When it comes to keeping up with your running or exercise routine, travel can derail even the best intentions. But with a bit of advance planning, it’s possible to maintain your fitness while away from home.
1. Plan out a (tentative) schedule. Flexibility is key while traveling, but before you leave, take a look at your schedule and make a plan. If one day involves a super early flight or tons of sightseeing, it’s probably best to plan for a rest day. If your schedule is a bit lighter another day, that’s the time to plan longer workouts.
2. Research route and gym options. Take a look at a map of where you’ll be staying. Are there safe places to run? If not, will you have access to a treadmill or gym? With a little bit of sleuthing, you may be able to find a great trail or path a short jog (or drive) away!
3. Pack the right gear. Check the weather forecast before you go and be sure to pack the essentials. Tops, bottoms, socks, shoes, and a sports bra for women are all necessary for a good workout. If you train with music or a GPS watch, don’t forget to bring those along -- as well as any necessary chargers!
4. Get creative. Part of the fun about traveling is being able to experience new things, so why not try that with your running? Explore a new city by foot, sign up for a walking or running tour (yes, they exist!), or enjoy some relaxing miles along the beach.
5. Drink plenty of water and aim to eat healthy 75% of the time. When you travel, your usual eating routine will be interrupted. It’s okay to indulge a bit, but try to keep the majority of your meals on the healthy side. For example, if a day will include 3 meals and a snack, make sure that at least 2 of those meals and the snack are full of lean protein, fresh produce, and whole grains. And limit the alcohol - if you’re feeling headache-y and lethargic, you’ll be less likely to exercise.
6. Sign up for a race (or check out local running clubs). A great way to see a new place is to participate in a local race. You don’t have to shoot for a PR - just enjoy the sights and the company of fellow runners. If there are no races on the calendar, visit area running stores and ask if they host group runs.
7. Complete key workouts before you leave. If you have a tough interval workout or long run on your training plan, try to knock it out before you leave. Travel logistics can be unpredictable, so it’s best to plan for only easy to moderate runs while away from home.
8. Be a morning runner. It can be tough in the moment, but setting your alarm early and squeezing in a workout before everyone else is awake ensures it gets done. If you’ll be exercising before sunrise, make sure to plan a well-lit route or stick to the gym.
9. Set reasonable goals. When traveling, you’ll probably need to scale back your routine a bit. Set yourself up for success by planning moderate workouts. When you complete a run or workout, you’ll feel accomplished, which will give you the confidence to keep going.
10. Have a back-up plan. Sometimes the hotel gym is closed or the weather forecast is crummy; if running isn’t going to be possible, have a plan B in mind. For example, can you purchase a day pass for a local gym. If all else fails, plan on completing a body weight workout (lunges, squats, push-ups, etc) in your hotel room.
The next time you’re on the road, keep in mind that doing something is better than nothing. Follow our tips and you might return from your trip in better shape than when you left!
Megan is a writer, RRCA certified running coach, and new mom living and training in rural upstate New York. She competed in DIII track and cross-country at Wesleyan University and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance.
Main Photo Credit: Maridav/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: God is Love/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: lzf/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Veles Studio/shutterstock.com