How to Stick to Your Training While on Vacation

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Whether for work or play, traveling in the middle of a training cycle is not uncommon for many runners, but how you deal with getting your miles in while away from home can help ensure you still nab that PR on race day.

“You can make it work if you plan,” said Courtney Dredden Carter, 35, from D.C. who frequently travels for her job while training for half marathons and marathons. “As soon as you know you’ll have that trip, look at your training schedule and adjust if you need to,” she added. “Don’t skip running but maybe move a workout or a long run to set yourself up for success.”

When she’s on the road, Carter moves her workouts so she only has one hard run to do and makes sure to run first thing in the morning, which also has an extra benefit of getting to know the lay of the land. “When I’m someplace I want to explore, running first thing can help give me a sense of the area and even help me pick out places that I’d like to visit later in the day,” she said.

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Thirty-two-year-old Linzie Starr of Fontana, California also travels often for work and said he looks for a hotel with a gym or located in an area he can easily get a run in outside. Working out early is also key, “You never know if a client or business partner wants to take you to dinner or if meetings run long.”

His mindset around running likely helps, too. He views training as just as important as having lunch or dinner. “If you can plan ahead to get those miles in, make them part of your itinerary. Build it into your day,” shared Starr. Even when he’s on the road, Starr gets his runs in first thing to “earn” his day. “This way my run is done and I don’t have to worry about it and can focus on relaxing.”

Oceanside, California resident Carlee Padot McClurg does everything she can to get in her scheduled workouts on vacation, even if that means waking up at 3 a.m. or breaking up a long run. Flexibility and planning ahead is king, including being willing to move runs. If you’re training for a marathon, McClurg suggests getting in a long run before you go on vacation if you don’t think you’ll be get it in while you’re gone. Or if you need to get in a track workout, find one in the city you’re going to be visiting before you go.

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Running also provides a unique way to explore the area you’re visiting—just make sure you do your homework to get a feel for the terrain, what gear or fuel you might need and what path to take, McClurg said. Training while away can also have the unexpected benefit of preparing you for the curve balls that race day throws. Used to sunny Southern California running weather, McClurg went on a three-week road trip to the Pacific Northwest with her husband in the weeks leading up to this year’s Boston Marathon. She quickly got used to rainy runs, unaware of just how beneficial that would soon be.

“When I showed up to the starting line in Hopkinton and we were experiencing torrential downpours, insane winds and freezing conditions I knew I could tackle the weather because I had done so while out on the road,” she said. “Had I solely done all of my runs in sunny SoCal, I think the conditions would have thrown me for a bigger loop than they did because I hadn’t proven to myself that I was weatherproof!”

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