Monday, 11 August 2014

Training on Holiday

This week I'm in France visiting family. This coincides with week 5 of my ultra marathon training and as such my plan advises me that I should be running a total of 19 miles over 4 sessions. Some chance!

Generally speaking, unless you're on an activities focused holiday or have a lot of time to kill while your hosts are out at work (as I did in Chicago last year) you won't have or want to spend a lot of time on your work out. You're on holiday, you want to enjoy it, to sight-see and relax.
Sight-seeing on the run in Chicago
If you're just "ticking over" in terms of exercise, then you're probably not going to worry too much about fitting in specific workouts; a bit of holiday swimming and walking will see you right. But if you're going on holiday right in the middle of training plan then you might want to think about how you can maintain your fitness while you're away. If your plan has you down for a long run while you're away (luckily mine is scheduled for the weekend I'm back), you probably won't be able to fit it in. Rather than squeeze it in or try to make up the miles when you're home, just skip it. It's not realistic to try and make up miles, you might over load your body and end up with an injury. Better instead to schedule some quality sessions while you're away that will help other aspects of your fitness. All it takes a little preparation.

That said it can be a fantastic way to explore your temporary home and of course gives you ice cream credits!
The view from where I'll be staying
Set Expectations
Set your travelling companion's/host's expectations before you leave. Get them on side, explain what you want to achieve and why and they'll probably be really supportive.
Time & Frequency
Work out how much time you will realistically have to exercise. Perhaps you can get up a little earlier on a couple of days to work out before your plans for the day, or maybe you can make use of late afternoon in that odd period between day time activities and going out for dinner.
It'll make this lot taste even better.
Type & Quality
What sort of activities can you do? Does the hotel have a pool, gym or perhaps even classes? Is there a park nearby? Maybe there are some coastal trails. Decide what activities you can do and then how you can create a quality session.

What you can't achieve in terms of time or distance you can make up for with intensity. If there are hills nearby, great! You can do a great quality hill session to help put power in those legs. This will help you when you're back doing the long runs. You could do a sprints or pyramid session to help with pace if that's something you're working on. Both these sessions can be fairly short whilst remaining effective. A skipping rope takes up little room and combined with some high intensity strength sessions using your bodyweight or a dynaband can be really beneficial to your training regime. Strength is something that a lot of people fail to include enough of in their training plans and the same goes for stretching. Downloading a yoga workout to your phone or taking part in a hotel class could be really useful.
I'm looking forward to running past fields of sunflowers again
Photo credit OwnersDirect
Make a note of the sessions you plan to do. Write down your swim drills, hill or sprints session etc. That way you will know exactly what you are meant to be doing and can focus on the task. If you use music to help your workouts (such as the guided pyramid sessions from AudioFuel) make sure you have them on your music player of choice before you leave, and take a charger!

If you're headed out and about alone to do your workout, tell someone where you're going and when you expect to be back. Take some currency, the address of where you're staying and a phone, just in case.

Now you just need to pack your kit and you're set!
Ah le Loire Valley!
Ideally I need to complete one hill run, two 4 mile runs and one 7 mile run in the next five days. Realistically I'll only be able to manage 3 workouts so I'm intending to do one 4 miler, one intervals session and one hills (if I can find a hill) or HIIT session. I won't have the time to do a 7 mile run but I think this will be a reasonable alternative. I'll report back next week.

Have you gone or are you going away in the middle of a training plan? How are you handling it?

1 comment:

  1. The air in France must be really good for a marathon run.