TravelIn a continuing collaboration with Scott over at Straight to the Bar, we will be writing about training and travel throughout the month of September. This week I would like to talk about evaluating the available training options when you travel.

Keeping up with your training while you are on the road can be very difficult. You basically have three options available to you:

  • Exercise in your room
  • Exercise in a hotel fitness center (or a local gym)
  • Exercise outside

General Advice

The key to maintaining your fitness while you travel is to be flexible.

If you can plan your training schedule in advance around a trip that you know that you are going to make, then write in a cut-back or recovery week for the time that you will be gone. That way, you can get a little exercise in, but if you do not train every day you will be at a point where your body is looking to rest a little anyway.

Do not stress out about missing workouts. Look into the area ahead of time, and bring whatever equipment that you are going to need that is not going to be readily available.

If there is flexibility in your travel planning, then make arrangements at your destination so that training will be easier, such as getting a hotel near a public track or gym or going on vacation to a city with a lot of public parks or hiking trails. You could just do as I do, and plan your vacations around a marathon, which provides a very easy avenue to get a workout in while you are traveling.

When you are planning your workouts around your traveling schedule, remember to bear in mind that you will probably be walking a little more often than you may be used to, especially if you are traveling to a city with good public transportation. This is yet one more reason not to plan a week of hard workouts while you are away.

Exercising in your room

The most convenient place to get a workout in is in your hotel room. You could bring some bands with you to use in your room, or perform body weight exercises such as pushups or hindu squats. Most hotel rooms allow you to control the temperature in your room, so you can literally wake up, get in a 10 or 20 minute body weight session, and be on your way.

Exercising in a hotel fitness center (or local gym)

Not all hotels will have a decent fitness center, but many have at least a rudimentary one. There will rarely be free weights, but you will usually be able to find a treadmill and a few other cardio machines, and perhaps a machine that allows you to do various weight bearing exercises. Your room fees will often pay for your access to the fitness center whether you use it or not.

Your hotel may have a pool that you could swim in, but you will have to search for any that have one worth swimming laps in. You could do some very light swimming or aqua jogging.

Another option is to get a membership at a national health club, or a short term membership at a local health club. If there is a gym near your hotel, then it should be easy to hop over and have access to a full range of free weights that will allow you to perform your normal workouts without missing any time. If you call ahead, you may be able to get a free or promotional rate for a week.

Exercise Outside

The third option is to exercise outside. Try to find a local track or running trails, or take a walking tour of a city or local landmark. If your hotel room is really small, you can always head outside and do your body weight exercises under the sun or stars.

Remember that you don’t need to be going full blast for every workout, so if you manage to get outside then try to slow down a little and enjoy your surroundings. It can be refreshing to be in an unfamiliar locale, and it can be fun to run by new people and see some different sights. You may want to carry a map with you, though; it can be easier to get lost when you do not know where you are to begin with.

Can you think of any other tips to share for a travelers who want to fit some training into their schedules?