I have been spending a fair amount of time on the road since moving to Bend in April. Work has me traveling an average of 2x per month but I’m in the middle of a 5 week stretch of one trip per week. I used to fear traveling due to its potential to get in the way of my training, health, and fitness. However, I’ve really learned to embrace it and I’ve come up with a pretty great routine (that naturally has to be flexible!) and small set of rules that are working really well. Without any further rambling, here are some of my tips of balancing workouts, training, and health with traveling!
Be Flexible – “Something is ALWAYS better than nothing.” This one is at the top of the list because it requires the most adjustment if you are like me: a planner who is energized and driven by following and nailing my scheduled workouts. When I’m on the road I pack an abundance of workout gear: meetings get moved, dinners might not start until 8pm or later, and I can always choose to wake up early. Following the simple mantra of ‘something is always better than nothing’ almost always allows for me to carve out a run, even if it’s just 20 minutes. But, if I have a few openings throughout the day, I can actually accrue a decent amount of training.
Strength – “Do the things that I don’t do at home.” The number 1 thing that I hear triathletes say they want to do more of is strength training. I try to be as regimented as I can and I prescribe appropriate and relevant strength and core workouts to my athletes, but the small things are always the easiest to miss or skip. A hotel room is a great place to get in a quick circuit and you can always make time for 10+ minutes! Simple circuits of lunges, planks, squats and pushups will help you be a more durable athlete, plus it’s a great way to work up a quick sweat.
Single Sport Focus. Triathletes balance a workload of swimming, biking, and running each week which can be tough to manage on the road. I always change my plans to allow for me to do a single sport focus while traveling. Running is by far the most efficient exercise we can do – it requires the least amount of gear and doesn’t require special facilities. If you don’t want to run outside, I promise you’ll be able to find a treadmill. When I’m pinched for time, I follow this rule “Quality beats quantity” and will opt for tempo effort or intervals to make the most of my time.
Hit the stairs and walk when you can. At the airport, the hotel, navigating the trade shows – there are always stairs. As long as there are stairs available, I’m choosing to take the stairs in lieu of elevators. This week we took a few clients out to dinner about a mile away from our hotel. The team all Uber’d and took cabs but I opted to walk both ways. Great way to clear the mind and the steps add up!
Control your intake. At the end of the week on the road, I’m continually surprised by how many times I hear people say “I need to detox” or “I miss vegetables.” The easiest thing to control on the road is your food intake. I absolutely understand that there isn’t always access to a salad bar and that we might have to eat from the buffet of grilled cheese, sliders, and French fries. Portion control and choosing the best quality food no matter where you are is such a great way to control your health while traveling. And don’t forget to drink a LOT of water – it’s very easy to forget this one when you are going nonstop. My water bottle is always with me and it’s a great way to make sure I’m drinking enough fluids.
I hope this is helpful and can encourage you to find a way to incorporate health and exercise into your traveling routine. Making time for YOU is a really important aspect of traveling and it’s not fair to let your happiness, health, and sanity slide to the back when on the road.
Would love to hear in the comments below or on Twitter what types of tricks/rules you have for balancing your lifestyle with travel!