This week was a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of travel. At this point, I feel like I should start telling people that we live part-time in Dallas, since we’ve been up there three times in the last six weeks. All of the trips have been fun, so I’m not complaining. All of this time on the road motivated me to share some tips for how I fit in working out while traveling, so if you’re interested in that keep reading!
Sunday, we drove out to my dad’s house to spend a couple of nights in the hill country. We played basketball, rode dirt bikes, and popped fire crackers in the evening. There were only two near death experiences. My dad was responsible for both of them. Really starting to question if he’s the best babysitter for my son. After surviving rogue firecrackers, on Tuesday morning we drove out to Frisco, TX to spend Christmas near my mom and grandmother.
Frisco is a suburb of Dallas, and they have the cutest downtown square with an ice rink and holiday light show. It’s honestly like walking the set of a Hallmark movie, and I am here for that. We didn’t plan this, but the hotel that we stayed at in Frisco was just down the street from the Dallas Cowboys practice gym and field. There’s a fake field with a huge Christmas tree set up in front, and we spent some time throwing the football and hanging out in the Frisco star.
The time off work was amazing. It was really nice to not have to set an alarm every morning, and still be able to get in my runs before the boys were up and ready to get going. The hotel we stayed at had a really nice gym that I took full use of. On our way back, we had planned on spending one night at my dad’s.
Unfortunately, everyone in my dad’s home came down with the flu, so we opted to pass on that. Instead, we utilized some travel points to spend one night in Austin. This is part of the reason that I love travel hacking; having a stash of points can really come in handy when plans change at the last minute and you find yourself needing to avoid the plague. If you’d like to read my post that goes over how we travel hack to get our hotel stays completely free, heck out my post, 7 Creative Ways to Pay For Races.
I try to be as flexible as possible with my workouts when I’m traveling with my boys, but I’m also pretty focused on making sure they happen at some point. I don’t stress if something comes up, and I miss a workout here or there, but I do make an effort. I’m a whole lot less cranky with my family on days that I don’t skip a workout, so it’s important for us all.
I know working out during holidays and vacations can be tricky, so I want to give a quick rundown of some tips that have helped me stay on track and ensure I am still able to workout while traveling. I’m also sharing a couple of home and hotel gym workouts that can be done with minimal equipment.
Working Out While Traveling
- Find Out What’s Available
- I know that when we go to my dad’s home, he has a great home gym with a good amount of equipment. Out of this, I try to book hotels that have a decent gym set up with at least a set of dumbbells and a treadmill. When my schedule allows, I love dropping into CrossFit boxes to get in a workout. If I plan on dropping into a box, I do some research to find a space that’s close and convenient to our hotel. I have friends that do the same thing for spin classes, or have a chain gym membership that allows them access in other cities. Either way, knowing what’s available will help you with the next step, making a plan.
- If you know you’ll be traveling and won’t have any access to a gym, then you can start doing some research. A quick Google search will give you plenty of inspiration and examples of travel workouts that require no equipment and can be done in a hotel room. You might look a little crazy in front of your family, but they’re forced to love you anyways.
- Make a Plan
- There is no one travel workout routine or “how to workout while traveling” formula that will work for everyone. For me, the key to getting in my workouts is to make some sort of loose plan before we travel. I’m type-A and have a co-dependent relationship with planning, so even my vacations have some sort of agenda. To prepare,I look at what my running plan looks like, and how many times I want to do some sort of weight lifting. Lately, I know that on any given week I have six runs and three workouts that I want to try to accomplish, and I like to have a full rest day. I try to make sure my rest day is on a travel day so that I am maximizing my time that I am not traveling as much as possible.
- Once you know what your week looks like, and what you want to get in, you can start mapping out your workouts. For example, three days a week I both run and lift. So I look at what we’ve got scheduled and plan to do my “doubles” on those less busy days. I also know that my toughest run of the week is my tempo run, and I DON’T like to lift that day, so I can schedule that run for a busier day. I wake up a little earlier, get my tempo run done, and then have the whole day to spend doing fun stuff with my boys. This is the plan I followed on Christmas day this trip.
- Now I am not suggesting that you go extreme and set up a pre-planned time blocked vacation (I’m also not telling you not to). But I do recommend looking at what activities you have planned on each of the day trip, and figuring out when it will be most convenient for you to workout.
- Be Realistic
- I know a couple of things when it comes to working out during the holidays. I know I don’t want to wake up obscenely early while I’m on vacation. I also know if I don’t get my workout in somewhat early, it’s a lot less likely to happen. I give myself some balance by still setting an alarm that is later than I typically wake up so I don’t wake up confused at 9am not knowing who I am or what is going on. More often than not, I end up waking up a little before the alarm on my own, and I get ready and workout.
- On days that I plan double workouts, both workouts probably need to happen before we start doing any major activities. On Thursday, we had planned to spend some time at the Frisco star, which was just down the street from our hotel. I decided to wake up early, get my run done, and then go to the star with the boys for the first part of the morning. Once we were done, we went back to the hotel, and while the boys ate some leftovers for lunch, I got in a quick 40min workout in the hotel gym. I got both of my workouts in before 1:30pm, and we had the rest of the day to hang out and have a good time.
