Everyone loves taking a vacation, but it can cause a bit of a challenge when it comes right in the middle of your training schedule. Training day-in and day-out is hard enough, but then going somewhere that is completely unfamiliar and trying to plan a new route while ensuring you still get a solid workout can make a for a very challenging experience. However, the last thing you also want to do is just stop training and lose the momentum that youíve gained. So what are you to do?
As I write this entry, Iím doing so from Tampa, Fla., so this is a reality that have had to the past few days until heading home to Boston. The nice thing is that itís been 80 degrees and sunny (sorry to rub it in), but upon arriving here I still had to figure out when and where I was going to run.
Probably the easiest thing to do would be to go to a local gym and hit the treadmill. At most gyms you can purchase a pass that gives you access for a few days, and running on treadmill will ensure you get the necessary mileage and associated workout. However, if youíre like me, you need to be outside. What I mean here is that training to me is as much about the workout as it is about the run.
When Iím running in an unfamiliar place, I often view it as a chance to explore my surroundings and see things that I would not normally get to see. I like to get a baseline layout of the area, which you can do by utilizing Google Maps or a host of other programs, but then I just go. We are staying with some friends who live about 1.5 miles from the beach on the Gulf of Mexico. A soon as I figured out how to get to the beach, I was set. My goal for this trip was to find a route that enabled me to access the beach and then do the bulk of my workout running along the water. Talk about a great run and something thatís completely different from what I do in Boston.
As far a mileage is concerned, I donít know specifics since I donít use an odometer. But if I can use time as a measure of distance, I found a route that was in the 9-to-10-mile range. This proved to be great, as it enabled me to get a solid workout, and not completely interrupt my time with my family while on vacation.
I have also deployed similar tactics in places such as Belize, Costa Rica, Chicago, and Cape Cod, among others. When you are away from home, think of running as chance to truly experience and get to know your surroundings. Youíll really be surprised what you find, what you see, and how much you will learn. Youíll also end up getting a great workout in the process, so later in the day when youíre doing what youíre supposed to do on vacation, you wonít feel that sense of guilt. Most importantly, when you get back home and into your routine, youíll be able to jump right back into things.
Now, if you do find yourself faced with business travel or in in place that does not create the urge to find an exciting route, just ask the front desk or the concierge if they have running maps. It surprises me how many hotels offer these for their guests and they usually have routes with varying degrees of distance. This can be helpful, particularly if you are someplace that does not look running friendly or is just not a great backdrop for a nice run.
The key, ultimately, is to make sure that you keep up your training. From my experience, consistency is key. Instead of viewing running away from home as a challenge, view it as an opportunity. If youíre anything like me, youíll find that running away from home affords you the chance to experience your new surroundings in a completely different light, see some great things, yet still make sure youíre on track and ready for race day.
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes