How to Travel and Train

Travelling can throw you off your training routine, whether it be for a holiday abroad or at home or a short break or work trip.

However, there are a variety of ways you can keep active whilst travelling: 

  • Hotel Gyms

Many hotels now have gyms – albeit the quality of equipment can vary from a full gym worth of equipment to a couple of pieces of cardio equipment and a single dumbbell.  If you are staying in a hotel with a gym then taking your gym kit and an open mind can be one option.  You may be able to get an idea of what equipment the facility has from their website beforehand so you can plan a workout ahead of time, but if not you can probably work with what is there to keep moving- even if it means departing from your normal routine.     

  • Running

Free and something, you can do anywhere.  Often if I’m staying overnight, in a hotel I’ll just take my running gear and go for a 15-20 min run in the morning.  No checking gym opening hours required so you can fit it to whatever your schedule is.  The added bonus is running somewhere different to usual can be interesting – a run around the city’s sights or along the beach is often more inspiring than running round your local park (or for me down the local cycle paths) and the fresh air first thing can set you up for he day.

  • Yoga

Something which you can do in even the smallest of hotel rooms without worrying about people complaining about you jumping up and down and making noise!  If you already practice yoga you can probably run through your own sequences of moves but if you need inspiration, You Tube has lots of free guided yoga sessions which you could follow.

  • Virtual Services

There are lots of workouts you can do from home now- think Les Mills On Demand and Beach Body.  Some of these require equipment but plenty do not.  If you travel a lot it could be worth a subscription so you can workout in your hotel room when you are away.  If you don’t travel that often many services offer week long trials for free which you could utilise whilst on holiday.

  • Local Gyms

A great option to consider – especially if you are travelling in the UK.  Check if your current gym membership allows you access to any gyms in their chain, as you may be able to access without additional charges.  If not gyms such as The Gym Group and Pure Gym tend to do day and week pass options / trials for less than a tenner.  The benefit here is you can pretty much guarantee the gym will have all the equipment you need to stick to your normal workout routine without having to make changes.  You may even be able to get to a few classes if that floats your boat.  I did this when I went to my mums last Christmas – visiting the local Nuffield (I have a Nuffield membership) on Christmas Eve and then getting a day pass for The Gym on Boxing Day.  Managed to get my workouts in for an extra £7 without having to make any adjustments to what I wanted to do.

  • Body Weight Workouts

You can put together an entire cardio and / or resistance workout using body weight only (think push ups, burpees, lunges, squats, jumping, plank work).  This can be done indoors or outdoors to suit you.  I’m quite keen on short bursts of running (say 500m) with sets of jump lunges, squat jumps, burpees and press ups performed after every run- gives you a quick all over workout and lets you take in some fresh air. If space is tight you could focus on core stability moves and work the trunk of the body, taking out impact work.

  • Tabata

My favourite HIIT tool- 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest x 8.  You can do any moves you want.  7 rounds gives you about a thirty minute workout which will elevate the heart rate.  The ability to do any moves means you can do it anywhere with any equipment you have or just your body.  Type tabata timer into the app store and you will find lots of timers you can use.

  • Tennis / Golf

If you are on holiday abroad there will often be tennis courts or similar at your hotel.  Getting involved in some sports whilst you are away is a great way of getting exercise in – beach volleyball, tennis, golf- without really thinking about exercising.

  • Sight Seeing

Walking might seem less intense than your normal training sessions. But if you are on holiday and planning on visiting lots of sites remember that the walking you do will count towards keeping moving, so perhaps you want to leave the gym kit at home and just get in lots of steps whilst away.

  • Rest

If you travel all the time finding a system for training whilst away is a good idea.  However, if you are only away for a week or two on holiday there is no harm in deciding to just take a break from training completely.  This could be the perfect time to let the body rest so you are eager to go again upon your return.

I would love to hear other people’s ideas and methods of staying active whilst on the move.

Love, Hate, Running and Me

I hate running.

And yet for someone who hates running I sign up to a lot of runs.

So it’s a lie to say I hate running really I suppose.

I like running. I’m just slow.

I can run for long periods of time at a steady pace.  I’m never going to get a sub 2 hour half marathon time but I’ve completed a number of half marathons, a number of 5 and 10k runs and one marathon.

What I really mean when I say I hate running is I hate training for runs.

I like going out for a road run- but for 15- 20 minutes, perhaps half an hour.

I like being in the fresh air, feeling the sun on my face on a nice day or the fresh feeling on a cold or wet day.

For me this type of running is less about keeping fit and more like therapy.  A time to either think, or to clear my thoughts, to stick on some cheesy music and just be present and take in my surroundings.  I tend to run down a cycle route close to my flat and like to people watch and look at the graffiti in the tunnels as I run.  If I stay in a hotel I always try and go for a morning run because I like running in different surroundings – sometimes pretty, other times less so.

So when I try and add training for an event into my schedule I struggle.  In part this is because my teaching schedule makes long regular runs hard to fit in without overtraining.  But it’s also because adding in set distances and set aims detracts from the enjoyment I get from running and I start to put it off.

So inevitably I go into every race I sign up to bemoaning my own lack of preparation and knowing it’s going to be a tough slog.

Normally once I get started I’m good.

This is because I also enjoy organised races. It’s  a mixture of the different to normal route, support from the crowd, the atmosphere, getting a goodie bag at the end.

Whilst short training runs fulfil my need for a mental break from life, organised runs leave me with a sense of achievement and push me to do the longer distances I know I’m capable of but rarely push myself to do in training (as someone once said to me I’m a bit of a match day player- I need that pressure to make me perform).

Yesterday I took part in the Great Manchester Run – I did the half marathon distance. The last four years I’ve done the 10K but last year they added in a longer distance so I decided to step up for my fifth year at this event.

My longest run in the run up to the event had been a 10K the week before. I taught five classes the day before so had definitely not rested my legs.  My diet had not been top notch during the week and I hadn’t hydrated well.  On the day it was HOT!

I ran at a steady pace and completed the course in 2 hours 21 minutes.  Given the heat I was really pleased with this time and felt pretty good throughout the run – even managing to run through a stich at around 5 miles.  At times I hated it, at other times it felt good.  The sprint across the finish line felt brilliant and although my immediate reaction at finishing was never again I know deep down that these type of events provide value to my life and I get something out of them.

I also know however that my training is never likely to be more than the odd 20 minutes run when I feel like running.  But I have decided that this is probably OK.  I know I can run up to 13 miles at a steady pace when I choose to, my general level of fitness allows this, and as long as I accept that I’m not about to set a world record my preferred training runs and my enjoyment of structured running events can coincide quite happily together.

Whatever training you enjoy doing – find a way to fit it into your life so it suits you.  That may mean readjusting your outlook on it or changing your goals, but if this means you enjoy it when you do it then it will add so much more to your training regime and make sure you continue to enjoy what you do.