It’s no secret that my triathlon training is taking a priority ’round here these days, and I had started with my new coach back in December, before we went to Mauritius, The Seychelles, and Dubai. I had asked to start with her after the trip, but she suggested before as it would have put me well into spring before I got into the swing of things.
(I’m now very glad I listened to her–I’m so thrilled I had that extra time, as I definitely needed it to make some necessary adjustments to prep for more intensive training!).
She set out a great schedule for me while I was away, that included lots of short workouts and options. And I got a lot done while I was away, while not feeling at any time like it was “interrupting” my vacation or taking away from the trip or time with my husband (who joined in on nearly all of my workouts). Here’s what I learned!
Flexibility is Key: We got stuck in Dubai on the way over, and the short run I had planned just wasn’t going to happen in the economy hotel we got put up in. So it didn’t. And that’s ok. I added a run in on another day when I couldn’t bike. Sometimes being active is more important than worrying about the activity; sometimes life gets in the way. While flexibility is NOT my forte (and that is putting it lightly), traveling helps me just move with the flow.
Keep Things Short: My husband is always up for a run under an hour, but not one that lasts longer. I wanted to be sure we were spending time together (that is part of why we travel, after all), so scheduling a few half hour runs we could accomplish on the beach or together at the hotel gym was perfect. I got a quick workout in and we got to spend that time together. Even sliding 2 shorter workouts in during the day, when we had a pause, was easier than one longer workout.
When All Fails, Work That Core: There were 2 days where I didn’t want to run more than I had, there was no bike, and the ocean was too rough to swim in. Those 10-30 minute core workouts left us both with sore ribs, but were well worth it! A strong core pays dividends, and core workouts require…a towel, a piece of ground pretty much anywhere, some gumption to get through them, and probably some swear words.
Temper Expectations: Hotel gyms are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they are lovely, as advertised. Sometimes, they are a shoebox with no working equipment. How long has that treadmill really been out of service…? You are on vacation, you are not trying to get the best workout of your life. No really, you aren’t. Don’t let a measly piece of equipment ruin your mood. How stupid and self-absorbed does it sound to say “I had a horrible day in The Seychelles because the bike at the gym was broken”? Exactly.
[Side note: I didn’t say this! Promise. But a few years ago it would have been uncomfortably close to the truth. Heather, meet big picture. Big picture, smack Heather.]
Know When No is Good: Jet lag, airplane food, and recirculated air are pretty much the triumvirate of germ summoning. Hey, cold virus! Over here, ME ME ME! Don’t be that dedicated triathlete who “needs” to get a workout in so badly they ignore the obvious fatigue and exhaustion. Sleep, a healthy meal, and lots of water will do more for you long-term if travel has gotten the better of you. I hate admitting this more than anyone, but it is nearly always true. And, if you are trying to reset your clock, try a long walk rather than a crammed higher-intensity session.
While I know that heading to a far-off island chain during the peak weeks of Ironman training is pretty much idiotic if I want to prep myself as best as possible, there are plenty of times during the training season when a vacation is easy to fit in or actually should be prescribed. With some common sense and flexibility, I’ve found I can blend travel and training with mostly success.
Any other tips out there from frequent travelers?