Tips for Training When on Holidays

IMG_0734Many of us find it a challenge to maintain the training regime when on holidays. Jet lag, new locations, site seeing, alcohol consumption and generally just having new and exciting distractions can play havoc on your motivation. It’s often a case of going away with the best intentions of keeping the ball rolling, only to find yourself spending more time at the bar than training. There’s nothing wrong with having a break or taking it easy when you’re abroad. That’s what holidays are for. But if you have a longer-term goal you’re working towards, then it’s important to keep focused. Here’s a few tips to help maintain the training rage on your next vacation.
Train first thing in the morning
Motivation to run after a day of seeing the sites is always tough. So get up early, beat the traffic and heat, and get your run out of the way. You’ll feel refreshed and relieved for having done it.
Get your partner in on the act
Whether they run part of your journey, take a walk while you’re training or simply meet you at the end point to take a few photos, by getting your partner or travel companion in on the act you’ll have more motivation to do it.
Plan an event as part of your holiday
It’s always great to take part in races while away from home. There’s something special about getting out there and racing on foreign soil. Plus of course the roads will generally be clear and there will be aid stations along the way. A good way to look at it is to make the race a hard training run.
gymUse the hotel gym or try circuits
Do something different and hit the hotel gym for a cross training session or some weights. It’s easy to smash out 40 minutes of circuit training of an evening before dinner or to tap out a bike session as a way to do some added training on top of the running. Gyms are also good when you’re stuck in a polluted or busy city and finding a place to run is hard.
Site-see on the run
Create a route that allows you to take in a bunch of landmarks or sites. It’s pretty cool to hit the pavement and beat the tourists to major landmarks around town. It also makes for awesome training photos!
Train short and sharp instead of long
Long runs are the hardest thing to do when you’re on holiday. Apart from being time consuming it can be difficult to find places to rack up the miles. Also, most days you’ll be on your legs for many hours anyway, so it’s not as necessary to do long runs. Instead, do interval sessions or threshold work. You’ll get great training value in minimal time, leaving more hours for touring.
Look for local running groups
In just about every corner of the globe there are clubs and squads that welcome visitors. They’re a great way to find people to train with and also discover the best spots for a run. Plus you’ll typically make friends for life once you’ve slogged through a few hard sessions with them!
Do some research before you go
It’s always a good practice to do a little Googling before you head away. There are plenty of websites that have information as to where to run in most places. It’s also good to find out if there are any cultural sensitivities you should be aware of, entry fees for parks, if it’s safe to run at night and any other little tips you might pick up from reading what others say about jogging in your destination.
Train hard before going away
By periodising your training so you’re in a recovery phase at least at the beginning of your trip will remove a lot of the pressure to train hard while away. It also enables you to recover from your flight without risking illness by trying to keep pushing your body when it’s stressed.
Increase you fluid intake
It’s an obvious one, but for some reason most of us tend to not drink enough when we travel. Flights, hotel air conditioning and spending your days site seeing can sap the water from you. It’s good to drink loads in the morning before setting out for the day’s adventure and always carry a water bottle around with you.
Hand wash your gear!
Keeping on top of your washing is hard when you’re travelling. But if you hand wash your training clothes immediately after every run, then you’ll be better able to keep yourself from getting stinky or not having enough apparel to see you through the trip. Hand washing is fine for training gear when you’re travelling. After all, it just ends up getting sweaty five minutes into every run anyway!
Take new shoes away
Chances are you’ll be doing a lot of your training on roads or hard surfaces, unless of course you’re in a rural or mountainous area.  Either way, it’s always a good idea to travel with a relatively new pair of shoes. This way you won’t fall into the trap of running in worn out footwear under the guise of buying some new ones when you get home. New shoes also feel better and when you’re running on tired feet you’ll be thankful for it.
Stretch Lots
Sitting on long flights, walking all day, carrying luggage and sleeping in a different bed than you’re use to can lead to stiff and sore muscles. The best way to keep on top of this is to stretch as much as possible. Take the time to do 15 minutes of stretching each night and you’ll be thankful for it when you run the following morning.
Run with ID
It’s good practice to have some form of ID on you when you run and even something that indicates what hotel you are staying in. That way if something happens and people need to know who you are and where you’re from, then you’re covered.

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