- An important part of being realistic is knowing yourself. I know I am not someone that can workout at 8pm. Some people love evenings in the gym. I know I get 89% crankier after 9pm, so I need to not try to fight this and just get my stuff done early in the day. If you are someone who HATES waking up early on vacation, but doesn’t mind working out later in the evenings, don’t plan on waking up at 5am. It’s just not going to happen.
- Have a Plan For Kids
- This really only pertains to family travel, obviously. For my family, we aren’t comfortable leaving our kiddo to hang out in the hotel room alone. This means he needs to be with one or both of us at all times. My husband is very supportive of my athletic goals, and doesn’t have an issue taking care of breakfast alone while I finish running. We have also taken him down to the hotel gym with a tablet or his Nintendo Switch for 30-40min.
- I know a lot of people feel like they can’t find time to workout when they travel with children, and I just want to say that it’s 100% no big deal to skip workouts if you don’t want to mess with it. But by the same token, it’s also possible to keep strength or marathon training while traveling, even with children. It just takes some creativity and troubleshooting sometimes. Some other great ways to get in some exercise with kids are going on group bike rides, or having your kid ride their bike with you while you run, going kayaking, etc. It’s not obligatory, but it’s possible.
These are the things that have helped me to get my workouts in while traveling and staying in hotels over the holidays. Over Thanksgiving, I decided to skip a workout despite having a plan. I just didn’t feel like doing it, so I didn’t. And that’s cool too. Over Christmas, I got in all of my workouts, and that was nice, but I didn’t stress about making sure they happened. I know which workouts and runs need to be prioritized, and I make sure those get done. I create a plan for the rest, and if other fun things get in the way, it’s fine. What has helped you make time to training while traveling?
Total Miles: 44.5
Hansons Marathon Method, Week 4
How the Runs Felt
I shared on my Instagram that I have decided to start training for a marathon at the end of March, with the hopes of being able to get a Boston Qualifying time before the summer. I’m fully prepared for the possibility that my body could revolt, and the wheels could fall off a few weeks in, but right now I am feeling pretty great. The race that I have my eye on means that I am starting my training at week four of the Hansons plan. I have confidence that my last training block has put me in a good position to be ok without those first couple of warm up weeks in the plan.
If things start falling apart, I’ll make the decision to either drop the race plans all together, or simply train for volume and run the marathon for fun. I am completely aware that only truly insane individuals even say they are running a marathon for fun. You don’t need to send me your psychiatrist recommends; I know it is lunacy. All that being said, I started this week with my track workout at my dad’s house, and it felt amazing and almost effortless. It was also cold AF for a Texas runner, so I think that helped (I couldn’t really feel how hard my legs were working because I couldn’t really feel them at all).
After Monday, the rest of my runs were all done on the treadmill. I was trying to be time efficient, and walking down to the hotel gym was faster than trying to find somewhere outside to run. My Disney+ subscription really came in handy during those training runs.
My tempo run felt fairly tough, which I was expecting. I’m adjusting my paces during this training block to shoot for a 3:25, which gives me a five minute buffer for what I would need to run for a Boston Qualifying time (3:30 for my age group). Surprisingly, the Saturday 10 miler on the treadmill didn’t feel too difficult, and I absolutely attribute this to getting very interested in a new series on my phone. Technology can be really great.
Overall, the runs all felt good enough to give me confidence in my decision to start marathon training right away.
How the WODs felt
I’m sharing graphics of all of my workouts this week. I really like finding workouts on pinterest or screen-shotting WODs that don’t require much equipment for when I travel. Feel free to pin any of these for quick reference, or you can always find my workouts here. This week all of my workouts felt pretty great. I went a little heavier than last week on my first barbell workout at my dad’s house. My other two workouts were done with dumbbells in hotel gyms, but could easily be done with a barbell if you have one available and prefer that.
What I’ve Been Listening To
I’m finally wrapping up on Murder in Oregon and Urge to Kill. I am still loving Organized Crime; I actually have a hard time not cracking up during some of my runs when I listen to it. I’ve also listened to a couple episodes of Small Town Murder. I like that they’re longer, so I don’t have to find another episode mid-run as often. The comedians that host the podcast are absolutely hilarious, but I will say that it sometimes takes a LONG time to get to the actual murder, so be sure you have a good chunk of time to devote before you start listening to them.
What Went Well
I got in all of my workouts during our travel, and that itself is a pretty great accomplishment to me. I also had a lot of time spent with my boys and our friends and family. My sleep this week was great, which is super rare for me while we travel, but I think it was attributed to low stress and some large glasses of wine.
What Went Shitty
My nutrition and hydration was all over the place this week. We didn’t do a big Christmas dinner with my family; we had a great dinner at a nice restaurant in Frisco instead. Outside of that, there were some days that we were out and about so much that I basically only ate snacks until dinner. There were other days where we ate several large meals. It was just really inconsistent, which isn’t ideal, but is just part of what I expect when we travel sometimes.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week will involve zero travel, so I plan to get back to some consistency in my nutrition and training.