With the current restrictions on travel, there is a good chance that very few people are going anywhere on March Break this year, and for those of you with small children and teenagers, you may have to plan ahead and be a bit creative with training in the days ahead.
Holidays and school holidays can be a much needed break for most people, and time to spend alone, with friends or with family. They can also present athletes with restricted training times and an interruption in an otherwise predictable routine. Good to be prepared for this!
Here are a few tips about how to train while over March break (or on a future vacation), with some advice about time management, but also some suggestions on how you can train your brain to relax as well, and set your expectations to be realistic, so it works for you.
How to train away from home or during holidays. Note: some of this applies to the type of travel we can’t do now, but can also be used for ‘staycations’. I've left the travel tips in with a sense of optimism for the future.
Take Active Recovery
Vacations are an obvious time to take a week or two of active rest, or to take an easy recovery week. If you can, plan to have a down week for the week that you travel, and preferably the first week on a multi-week vacation. That way, the jet lag, and acclimation comes during your easy week. Plan your training ahead as much as possible taking into account that you will have to be flexible. Even if you can do little else, it is realistic to plan a week of only run or walk training. Cross training activities like cycling and swimming may be restricted.
Gather support by Communicating
Let everybody know that you will be training a few times, and will try to work around family and group activities.
Get it in before the day starts, as later in the day it is more likely you will be tired from activities that centre more on the whole family. Before the household wakes up is a perfect time. More than likely, everybody will still be sleeping when you return, so you haven’t missed anything and you’ve gained a calm start to your day. Another good time can be before dinner, when everybody is having their downtime after the day. This assumes of course, that either someone else is cooking or you have pre planned dinner.
For travelling: Do advance research on the location you will be visiting. Is there a gym for strength or treadmill options? What are the trails like? Even if you can’t get in your usual sessions, 20 minutes easy training and doing drills and maintaining feel is better than none.
Or read this article in Runner’s World about why you should run while travelling.
Including this awesome tip I hadn’t thought of. “Look up Races to Steal Their Routes”.
For staycation: Plan your training for the week around your family or kid’s activities. If you are dropping them at a park or camp for an activity, or the allowed playdates, you can get a short training session in – even switching off with the other parent if an adult needs to be around.
Take advantage of free ME time!
If you are a parent of young ones who relies on childminding or pre-schools for time to fit in your training, holiday training can be a challenge, but again, gather support and plan. Also be prepared to head out the door at the last minute, when plans change and a 30 minutes window of time opens up for you.
Be flexible and adventurous - it builds resilience
You might have to get up earlier, train at odd hours, or drop a training session. Chances are, if you are an active parent, you have already mastered the skills of “creative time management, training and childcare”; here’s the chance to test out what you have learned. Drop your expectations of the perfect training - just enjoy wherever you are and whatever you can do.
Have Snacks at the Ready Always and Especially If you are Travelling
Bring or buy snacks to keep on hand at home or in a hotel room. Some energy bars for calories in a pinch are always a good idea. I generally hit a store right away when I travel, and get a few days’ worth of food snacks: almonds, trail mix, bananas, apples, salty snacks like pretzels and bagels. (I also buy a good bar of chocolate, and bring those Starbucks instant coffee packets so I am not hunting for a coffee shop on my first morning).
Most of all just be prepared to be flexible and easy going, possibly missing training for the chance to go for a great hike along the beach with your kids.
Stay in the moment; your regular training can resume at any time, and don’t spend time fretting about missed miles. Remember, you always have the power to breathe.
With some advance planning and creative time management, it is possible to have a fit holiday!
Run for Joy (wherever you find yourself!)
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