One of my favorite guest bloggers is back! A big thanks to Jessica for cranking out this post about training tips for road warriors. This has been a hot topic on the interwebs lately with my friend, Juls, offering some similar advice not too long ago. Both of these ladies are no strangers to working – and training – from the road, so rest assured that these tips have been well tested!
I wrote this post from an airplane seat. My fiancée and I were headed to Florida to select wedding sites. This wasn’t the first time I was away from the comforts of my training team, and it was indeed a challenge. I travel extensively throughout the U.S. for my job. In 2011, I spent 151 days on the road. This year will be very similar.
Traveling has made training a challenge, and I am certainly not perfect, as I detailed in my half marathon race report, but I’ve developed a few tricks to keep myself on track. Triathlons have made me see my travel completely differently. Sometimes, instead of scoping out restaurants and shopping, I now find myself drooling over beautiful bike paths in new cities. Below, find my ten tips for training on the road.
1. Google the place in advance and develop a strategy.
This seems obvious, but if you use tools like ‘Map My Run’, search for running trails, tracks, and pools in advance of your trip, it will make your trip more successful. Most gyms and community centers also put their spinning classes and pool schedules online, so you should be able to find a time that works for you. If you figure out there are no convenient pools or gyms, rework your training schedule to get those while you’re at home, since every hotel should have a treadmill. (But check online for a hotel gym.) You can also throw the question out to your Tweeps, or Facebook friends in the city.
For the places I visit frequently, I’m starting to also check out local tri and masters swim clubs I can connect and train while on the road. U.S. Masters Swimming has a great Google maps-enabled site to find swimming locations; it even has the pool length listed.
2. Hydrate throughout the trip.
Pass up the booze on the plane, and make sure you drink 20 oz of water before boarding, carry on a bottle of water, and drink water during the flight. You’ll feel less tired when you get off the plane; maybe even good enough to get in a workout when you land.
3. Ask for help.
Don’t just ask the person at the front desk of the hotel where to work out; tell the person you are visiting on travel that you are training for a triathlon and looking for places to train during your trip. It is a great icebreaker with a new contact, and it also allows your business contact to clue you in early if they are planning to add a late dinner or happy hour to the schedule. They will often have thoughtful recommendations about great places to run or bike, hotels close to gyms and trails, and often can connect you with other active people in the city who could give you great recommendations.
My favorite recommendation so far have been a beautiful bike path around Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago:
4. Find community Centers or Y’s.
Often, the daily drop-in fee for a gym could set you back as much as $20, and gym guest passes sometimes require a 20 minute tour and sales pitch. Ask if the hotel has a discounted arrangement with a local gym, and if not, my favorite way to get a spinning or swimming workout in is at a local community center or YMCA. They often have convenient schedules, and the drop-in fee for a non-resident at a community-funded workout facility can be as low as $7. Y’s offer reciprocity to members traveling, so that is another good option.
5. Sign up for a local race.
If travel keeps you somewhere over a weekend, why not work in a race? Three of my favorite races in the last two years were in places I traveled. I raced the Oshkosh Triathlon, which was a beautiful, small laidback sprint tri, the Great Pumpkin Chase 5K in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the Richmond 8K in Virginia. All of these were inexpensive ways for me to see a new place and keep me training. And I found them with a simple Google search!
6. Rent a road bike.
For my sprint tri, I rented a gorgeous road bike in Kaukanna, Wisconsin for a small fee. This let me get up early and explore the summer in Wisconsin. When I visit Florida, I love to take a long ride on a beach cruiser on an ocean front path.
7. Pack your stuff.
I never leave home without a water bottle, my swim gear, a pair of spin shorts, and running gear. It does not take up that much space in my suitcase, and I know I am always prepared for a flight delay or a last minute change of schedule.
8. Schedule your travel around your group training.
I think this one is intuitive, but if you are scheduling the travel, you can typically accommodate the schedule to ensure that your long workouts are with your team. With the abundance of airline flight options, you can also schedule your flights for later in the day now so you don’t have to take the traditional road warrior 6 a.m. flight to get in for a meeting. It’s much easier to balance your flight times to ensure that you still get in your 6 a.m. spinning class!
9. Travel may not be like it was before for you found endurance sports.
Sometimes my meetings will start early, and I’ll spin at 12 noon or swim at 10 a.m. after a breakfast meeting, if I am going to be at a work dinner that night. Often, I’ll prep for my meetings on my layovers or on the plane, to give myself time at the destination to get a workout in. You may now hit the gym instead of the free happy hour at the hotel. Live that change.
10. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.
Naturally, travel is disruptive to a training schedule. Last summer, I was on a project where I was often working 12-14 hours a day. I’d get up early and say to myself, “If you can get in 45 minutes of your workout today, you are still doing great.” It’s also important to keep things balanced. I often schedule a rest day when I am on the road, so I can catch up with my friends in that city.
Something is always better than nothing, and with a few creative steps and some planning, and research, you’ll be able to train remotely like a champion this season!
I’d love to hear other tips on training remotely. Drop me comment and fill me in on some of your tips!