Out There: No Time To Run On The Road

Going on a trip and expecting to have some free time to run? It doesn't always work out. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Working out while traveling can often be quite a challenge.

Last month, one of my handlers at Competitor Group sent me an e-mail asking if I’d be up for a last-minute adventure. “I’m in a bit of a jam,” she said, “would you be willing to head over to Australia for a story?”

Well, twist my arm and call me Sally. Australia? Heck, yeah!

When I got the itinerary, I saw lots of pockets of free time. I fantasized about spending this free time in my trainers, running along the beaches of Cairns and through the rainforest. In my head, it was all very romantic — a honeymoon with running, if you will.

That trip was last week. I got to immerse myself in all my surroundings had to offer — a hot-air balloon ride at dawn, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, a hike through the rainforest, meeting professional athletes from all over the world, eating amazing meals at beautiful restaurants — and it was, in a word, wonderful.

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But I didn’t run. There simply wasn’t enough time. Those pockets of free time on the itinerary did not become a reality. If this was my honeymoon with running, I am the worst spouse in the world.

I’ve broken a sweat one time in the last nine days, and it was in the Sydney airport during a desperate attempt to make my connecting flight home to the United States. (Side note: I made it 10 seconds before the doors closed. You were right, coach — speed work does come in handy!)

Now that I’m home, I’m trying to muster up something that resembles training, but it hasn’t happened yet. In addition to not having enough time to run while I was traveling, I didn’t have time to work, making for an e-mail inbox with hundreds of messages to reply to. Throw in a wicked case of jetlag, and I’ve got the makings of a nice, safe, warm cocoon of sloth and ineptitude.

In the 48 hours I’ve been home, I’ve just been writing, replying to e-mails, and trying to figure out what time zone I’m in. Occasionally, I’ll look at my bike or my running shoes and think I should really get on that. And then I walk to the kitchen and pour myself another cup of coffee.

I can leave the cocoon. I should leave. But right now, getting back on track (literally) feels scary and overwhelming. I fear the first time I run again, my running shoes will let me know just how unhappy they are about being left behind on a hotel bed while I explored Australia. Nine days of laziness and gluttony so close to my next race is not a wise move. Frankly, I’m in denial: Race? What race? Let’s take another nap!

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I know postponing the inevitable will make things even worse, but I’m listening to that tiny part of my brain that foolishly believes I’ll wake up tomorrow with magical six-pack abs and an excess of motivation to train. That kind of thing totally happens all the time, right? I know this is a column and I can’t hear you, but I’m going to take your silence as a yes.


I take off for another assignment next week, this time in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I’ve promised I’ll make the time to train there, even if it means running on a hotel gym treadmill at midnight. I’ve got seven days to get my act together before I leave.

Starting tomorrow.


About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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