ON THE ROAD
Maintaining your usual training routine while travelling can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Find out how to make the most of any environment while you’re away.
I have said many times that success comes from maintaining a consistent schedule and that, in itself, is a disciplined undertaking. If you travel for work there is no doubt it is much harder to keep the consistency rolling, but it can be done.
In this article I have outlined some of the things that will help you maintain and even improve your fitness whilst on the road.
The number one thing you can do is plan ahead. I’m going to assume you have your regular at home training schedule down and this is what will have to be massaged to fit your travel schedule and location. This is where having a coach can be really handy in adjusting your sessions and focuses to suit your travel schedule and realistic training time frames.
If you will be the one choosing your hotel, you’ll want to check out the fitness facilities and find a hotel with the best equipment and a decent pool. Most are too short, but you can make the most of a 16-20m pool. It might not be as good as a 25m or 50m pool, but with the right adjustments to your session (and mindset), you can still achieve a highly effective workout.
The SWIMA smart change here would be introducing lots of short reps and making each third or fourth repeat HARD on short rests. Always travel with your pull buoy and XS paddles.
No matter where I am going these days, I use www.swimmersguide.com to find pools around the world. It’s a fantastic resource.
If there is nothing suitable close by, pack some swim cords with you. Cords are the only tool that replicate using your swim muscles. Every other piece of gym equipment or exercise teaches us to drop our elbows.
While you won’t be able to replicate a full session using cords, you will be able to keep some consistency using your swim muscles. Plus, it helps develop strength.
The BIKEIf the trip is long enough or you are going to a place with must ride routes and your schedule allows, check www.mapmyride.com for local routes uploaded by users.
It may not be possible for your bike to come along on most work trips, so early hotel research can help. A spin bike or a gym that has Lemond stationary bikes works pretty well. Ordinary gym stationary bikes aren’t the best but they will allow you to get the job done.
The RUNRunning is always going to be the easiest to fit in your schedule. Sometimes the scheduling could see you do a short run focused block in your training. For instance I’m writing this from my brother in law’s place in Dublin. We came over for a long weekend from the UK – it was too cost prohibitive to bring my bike along and swimming was just not going to work, so I made some minor weekly schedule changes to still get my swimming and riding done (before/after) and have plugged in a few days of running here.
Use www.mapmyrun.com to find running routes or make sure your hotel has a treadmill.
When things come up suddenly and you don’t have much time, squeezing in a session anyway will help maintain consistency. Even a 20 minute session will help stimulate your body’s systems and clear your head.
If your schedule allows for normal training hours then continue to follow it as closely as possible (with adjustments for travel days, jet lag etc.) When it doesn’t and your time is limited, quality will always trump volume.
A good warm up and short repeated efforts will help you get a quality workout in. As mentioned before, when swimming do loads of short repeats with short rests and go FAST every third or fourth rep. On the bike, try repeating one minute on, one minute easy, ALL OUT big gear intervals or short 3-5 minute tolerance efforts with equal recovery. On the run, a fartlek session is always a good option. Try the Mona Fartlek, named after the
one and only Steve Monaghetti.
1. Start with 10 minutes of easy running
2. Next, do two pickups of 90 seconds hard, followed by 90 seconds of easy recovery running
3. Follow this with four pickups of 60 seconds hard followed by 60 seconds of easy recovery running
4. 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds of easy recovery running
5. 15 seconds hard followed by 15 seconds of easy recovery running
6. Finish with an easy 10 minutes of running
These short sessions can greatly help boost your aerobic capacity when your time is limited.
I always travel with my tptherapy tools. We flew to Dublin on a budget airline and they’re super strict on baggage, so I packed two tp massage balls and the TP2 sock which means with some ingenuity I can do all the self massage I need.
When luggage isn’t an issue, I take my full kit and can work on mobility and better muscle tissue health in the hotel room. A 10-15 minute session in the morning and before bed will do wonders.
You can also easily incorporate core work in your hotel room within a self myofascial release session.
DEALING WITH JET LAGThe cardinal rule of avoiding jet lag once you have arrived is to go to bed only when it is
bedtime at your new destination and wake up at the normal rising time at your new destination. For this to work properly, aim to get some sleep on the flight. A good pillow and a sleep mask works a treat. When you are awake, get up and walk around frequently.
You also want to ensure you do some easy aerobic training to get the blood flow happening and help you feel normal. So get sorted in your new place and then quickly head out the door. Even 20-30 minutes makes a huge difference.
Supplementing melatonin can help. Take 5mg of melatonin one hour before you plan to fall asleep. Use 5mg for each of the first two nights, then take a half-dose on the third night and no more for the remainder of the stay. Do not take sleeping pills on the plane. You won’t get quality sleep and will feel terrible on arrival.
NUTRITION ON THE ROAD
Another thing that goes out the window with travel is good nutritional habits. Both the airports and the plane aren’t the greatest places for good food. So plan ahead and pack fruits, raw veggies, nuts and raw food snacks packed in zip lock bags. Don’t forget plenty of water and drop in a couple of electrolyte tablets.
Maintaining training consistency is possible while on the road. All it takes is prior planning, a few adjustments to your schedule and the discipline to stick to it.