core routine that is 10-15 minutes in length that does not require any equipment and can be done on the floor in your hotel room if needed.