If you travel for work as much a I do, you need to find ways to maintain your program in the midst of a busy schedule. But when in unfamiliar surroundings and faced with a busy schedule what can you do? Here are my five tips for maintaining your training schedule while traveling.
1. Look after yourself on the plane
Those hours on the plane need not be spent locked in your seat.
If possible, check in online as early as possible and secure an aisle seat. That will make it easier for you to get in and out of your place.
Every hour or so, stand up and walk around the plane. Find a space such as near a galley or exit where there’s some space and go through a stretching routine. Don’t overdo it – your muscles are likely to be stiff and you won’t be warmed up but some simple stretching will make you feel better.
By the way, I’ve seen people performing pushups, crunches and other more rigorous exercises on planes. I guess that’s OK but try not to get too sweaty so you don’t annoy the folks sitting next to you.
And stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and use a water bottle so you can sip throughout the flight.
2. Book into hotels with a decent gym
There are very few hotels that don’t have a gym or fitness centre. Some are little more than a large cupboard with one treadmill and a stationary bike. Others are full commercial gyms with free weights, machines, a cardio centre and more.
Check out the facilities before making your hotel reservation. Just seeing “Fitness Centre” listed as a hotel amenity is no guarantee of a decent place to train.
If it’s not possible to book into accomodation with decent training facilities, scope out local gyms that offer casual visits. For $10 or $15 you might be able to keep to your training schedule in a well equipped facility.
3. Plan for travel in your training schedule
If you’re preparing for a specific event, look for ways to integrate the travel into your schedule. For example, time away from your usual training facilities might make a good opportunity to rest your body and plan some cross training, yoga or pilates.
When you know your travel plans, look at your training schedule and, if needed, make modifications ahead of time so you reschedule important sessions rather than skipping them.
4. Book exercise time into your work schedule
Whether you’re away for work or pleasure, chances are you’ll have a bunch of scheduled activities or meetings.
Do the same with your training schedule. Put sessions in your diary. Even a short but intense sessions 20 minute cross training session can be valuable.
If you’re a runner, this can be a good opportunity to do some speed work. A short 2km warm up and a series of 30 or 60 second sprints and a five minute cool down can be done on a local trail or a treadmill.
5. Be reasonable in your expectations
If you’re travelling overseas make allowances for fatigue. Even if you don’t suffer greatly from jet lag you’re still likely to be a little more tired. And if you have a busy work or recreational schedule don’t expect too much of yourself.
For example, as I’m writing this, I’m at a conference where I’m walking close to 10km per day between my hotel, the conference centre, various meeting and other activities. While I plan to get to the gym each day for a treadmill or cross-training session, I’m not planning a long run this week as it’s not reasonable to fit that in.