If there is one thing that can completely ruin a good training schedule, it’s travel. Global village and small world and all that notwithstanding, travel is still painful. Even for people that love traveling, the whole getting-to-train-station-or-airport; waiting; delays; smelly loos; car rides on bumpy roads; new places – still a big challenge, especially for brief visits!
Runners don’t generally fall prey to flu and the common cold and so on, seriously, we are like a mutant immune specie that manages to avoid such common ailments by and large. But even the most robust runner can be floored by air/train food, sleep deprivation, and severe weather changes.
So we asked a few frequent travelers to tell us, what keeps them going, how do they stick to a schedule while being away from home base for small or extended periods of time? It’s all very well to download the Runner’s World 16-week Foolproof Full Marathon plan, but if you are traveling for even 2-3 weeks out of that, it seems virtually impossible to find the rhythm and hit the time/pace/distance goals….
You know when you are going to be away. Massage the training plan so that you can do the workouts that are possible to do ‘out there’ – err like running. Which is the easiest thing to do ever. In fact, if you are a very frequent traveler, the best thing to do is to plan the workouts one week at a time – with full knowledge of the schedule.
“Explore new vistas’
Chennai is hot and humid. We like it, our bodies are used to it. But if you are going away, think of it as a chance to experience something new. A new terrain, different weather, whatever is possible. Sometimes its even a great way to explore the new city you are in – make sure to have a map and not get lost though!
“Beat Jet Lag”
Our international travelers assure us that the best way to completely and thoroughly avoid Jet Lag is to schedule a run soon after you land. A short, gentle run, as your body may feel quite beat up from being squeezed into those cramped seats, stomach may be tender from the aluminium-encased food, and respiratory system may not be at optimal best due to recycled air.
“Lengthen the Stay”
If you have control over your travel schedule, make sure to have a clear morning or two to run. Which means arriving the previous night, not agreeing to very early morning meetings, etc. Of course if you end up meeting old friends immediately after landing in the evening, an early morning run is going to be a little impractical! ‘Cause we all know how that night will go!
“Don’t over analyse it”
Yes, we think our training plan is more important than anything else in the world. But missing a run or two is not the end of the world. If it happens, and is beyond your control, move on! Experts advise not trying to squeeze in a missed workout into a packed schedule.
“Wake up early”
Like the jet lag breaking mantra, another is to use the morning of the journey fruitfully. Wake up an hour earlier and do a shake out run or a nice intense home workout. Your body will suffer the discomfort of travel better, and the endorphins will make you a happier person!
If you are going to spend extended periods of time away, leave a spare running wardrobe there. Else, running gear ought to be the first things you pack in your bag! Aside from shoes, these hardly occupy much space, so no worries there!
Especially for lone wolves, men or women, it is important to keep safety in mind. We are spoiled by Chennai, running when we please, where we please. All places are not equal, all neighborhoods are not equal. Do read up, ask locals, find a local running group, and carry some ID & emergency cash when you run in a strange new place. Worse comes to worse, just use the hotel treadmill or workout in your room!
Many of us manage to balance work travel and marathon training – including back to back travel days. It is possible – your body is definitely capable of it – so believe in it!
Well, these are just some things we do to ensure that travel doesn’t come in the way of our passion. Tell us, what do you do? What works for you?