Training While Vacationing
Summer is upon us and folks everywhere are taking their annual vacation. Vacation is typically a time to relax, but, if you’re like me, that doesn’t mean you want to throw your training plan out the window. Vacation can be a great time to push reset on your training cycle and spice up your typical routine. You can easily maintain fitness while having fun. Here are some general tips based on my experiences:
1.Do your research. Before you go, do some searches of trails or places to run that you think are interesting. You could also ask friends who have been there for some advice. Checking travel websites for the city you’ll be in is a great place to start, but you can also go deeper than that. Try Googling “places to run in ___” and see what you come up with. Chances are, you’ll find a blog post or review by a runner who has visited wherever it is that you are going. They might have some new ideas that are off the beaten path and not so touristy.
My husband and I recently went on a weekend trip to Canada and went on a beautiful long run. The Kettle Valley Rail Trail was recommended to us as a place to go running and it was perfect beyond words. There was soft surface, beautiful scenery, and even a few tunnels to run through. We spent most of the run wishing for our phones so we could take pictures. Later that day we decided to drive out to the tunnels to get some shots. Little did we know the tunnels were a popular tourist spot, and when we returned the once peaceful, empty tunnels were packed with people. It was deflating to see a place so beautiful become so crowded. In short, running while on vacation can be a great way to explore the area, and if you run early you can avoid the tourists! There is no better way to take in the sights than on foot during a run.
2. Bring a buddy or find a buddy. I understand that I’m lucky enough to vacation with my husband, a fellow runner, but you could always bring the family dog on vacation to go exploring. I know it can be tough to be the only one on vacation who wants to get in some solid training, but if you make an effort to train at least a few times, you will feel better about yourself when you get back and you will definitely find some enjoyment when you’re on vacation. You could even think of your solo training time as an opportunity to relax and decompress from the bustle of vacation schedules.
3. Try cross-training if running isn’t an option – go exploring on a long hike, try stand up paddle boarding, swimming, rowing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc. It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that as a runner the only training exercise you can do is running. In truth, cross-training and getting some variety in your exercise routine is a really good thing. It keeps you fresh and can help prevent injury, since running gives your body such a pounding.
The great thing about vacation is that there are often so many attractions that allow you to be active. I’ve gone hiking through the jungle in Mexico from a fishing village to a beach only accessible by foot or by water. I’ve climbed a mountain in Hawaii and gone mountain biking through the city. You get the idea. If exercise is already a huge part of your daily habits, why not make it a part of your daily vacation style?
4. As a last resort, try your hotel’s cardio room. If you are uncomfortable running outdoors alone or when all other attempts fail, you can wake up before everyone else to get in a run on the treadmill.
In summary, while vacation is a time to relax and unwind, it can also be a great time to reset your training cycle and maintain fitness. Exploring new territory by running on vacation can also bring renewed joy, rejuvenation, and a welcome break from your usual routine. By the time you return you might be excited and ready to bump up your training again!