I really hate being away, especially during this time of year. I feel like it throws me off track of my regimen, team practices, and creates havoc with my eating. However, some things are just unfortunately of my control – like my travel season for work. There are things though that are in my control and learning what works from this trip will be a lifesaver (well, marathon training-save) for the rest of my travels.
Now on to my list of important things to consider while marathon training and traveling, in no particular order:
- Packing ahead – I tried my hardest to bring as much as I can from home — the obvious items: running clothes, shoes, watch, etc are a no brainer, but the food is much harder to plan for. I absolutely love larabars these days. Can you believe they have awesome names like apple pie and only have dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon in them? They are a bit pricey but full of natural goodness.
- Supermarket – I absolutely love Publix! I know they are not up north, but every time I’ve been in one in Florida or Georgia, I absolutely loved it. This time I loved Publix so much, I went there twice to stock up on “Cindy snacks.” Cindy snacks, like Scobby snacks are very important to me now especially, since I eat non-stop. At Publix, I stocked up on bottled water, pretzels, yogurt (and even purchased spoons), bananas, chocolate milk, granola bars, and smoothies. Having all of these items at my finger tips as I travel around during the day was so important as it allowed me to eat and drink at the right times to prepare for my workouts.
- Refrigerator – Obviously my smoothies and yogurt wouldn’t survive if I didn’t have a refrigerator in my hotel room. Thank goodness for that! If you can, only look for hotels that have a mini fridge in the room.
- Hotel with a gym – Ideally, the gym has a nice treadmill. I don’t really care about anything else, honestly. Yeah, I mean it would be great if there is a whole weight room and mats, but I can do that when I am home and I can still do lunges, squats, and core work without any of that fancy stuff. The treadmill is a make or break, so definitely look for a good one, you can roughly tell from pictures on the hotel’s website. Fortunately for me the one at the hotel I stayed in Atlanta did. And it even had mats for me to plank on a more comfortable surface! Winner!
- Hotel near a park – Now, I’m asking for too much, right? Knowing an Atlanta-insider really saved me on this one. I was told to only stay in one particular part of town – midtown – and it turns out that not only was the hotel centrally located to all major highways that I needed to access, it was also a mile from Piedmont Park (would have been better if it was a flat route to the park, now I’m just being annoying, I know), a park that I was lucky to have had the chance to run in once before so at the very least, I wasn’t completely foreign to it. I missed my reservoir loops speed work with the team this week and needed to find a flat surface of roughly 1-2 miles and luckily the track at Piedmont Park is approximately 0.55 miles around. With two loops for each of my three tempo runs, I was able to attempt to mimic the reservoir loops I would have done with the team in Central Park. My times appear to be slightly faster than last month which is great but the distance is a little shorter – 1st loops: 8:12 min/mile; 2nd loops: 8:18 min/mile; 3rd loops: 8:38 min/mile.
- Hotel with breakfast options – Sometimes it is so much easier to not have to go out of the hotel to hunt down food in the morning. It is even better when the hotel offers a breakfast buffet so you can pick from what you’d like. In my case, I was able to order omelets, pancakes, waffles, french toast, and pick items on the buffet bar – oatmeal, fruit, cereal, yogurt, bread, and pastries. No, I didn’t all this for breakfast, but I did eat fruit, oatmeal, and an egg white omelet with veggies and cheese.
|I promise I don’t eat omelets with a spoon!|
- Speaking with locals or googling running routes – It doesn’t always work out to be near a park, have a good treadmill in the hotel, or even know the area that well that you’re in. This is when speaking with locals or googling running routes really helps. Fortunately in Atlanta, I didn’t have to do so but when I was in Fire Island over Labor Day weekend, I did both – asked locals the best way to get a certain mileage and googled running routes. Thanks to MapMyRun.com, you can search other runners who saved their routes publicly.
While training for a marathon or any other race may not be ideal while you are traveling whether for pleasure or work, it is always great to plan ahead. I am lucky so far for a successful running week while away.
Are there any other pointers that are good to consider when traveling and training?