How to train on vacation

I always tell people my favorite race distance is 10k. Part of that is I just think it is a fun distance to run but the other reason is that I am really, really, REALLY bad about training consistently for any distance longer than 6 miles. I don’t tend to enjoy getting up early on Saturday mornings (SHOCKING, I know…) and so my long runs seem to just not happen. All this means that whenever I decide I want to do a half-marathon it never seems to end well.

So. Many. Injuries.

Well crazy me decided it was time to attempt my second half-marathon (last year’s never happened when I came down with bronchitis the day before). To ensure accountability I signed up for a half marathon training program with my local running store! I am (fingers crossed) hoping this will end in a successful half-marathon finish! Training started a couple weeks ago but I was only able to attend the first run and then I missed the next three runs because I was off for a 10-day vacation to Mammoth Caves, Kentucky, Chicago, and Naperville. This was my first test of dedication.

Prioritizing my homework runs (especially the two long ones) while on vacation was a challenge for me. I like to sloth it up on vacation and do a whole lot of nothing.

However, fear of showing up to the next training run horribly out of shape and unable to keep up was a great motivating factor. With my sister as my cheerleader we were able to complete all but one of my homework runs. Considering it was replaced with LOTS of hiking and sightseeing I am going to call that a success.

Here are the five things I do to ensure I reach my fitness goals while on vacation:

  1. Pack everything and then double check: Nothing is worse than starting your vacation with the best of intentions only to reach your destination and notice you forgot your running shoes, or sports bra. I make a list, and check it twice, and then I check it again just to make sure that I’m not missing any of my non-negotiables.
  2. Have a running buddy: This will make it easier to stay motivated when all you’d rather do on vacation is laze about. My sister was able to run with me, and it made it a lot more fun, especially since we were running new, unfamiliar routes.
  3. Have a plan: Before leaving I reviewed my Training Program’s schedule and talked to my pacer to ensure I knew what I should be aiming for with my runs. I couldn’t follow their schedule exactly but I was able to create one that ensured I met the program goals.
  4. But be flexible: It’s vacation! A time to relax, not increase stress, so if you miss a run because you wanted to do something else instead, your pace isn’t quite right, or your workout got cut short, don’t worry about it. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and instead figure out your plan moving forward.
  5. Mix it up: Does your hotel have a pool and you love swimming? Then go swimming! Take hikes, or runs in new places! Practice yoga outside! Incorporate your workouts into your vacation and you’ll find they’re a lot more enjoyable!  

What are some things you’ve done to ensure your fitness routine stays on track even when on vacation?