Mar 25, 2013

Staying On Track While On The Road - Part 1: Training

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows...

OK, maybe not so much rainbows and lollipops, but I am getting my fair share of sunshine this week that is for sure.

I am fortunate enough that for 1-3 weeks each month I go to Florida to spend time with Mike, my husband, and telecommute for work so that I can maintain some sort of work life balance. 

This was my first of many trips and I must say, it has been wonderful!  Since his weekends are actually Wednesday/Thursdays, I fly down after work on Tuesday evening, then take time off from work on Wednesday and Thursday so that we can spend the days together, then work from my Florida location on Friday and Monday, flying back home Monday after work. 

I have been able to keep up on work, and even took a few meetings on my off time just to make sure that things were moving along well.  Since I come from a job background which was heavy on travel, I am very independent and can work well outside the office.  I have always looked at the world as my office.

In years past trips like this would have meant disaster for both my training and my lifestyle.  Ever since that fateful trip to Mexico last year, I have since realized that I am at the mercy of nothing but myself.  And with that I have learned a few things about staying on track while travelling. 

The key thing that I have learned in the 16+ years that I have travelled for work is to set myself up for success, not for failure.  What this means is that I need to do some planning, do some research, and to make sure that I have with me or at least access to the things locally that I need to keep as much of a routine as possible so that I do not fall off of training or health track.

It is so easy when we travel to just throw in the towel, to give up and give in to all the temptations around us.  After all - aren't we supposed to live it up when we travel? 

I have found that I am much happier if I can maintain at least some form of semblance to my regular home life while away from home.   One thing that I can do pretty much anywhere is to run.  I pack my running shoes and a few running clothes in my carry on, so that I am able to get in this at the very least where ever I go.   Which brings me to:

Travel training trip #1: Scope out the area for running friendly trails and scenic routes, as well as Hotels for run friendly facilities should the weather or area not cooperate.

Because of this I have ran in the People's Square in Shanghai, China along the Danube river in Regensburg, Germany, and around Frankfurt and Baubenhausen, Germany as well.  I have run through Guadalajara, Mexico (before the days of the Drug Lords killing everyone, now days I run via treadmill), through quite a few States in the Union and in Canada. 

Have shoes will run. 

Travel training tip #2:  Plan your work, and work your plan. AKA - be realistic about what you can accomplish and when you can accomplish it.

I am one of those people with a training plan that I follow each week.  Obviously as the weeks progress my training focus changes, but no matter what I always have a plan as it is my road map to achieving my goals.

One thing that has in the past derailed me from my endeavors is that I throw the plan completely out the window when I would travel.  I would tell myself that I just could not maintain anything while travelling, so why bother to try. 

While the plan is a good guide, it is not set in stone and you should be willing to be flexible in your training.  The best way to make sure that you can achieve the training is to be realistic in your availability to work out,  both by which days and times available as well as what activities you can maintain with little stress to your other obligations.     

I like to make my travel days my rest days. Travel is fatiguing and you can end up wearing yourself down and digging a hole that you cannot recover from if you do not take rest. 

I then do a little research to see what activities are going on in the area and what equipment I will have available to me.  

For this trip I first looked for running races in the area, as if there is a race I will for sure get in my run.  Since I was staying over a weekend I signed up for a local 10k run which is great for me since I had a 6-7 miler on plan anyhow. 

With that out of the way, I then looked at what options I have for cycling and since this is my In-Laws house I have many bikes available to me including my husband's road bike which is actually a good fit for me.  OK - run and bike availability... check! 

Now it is a matter of getting the workouts in. I scheduled them for when I was most likely to succeed at getting them done - my long stuff on the weekends when I am alone, and the short stuff in the mornings or before dinner when Mike is relaxing so that I do not take away any time from us.  Also, Mike is a cyclist and likes to swim so I am able to get in some workouts with him which always helps!

Travel training tip #3:  Recruit Support.

If travelling with other people, see if anyone wants to workout with you at the hotel gym - they don't have to do what you do but sometimes just having someone in the vicinity is enough to get the workout done.

If they say no - let them know clearly what your intentions are for training while on the trip and see if they can oblige by allowing some time for you to get it done.  When I travel with coworkers, they assist me by selecting hotels with exercise rooms and pools so that I have the most equipment available to me, and have even worked our dinner schedules around my training hours.   I hit the gym for a quick pre-dinner workout while they hit the hotel bar for a pre-dinner drink. 

I have some awesome people in my life! 

Travel training tip #4:  Missed a workout?  MOVE ON.

Don't try to double up workouts to squeeze in missed ones. Sometimes it is best just to keep on moving forward. 

Travel training tip #5:  Learning for next time.

Missing a few workouts is perfectly acceptable.  However... if you missed some workouts on the trip due to reasons other than illness, weather,  need for rest, or for other obligations such as family time or work time, then you need to review what happened to result in missing the workouts, so that you can be ready for it the next trip.   Maybe you over planned your time? Maybe you are putting too much pressure on yourself?  Maybe it stopped being fun? 

Training isn't life, and unless you are a pro, it also is not your job.  It should remain fun and refreshing, nit something that weighs you down and makes you feel obligated to complete it. 

If things fell apart for training on your trip - it isn't always a bad thing either.  Just take the notes as to why things happened and evaluate, getting ready to beat the excuses next time. 

Sometimes the best thing to do is push "pause" in training and allow for the down time.  Use it as a reset for when you return.  Just don't stop all together! 

Next up, Part 2: Nutrition

No comments: