How to Stay in Running Shape While on Vacation


The only thing more difficult that training for a half or full marathon during your regular work week, is training during vacation.  At least that’s the case for me.

When I have a normal week, I have my schedule fully planned, and I know exactly what time I will be running.  However, when a vacation is planned, running is usually an after-thought.

I recently went on a short 2 day trip to Seattle with my family.  We had lots of activities planned including visiting Elevated Sportz Indoor Trampoline Park and Snoqualmie Falls.  But planning for a long Saturday run, was not something I made sufficient time for.

Sure, I should have been more super-human like and planned to wake up at 5am so I could fit in my full long run on Saturday morning, but instead I let myself stay up late and sleep in a little with the kids.  Its vacation, right?

Well, after a quick breakfast, I was finally able to get down to the hotel treadmill and run a few miles while the kids swam in the pool.  I only got about half the workout in that my training plan called for, but at least I got something.

As I look back on my poor attempt to train on my vacation, I can see a few things I could have done better to properly get my training runs in while I was away from home.  Here’s a few ideas:

  • Plan running schedule before you leave.  Before we left on vacation, my family and I planned all the fun activities we wanted to do; but running was an after thought.  If I had clearly planned the time of day and where I would be running, I would have been much more likely to get a full workout in.  Instead, I was forced to “squeeze” in a workout with the time I had left.
  • Plan easier workouts.  Don’t expect to get a high mileage week in. The reality is, that while on vacation you are not likely going to have the best workout of your life.  However, if you can plan something that is manageable, you are MUCH more likely to get something done; rather than nothing.  A fellow running blogger said (and I agree), that you should set the running bar low while on vacation.
  • Be aware of the walking and other activities you are doing. I know that when I go on vacation, I often do a lot of site-seeing and walking around.  This is in stark contrast to how I spend most of my days.  I work at a desk and stare at a computer most of the day.  So, walking around a few miles each days while seeing “the sites” can actually take a toll that you might not have been expecting.  So rather than feel bad that you don’t get a full running workout in; perhaps you just need to realize that you actually are still burning quite a few calories with all the time on your feet.  Then you can add a smaller workout to keep yourself in shape during your vacation. (Hint: Bring comfy walking shoes)
  • Be conscious of your diet while traveling.  While this isn’t directly related to the number of miles you are running; it could be the cause of NEEDING more miles when you get home.  Whether going out to eat or splurging for dessert, getting more food than normal on vacation is easy to do.  I didn’t do so well with my diet on my last vacation.  As a result, my weight is back to where it was a couple of weeks ago.

Following these few simple ideas can help you stay consistent with your marathon running while out of town.  So, even though its not likely that you will make significant improvements to your overall running ability while away from home; you should do all you can to at least maintain the running progress you’ve made.

I have another vacation coming up in just another week (Spring break), so lets see how I do this time around!

Do you have any other ideas that you would like to add?  How do you manage to stay in shape while on vacation?

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