I’ve decided that traveling for work is never really easy. You’re uprooted from your weekly routine and usually work hours are much longer while away than they are while in the office. It’s especially worst when you’re marathon training and in the last week before the taper period.
Two weeks ago, I went to Indianapolis for three nights and was fretting about my running and eating schedule. Fortunately with a little preparation, I was able to maintain a decent diet and fit in two planned runs. Some pointers I found that worked for me are:
- –Monitor the weather for the city you’re going to. In my case, I was lucky that the weather was nice and breezy so I didn’t have to wake up too early to run outside.
- –Pack light. I am not a light packer but I’ve found that when I overpack especially for a couple of days, I get overwhelmed when deciding what to wear. For this trip, I packed one pair of running shoes (even though I would have alternated between two if I were at home) and just enough running clothes.
- –Research running routes. Usually for big cities, you can find routes on MapMyRun or even Garmin (if you have an account). Unfortunately, since I didn’t know the area too well and the routes for Indianapolis weren’t terribly recent, I had to dig a little deeper. Lucky for me, the hotel I was staying at had a running route published on their website and they gave me a laminated hard copy version at check-in. Thank you RunWestin!
- –Get a tough workout done at home first. My schedule worked out where I had a later flight on a Tuesday so I was able to get a sprint workout in earlier in the day. Knowing that I got one of my tougher workouts done and out-of-the-way, I felt better knowing I didn’t have to fit that in an unfamiliar environment.
- –Plan your workouts. I mentally planned what I wanted to accomplish each day before I even left. Granted I only had two runs to plan for, so it was much easier, I find that it helps you know what exactly what you want to do in advance.
- –The treadmill is your best friend. Book a hotel that has a treadmill, even if it is in a small gym. If you can’t run outside for whatever reason… weather, safety, lack of route, timing… knowing that there is a treadmill in your hotel will be a savior.
- –Ignore your GPS watch. When running a foreign route, especially with a map in hand, I find that I am stopping a lot, either to take pictures or to make sure I am on the right path. That is when I just ignore the watch for pacing and just go by the distance I want to cover. There is no need to fret about pacing when you should enjoy exploring a new city.
- –Take lots of pictures. I love exploring by foot and am guilty of taking running selfies but I was good about not doing so this time. I did however, take a lot of pictures along the way. It’s a great way to take the focus away from your watch but also to capture memories.
- –Find colorful meals to eat and pack snacks. This part is the hardest. Some meals are preplanned already and a ton of cocktails or socials you need to attend. Where possible, I tried to find an escape for meals that I could control… hence Qdoba and Panera, neither of which are the healthiest options but at least I could count on getting in carbs, protein, and veggies. I also always travel with snacks, my favorite are LaraBars (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is the best flavor).
- –Travel in comfortable clothes. I absolutely cannot sit still, so even an hour plane ride is too long for me. I find that it helps to wear comfortable clothes while traveling. It’s hard to do so for work trips. To make sure I was comfortable on the way home, I changed out of work clothes before checking out of the hotel and put on something that doesn’t look too casual but super comfortable. If you’re looking for a pair of pants that don’t look like workout pants but are just as ridiculously comfortable, try Athleta’s Interlude Ankle Pant (they’re even on sale now, I may need to get an extra pair or two).
- –Read a running book or something inspirational. If you’re mental like me, you’ll need something to take your mind off the fact that maybe you didn’t run as fast as you would have liked and/or can’t handle waiting at an airport. Fortunately, I had my signed copy of Nick Symmonds’ Life Outside the Oval Office. It was such an easy, fast and inspirational read. Nick is a clearly an accomplished runner but I really enjoyed learning more about his background, running goals, and what it’s like at the Olympics from the athlete’s perspective.
Indianapolis was a gorgeous city to run in. I opted to run one day on a treadmill since I had an earlier meeting and was able to fit in some light core work as well. The next day I followed the route that the hotel recommended and added in an extra mile along the canal. It’s a very scenic route which includes the Eiteljorg Museum of Western and Indian Art, Victory Field, Indianapolis Zoo, NCAA Hall of Champions, IUPUI campus, and the Indianapolis Water Company Canal. The route is relatively flat with the exception of the pedestrian bridges and the weather was perfect for running when I was there. Running through a city is one of the best ways to see it and I am so glad I was able to do so in Indianapolis.
See work travel isn’t all that bad, right?!?