This was another hectic week for me, with work and travel and training. Whew, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Working out while traveling for work is not easy, but it’s something I’m not willing to skimp on. So, Sunday I headed up to Austin for work, and got to meet up with my mom for a bougie dinner. She was in town for the Austin marathon, and I’m glad we got to spend some time talking about the race and everything else going on.
She is semi-responsible for getting me interested in running; by attacking my ego and making false claims that I couldn’t finish a half-marathon even though she could. IT’S BEEN FUN BEATING YOU IN EVERY RACE, MOM.
I dropped into a few classes in Austin with ClassPass. It was nice to break up the routine a little, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an exhausting week with more meetings and peopling than I prefer. Tuesday, I met up with a coworker and client who recently ran the half-marathon, and we checked out a Pilates class. I’ll talk more about that later, but I have to say, I’ve never felt like my core was weaker.
I headed back Wednesday, and got back to my regular routine. I honestly felt like this week was 10 days long, but I’m happy I survived.
With all of the work travel I’ve been juggling lately, I’ve been thinking about how much of a challenge it can be to stay motivated and focused on fitness goals and marathon training with a career that requires consistent travel. I’ve been navigating this for the past three years, and while I certainly don’t have it down to a science, I think I do fairly well overall. I know that there are times where traveling can be a nice break from structured workouts, but smack in the middle of a marathon training block isn’t the ideal time to cut corners.
So, I want to share some of the things that have helped me continue to prioritize training, even with a hectic work schedule.
Tips for Working Out While Traveling For Work
Prioritize the Important Workouts
In a perfect world, every single scheduled and programmed workout would happen regardless of work travel or other obligations. Do you live in this perfect world? If so, I’d like to know at what age you sold your soul, because you are clearly not 100% human. In my world, with my soul perfectly intact, I’m able to get about 90% of my workouts in on an average travel week, and honestly, I feel like that’s worth a good back pat.
Since I already know there’s a chance that one or more my workouts is not going to happen, I like to go into my week with a strong understanding of the non-negotiable, need to happen, must find a way workouts. I make sure that these workouts get scheduled at times that I know will not be subjected to last minute schedule changes or unexpected “fires.” So, like, 5am usually. Most of my work fires don’t start until at least 7:30. I love my career, I love my career, I love my career.
While I’m looking at my calendar, and silently crying over lost sleep, I also make sure to note any specific work obligations that fall outside of my typical working hours. So team dinners or meetings or work-related errands that have to happen at a specific time, those get blocked out in addition to my regular schedule. Now, I have a general idea of where the semi-negotiable workouts can be worked in. As much as I love my weekday routine, where I know all of my workouts will happen at a specific time, in a specific order, I’ve found that I have to be much more flexible with my scheduling on busy travel weeks. It irritates my type-A personality, but I’ve come to recognize that it’s one of the things I just can’t change.
Once I’ve got my week planned out, like the control freak I readily admit to being, I know how many workouts need to happen while I’m not at home. This is important information, because I hate overpacking. I look at my calendar and decide which runs will be outside, which will be on the treadmill, what the weather looks like, and how many lifting workouts I’m going to squeeze in. And only after all of this insanity do I pack. Few things irritate me more than not having the workout clothes I need to get all of my workouts done comfortably. Little bonus tip from me: PACK EXTRA SOCKS.
And while I’m talking about strategic packing, there’s a few fitness-related items that I have listed out in my brain that need to be packed as well. Things like chargers for my Garmin and Aftershokz . Because there’s no way on the planet I’m going to survive a 7 mile treadmill run at 5am without being able to pull up Netflix (and since I’m not a gym jerk, I always make sure to have my headphones so everyone else doesn’t have to listen to my ridiculous soap operas while they try to workout). I also consider which runs will require some sort of fuel, which runs might require my Nathan SpeedDraw handheld bottle, and I triple check that I’ve packed my running shoes.
It might seem a little silly, but if you want to give yourself a fighting chance at making all of the training happen, you’ve got to pack intelligently.
Have a Few Hotel Friendly Workouts Ready to Go
As much as I’ve loved using ClassPass to drop into CrossFit WODs and pilates classes, I know there have been plenty of times where I just don’t have the time available for a full on class. For these times, I’ve found it really helpful to have a handful of hotel friendly workouts that I can rely on. I’ve found some great options that only require a kettlebell or set of dumbbells (which most hotel gyms have) on Pinterest.
I follow an IG account called streetparking that posts lots of CrossFit-style workouts that require minimal time and equipment. They also have a monthly membership plan if you want access to more options and idea’s. I’ve shared that I love pulling up the YouTube channel Yoga with Adrienne for some stretching video’s, and there’s tons of YouTube channels that offer core workouts and strength training that can be done almost anywhere. A simple “dumbbell workout” search will give you tons of options.
I also have some friends who have great things to say about Tone It Up workouts, and while I know they also offer a membership program, I believe they have several workouts posted on their website. Finally, I have a couple of options that require very minimal equipment posted on my Workouts Page if you’d like to take a look. All this to say, even if you only have your body weight, the space in your room, and 20 minutes, you can squeeze in a workout if you’re motivated. So no excuses.
Get Creative With Running Locations
If you work out of town consistently, and you’re training for a half or full marathon, you are probably going to have to get somewhat creative in figuring out where to run. You might have to make friends with the treadmill if you’re limited on time, or not staying somewhere you are comfortable running in the time you have available.
The treadmill is not demonic, I promise. And if that poor man can run a damn ultra marathon in his living room, we can all get in a few treadmill miles. If you need a few suggestions on how to enjoy the treadmill a little more, check out MotherRunners guest post Treadmill Tips.
