This past week I spent a week traveling. I flew to Minneapolis, drove to Iowa, drove back up to central Minnesota, then back to Minneapolis to fly home. We were already planning on going back to Minnesota to visit my family, but we had to adjust our travel plans to head out a few days earlier and drive down to Iowa for a funeral.
Needless to say…it was a lot of travel.
As I did my best to continue eating healthy foods and getting my miles in, it hit me just how difficult it is to avoid disrupting your running while traveling.
Traveling can be hard on your health and fitness routine, and it can be even more problematic for your running schedule. Usually you don’t have access to a kitchen when traveling, so you don’t have as much control over what goes into your nutrition. You probably spend significantly more meals eating out than you would at home. Even if you aren’t eating out, you’re probably enjoying more snacks and maybe a few adult beverages.
It might be hard to find access to safe running routes or a treadmill. Access to a gym can be tricky too. Some hotel chains, like Hilton (contains referral link), are awesome and have fitness centers in every hotel. This makes it easier to hop on a treadmill if it’s right in your hotel. But what if you’re staying with family? Do they have roads around their house you can run on? Is it safe to run in that area?
It is so weird to get out of your normal routine and away from your normal routes, but it can be fun too!
Is there a local gym where you can get a day or week pass? Minnesota was way too freaking cold (like -15) all week to try running outside…so I got a week pass to the local gym and made friends with the treadmill for a few days.
Whether you are traveling for work, pleasure, or visiting family, here are 3 tips I used to stick to my running while traveling:
Decide what your goal is before you leave
You need to set a goal for the trip, or you will fail to meet it every time. It’s hard to control yourself on the group dinner outing and avoid eating too much chips and salsa unless you have a specific reason to do so.
Do you want to hit specific nutritional numbers each day?
Make sure you track your calories—all of them.
Understand when meals out or adult drinks will be, so you can develop your game plan ahead of time. Go to the grocery store and stock up on some healthy snacks so you aren’t tempted to eat out every time your stomach rumbles. If you eat out, split your meal in half and safe the rest for another day. You can save the bloating that night PLUS save the cost of buying another meal the next day. Keeping an watch on how much you eat is extremely important to stay on track when traveling.
What about getting your scheduled workouts in? Or running a certain number of miles during the trip?
This is something I like to focus on because I want to stay on track with my miles and workout plan. Also, it is so much easier to just stay in the habit of running than it is to take a week off and try to get started again.
Be happy with getting something done, even if it isn’t your most intense workout of all time.
Build flexibility into your workout schedule
Let’s face it. You can only get up so early to run before showering and heading to the airport. 3am is not a fun time to be awake. You need sleep too, so maybe the airport day isn’t the best day to wake up that early.
On the flip side, planes get delayed. You can try to schedule your workout after you arrive at your destination, but I’ve found that it’s usually best to make sure your rest days and travel days line up with each other.
Give yourself enough room in your training plan for the week that you can move your workouts around if something comes up, because things usually “come up” when you’re traveling. Planning in flexibility will help you keep running while traveling.
Know which workouts for the week are non-negotiable. For me, my long run was a must. Even on the “dreadmill,” I wanted to ensure I did my long run to maintain my fitness in an otherwise hectic week. The training plan for my spring half marathon actually started on the last day of travel. It was important to me that I maintain the solid foundation I’ve built this winter so I can meet my goals this year.
By building flexibility in ahead of time, you are more likely to be successful.
Consider making your travel week an “easy” week or a “step back” week.
When you travel, you usually have other priorities such as family, business, or vacationing to attend to. Unless it is a racecation, you probably won’t be focused on running the whole time. This isn’t the time to push your fitness limits.
Travel combines less sleep than normal, immunity challenges from being exposed to more pathogens than normal, and less than ideal nutrition.
Allow your body to focus more on recovery while you’re away from home.
How do you stay on track when traveling?
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About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>