The Lone Runner Series: How to Balance Training with Summer Vacation
How to Balance Training with Summer Vacation
With summer here and a majority of Americans vaccinated, vacation travel is already beginning to boom across the country. Many people are ready to take the summer vacation they postponed last year. If your family plans to travel this summer, you may have questions about how to balance training with traveling and having fun.
Training During Vacation:
First, summer vacation is a good opportunity to take a recovery week. Scale back the mileage and the intensity of workouts. You want to rest and recover, and also enjoy your vacation. At the same time, you do not want to lose your fitness gains. With planning, you can balance fun and running, and you can successfully train through vacation.
Long days of flying or driving make running difficult. If you take any days completely off of exercise, take these days. Otherwise, do what you have to do to get it in. Wake up early. Run a short run in the dark. Sleep in the car or on the plane.
Car and air travel taxes your body in negative ways. Hours of sitting, dehydration, and stress combine to impede recovery. Try to move as much as possible. Avoid sitting for more than 2 hours without getting up. Stretch and roll out at rest stops, during layovers, and when you arrive at your destination. Drink water.
You can still have fun without sacrificing your training. Try to fit in a short run (at least most days) during periods of downtime, or early in the morning. Try adding some strides to the end of your runs if you have time. If you can, throw in some short hill sprints, or a tempo workout (hill and tempo workouts are some of the easiest to fit in and you can do them almost anywhere).
If your vacation plans include hiking, biking, or swimming, you also have a good opportunity for cross-training days. You can exercise for fun, and use these days to recover.
You can also relax your diet on vacation without returning home 10lbs overweight. Try to limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per day. Eat at least some vegetables every day. If you plan to indulge at one meal, eat very light at other meals. For those who can tolerate fasting, vacations are a good time to fast part of the day to offset large meals and treats. Moderation is key. You do not have to eat ice cream every time your kids eat ice cream. Most restaurant menus have at least one or two relatively healthy options. If you make a small effort, you can enjoy vacation treats without sacrificing training goals.
Vacations are the time to relax. While on vacation, you should approach your training and diet with the same attitude. Do not worry too much about either. Not worrying does not mean not running. It means realizing that you can have fun, run a little less, eat a little less healthy, and still return to training without losing fitness. Keeping your racing goals in mind will ensure you do keep running and you do not gain 10lbs. Keeping your vacation goals in mind will ensure you still have fun.
Ben Connelly is a freelance writer and an experienced runner. He has written multiple e-books on running and general fitness, including a marathon training guide, which you can purchase here. You can find him at his Amazon Author page, or at his website.