There was a recent TripAdvisor survey done on how US travelers keep fit when on a traveling vacation. Of course, this caught my eye.
As would be expected, many folks try to maintain healthy habits while vacationing. Some do it to maintain a level of fitness, some to take advantage of the gift of free time and many simply want to avoid vacation weight gain. There are plenty of opportunities available to vacationers when it comes to healthy vacations.
But there are other folks who have specific athletic goals (ie running a10K or a marathon; finishing a sprint triathlon or an Ironman). For these athletes, it takes a bit more planning to stay on-track while still enjoying a vacation.
I am a firm believer in making your training fit into your life, rather than your life into your training. Unless you’re a professional athlete and someone is paying you to do your sport, you’re far better off to put your job, family and vacations ahead of your training. That being said, here are some thoughts on vacationing as a “normal person” when you have a goal race in your future:
- If possible, schedule your vacation the week following your event. You’ll be free to simply relax – you’ve earned the right.
- If your event is further out than six weeks, don’t worry about any specific training. Just get about thirty minutes of any type of exercise each day, which will provide your exercise “fix” and keep you fit enough to jump right back into your training schedule when you return home.
- If your event is within the next six weeks, plan ahead. Research the area you’ll be in. Don’t worry about dragging your bike along, but find good running areas, what’s available at the hotel gym, where can you swim, etc. Then figure out what activities most closely mimic your sport (ie. the elliptical trainer in the hotel gym is good training for a running race; hiking is good for running or biking events, etc). Plan on thirty to sixty minutes of early morning training each day. You can have this out of the way before everyone else gets out of bed.
- Most all restaurants will fix special orders. Whether you’re six weeks or six months out from your event, you don’t want to come home larger than you left. Ask for sauces on the side and skip the desserts. But wine is good for any athlete, so enjoy!
- By all means, don’t stress about missing workouts. There are plenty of cases where an athlete, having missed key training, pulled off the race of his life. Sometimes, a relaxing vacation is the best race day preparation. But you still don’t need the desserts!
Have fun on your holiday!