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4 Ways to Hack Your Summer Vacation for Fitness

Summer vacations can be tough for runners. On the one hand, when we’re off work, we may assume we’ll have plenty of time to run. But on the other hand, the demands of family activities, travel and even jet lag can leave us with little energy or time to exercise. But with some smart planning, you can sneak in a bit of exercise to keep from falling too far behind in your training. Start with these four tips:

1. Develop an exercise routine you can literally do anywhere.

runner3Whether you find yourself in an airport, on a tropical island with no roads or in a hotel room with a sleeping child, sometimes you just can’t run outside and need to improvise. In cases like these, turn to a set of exercises that can be done anywhere and without any equipment. It’s surprising how much exercise you can get with simple movements like pushups, situps, burpees and lunges. Start with 10 of each and try to do three or four sets, or as many as time allows. Change the intensity by varying how many you do and how fast you do them. You can also add weight to exercises such as squats or side lunges by simply wearing a loaded backpack or holding something else traveling with you.

2. Get creative.

Runners are creatures of habit and love to work from a plan. But when you’re traveling, try to avoid getting hung up the specifics of a workout. Remember: Something is better than nothing. I recall being on a small island in Thailand where the longest road was only a quarter mile – a serious, well, roadblock, to my plan to run 20 miles as a part of marathon training. So I swam in the ocean for a few hours instead. And guess what? I still met my race goals. The key is to stay flexible and creative and to emphasize making something happen.

3. Stay hydrated and well-nourished.

Travel leaves us dehydrated and alters our normal eating patterns, whether it’s because we overindulge in alcohol, try new foods or both. But if you want to have any shot at being able to exercise, you need to pay proper attention to hydration and nutrition. To start, drink plenty of fluids while flying, aim to eat healthy foods that don’t stray too far from your normal diet and avoid drinking alcohol before workouts. Following these tips will help you be ready and able to exercise – and reduce the effects of jet lag while you’re at it.

4. Wash your workout gear in the sink or shower.

File this advice under “tips that make the experience better for both the athlete and the family around them.” Workout clothes get plenty stinky when their sweat is left to dry on a shower rod in a hotel bathroom, especially if you’re in a humid or tropical environment. But because you can only carry so much clothing with you and may not have access to laundry facilities, you have to be resourceful. Try, for example, packing workout clothes with odor-resisting fabrics, as well as a small bottle of laundry detergent with which you can quickly wash your workout gear in the hotel sink or shower. Nothing is less appetizing than putting on a pair of stinky shorts for the fourth time, so keeping them moderately clean can help motivate you to work out.

Staying active on the road isn’t just healthy, but it can be stimulating and fun. It can allow you to tour your surroundings in a different way and better understand the culture. Plus, when vacation is over, you may be bummed – but at least you won’t feel out of shape, too.

First published at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2016-05-27/4-ways-to-hack-your-summer-vacation-for-fitness

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