Your life doesn't come to a full stop when you sign up for a marathon. You might have to skip a few late nights out, wake up early on a Saturday to run thirteen miles, fit a quick five-miler in during your lunch break, or drink an extra protein shake or two to keep up with your metabolism, but your life does not stop. That means, if you have plans to travel while training, whether for vacation or otherwise, you’ll have to figure out how to fit your workouts in.
As someone who travels frequently, I have developed a few tips that help motivate me to wake up at zero six hundred hours so I can fit in an eight-, nine-, or eighteen-mile run, even when I’m away from home.
Read on to learn strategies that will save time and help motivate you so that you can maintain your marathon training no matter where you are in the world.
1. Reward yourself.
It seems silly, even juvenile, to give yourself rewards, but they work for a reason. If you have to run thirteen miles while you are away from home, give yourself something to look forward to after the run. It could be an extra hour relaxing in the sun, a fruity cocktail or an hour of silent, solitary reading. Hey, you just ran thirteen miles while you were traveling; treat yourself!
2. Set easily achievable goals.
Don’t make training harder than it already is. You know yourself better than anybody, and you know what your body can handle. Don’t schedule yourself to run four 6 a.m. workouts in a row while you’re on vacation if you know you don’t like running in the morning. Training shouldn’t be something you do just to “get it over with” first thing in the morning. If you know you will not be able to run in the morning, schedule your run at a different time, and if you know you won’t be able to fit the four runs on your training plan in, it’s okay to take one out.
3. Stick to your schedule.
Make a schedule for your easily achievable goals and stick to it. You will enjoy your traveling much more when you know ahead of time the nights you’re planning on staying out late enjoying the local food and the nights you need to relax before an early morning long run. There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself and indulging a little, and if you schedule those evenings in, you will be more likely to complete your running goals and enjoy your time away from home.
4. Pack all your running gear.
I hate to admit it, but when I’m packing for a weekend trip out of town and am running out of room, my running gear is often the first place I start skimping. “I’ll be fine without my compression sleeves,” I say to myself. “It’s just one long run.” However, when it comes time for that long run and I don’t have my compression sleeves, I always regret leaving them on my desk at home. Getting through a long run takes a lot of mental willpower and sometimes having your comfy compression sleeves or handy hydration belt is the difference between a run you “get through” and a run you finished and enjoyed. Having all your gear with you will also make you feel comfortable running in a new terrain and excited to continue your training.
5. Enlist company.
Your friends and family are already supporting you and want to help where they can, but sometimes they just need to be given a hint about how they can help. Ask a buddy to join you for the last two miles of your long run or for a stretching partner after the workout. Knowing somebody is waiting for you at the end can help keep you on track and excited to continue training.
6. Map out your route.
Not only will you feel more comfortable knowing where you’re going, but looking at the route beforehand is exciting, too! It gets you in a positive mindset for your long run away from home.
7. Get excited.
Running in a new place is awesome! Don’t forget that. Running while you’re traveling or on vacation can be something you dread at first, but it almost always ends up being exciting. I have always found that I learn a new place better after I’ve gone for a run there. There are new sights to see, and it gives you the opportunity to try a new running route away from home.