There’s also plenty of apps to help you find solid running routes away from home. Strava and MapMyRun can pull up running routes in almost any area that other runners can recommend and give helpful information on. AllTrails is a great app that lists trail running locations, routes, and trail maps to prevent you from unintentionally turning your 6 mile run into a 10 miler. Also, I’ve had decent luck with hotel concierge’s making some good recommendations on places to check out, which is how I stumbled on the Howard Peak Greenway trail system for the first time.
Include Your Co-Workers
Depending on your company and its culture, you may have some luck inviting your coworkers to join in exploring workout locations while traveling for business. I shared that a coworker, friend, and client joined me in my Pilates adventure and runs in the past. You might be able to get away with suggesting a fun workout class as a team building exercise. It isn’t an option for everyone, but if it is, it certainly makes working out easier to fit in if it feels like part of the work situation.
My final piece of advice on getting in workouts during business travel is to make sure you are eating like reasonable human being. I am in full support of enjoying happy hour, or some amazing (but not super healthy) local food, but I also know that if I eat like absolute trash, I’m going to feel like absolute trash.
And working out while traveling for work is hard enough already. No need to make it harder by adding a raging hangover or a weeks’ worth of spicy Korean BBQ to the mix. Balance is important here, especially if there are networking and social obligations to factor in. If you want more information on how I keep my nutrition and fueling somewhat reasonable while I travel, take a look at my How to Eat Healthy While Traveling post.
Consider Hiring a Coach
One of the best ways to stay on track with running is by hiring a coach. A coach can help you figure out how to map out your week around your work, hold you accountable for working towards your goals, and work to find solutions to any barriers that may come your way. A good coach can also help you figure out what to do if you happen to miss a workout here or there due to travel, work, or family commitments. If you’re interested in coaching, or have any question about what a coaching relationship would look like, please reach out to me through my Contact Me page.
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 55
Hansons Marathon Method, Week 13
How the Runs Felt
This week felt better run-wise, though I have to admit I’m still feeling that cumulative fatigue. I moved my strength run this week to Wednesday evening, since I was in Austin and I wanted run it on the board walk section of Town Lake. It wasn’t easy on my legs or lungs to run that late in the day, but it was definitely worth it to run in that area.
My tempo run also went really well. I was able to maintain my pacing without feeling like I was escaping from Alcatraz. I had to start inside on the treadmill, because of a quick thunderstorm, but was able to move outside for about the last 6 miles. Friday’s easy run was done on the treadmill as well, because of limited time, but it gave me an opportunity to catch up on my Netflix 🙂
It’s been encouraging to know that my paces and running are still feeling strong, even though during the day I’m feeling pretty freaking tired. I caught another lunch time nap on Thursday, and I’m thinking this may have to become routine for me throughout the rest of this training.
Saturday’s long run was the exception to my week of strength. I felt pretty fatigued and depleted for most of the run, but I was able to lean into some of the tricks I shared in my recent post (especially promising myself a hearty stack of pancakes afterwards) and finish out my run.
Related Post: How to Keep Running When You Want to Quit
I’ve hit that point where even my recovery weeks are reaching 55+ miles, and it requires a good amount of recovery to stay on track. I keep reminding myself that at this point in my last training program, I felt like I was dying of fatigue, so there’s definitely progress. It’s been encouraging to be able to look at back at those weeks. I guess that’s why training journals are so frequently recommended.
Related Post: Weekly Recap: 11.17.19 – Cumulative Fatigue
What I’ve Been Listening To
I’m still loving Down the Hill, it’s definitely a sad story, but so unique. I’ve also started listening to And That’s Why We Drink. It’s a hilarious podcast that mixes true crime and the paranormal, and I am loving it. It’s so freaking entertaining. I caught a pretty inspiring podcast on Training for Ultra, where the host interviewed two people who recently completed their first 100k race. It got me pretty excited to shift over to training for my first 50 miler this spring.
On the treadmill this week, I started a new NetFlix series, Gentefied. I think Netflix really nailed it with this one about culture and navigating a continuously changing climate and environment. It’s also funny AF.
How the WODs felt
I actually felt stronger this week, despite the fatigue. Monday was another repeat WOD for me when I dropped into Roka in Austin. Tuesday, I decided to use some ClassPass points before they expired and I dropped into a Pilates class with a girlfriend from work. Pilates isn’t something I’m interested in incorporating on a regular basis, but I will say it was a tough core workout. And it was a perfect cross-training workout for my rest day. That’s definitely one of the things I’ve loved about ClassPass; it’s motivated me to check out classes I wouldn’t normally consider.
Wednesday’s workout was a tough one, for sure. Especially the thrusters, which I particularly hate. But I’m glad I was able to get through it and finish.
What Went Well
My nutrition has still been on target, despite my traveling. I took advantage of the opportunity to pick up some fun travel options at Trader Joe’s, and I just have to tell ya’ll. The chocolate hummus. It is incredible.
I honestly don’t think I could get through the workouts lately if I wasn’t fueling well. My runs have been feeling particularly strong this week, and I was able to get outside much more than previous weeks. Always goes a long way to keep me from losing my mind. I’ve been making it a point to increase my hydration, and have been fairly consistent there. I’ve also been prioritizing my sleep with early bedtimes and lunch time naps. Never hate getting extra sleeps or snacks.
What Went Shitty
I’ve been staying on top of my core and stretching, but this week was not my best. Outside of the pilates class on Tuesday, I don’t think I got in any other core work. I also only got in some decent mobility work once this week. Definitely not my best. The travel and the fatigue kinda killed my motivation to plank and stretch. I know how much the accessory has impacted my running, so I know I need to get back on it.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week will probably be just as hectic as this week at work, but I know I can get in some core work AND stretching on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I’m writing it out so I hold myself accountable.