Thursday, October 9, 2014

International Vacationing and Running: Compatible or not?

So, here we are 24 days away from NYC. I have been running, training, LTB-ing and... traveling!

Matt and I just got back last week from 13 days in Europe (France, Monaco, Italy) and had an amazing time. The food...the landscape...the architecture...the culture...I could go on for pages and pages (and may very well do this later if I can find time).

I alluded earlier that I had a significant trip planned---but did not mention that it was occurring very close to the peak of my training. I have really been busting it this training cycle (pulling more "doubles" than I would have anticipated and getting up for 6am barre classes and 6:30am running groups---who AM I?!?!) and having a big "X factor" in the middle of my training really concerned me. Would I undo all the hard work/gains I had made over the past 11 weeks?

I am using the NYC Virtual Training Plan (which I LOVE and would use again) and so I posted a question  to one of the coaches asking what I should do. Really, I just wan't sure what kind of facilities would be available at the hotels...if it would be safe to run in the cities we were visiting...if it would even be practical? I mean, let's be honest I knew there was no way I was getting in an 18-miler in Europe---but I could do my best to try and get in the shorter runs or interval sessions if there was a reasonable area or treadmill available. Coach Kim wrote back advising me to play it by ear, so I packed my shoes and exercise gear and headed overseas hoping for the best. I even bought and packed a Pure Barre DVD because some of the hotel descriptions advertised in-room DVD players and I thought that would be another good option.

NOT what happened
 (but a cool mural on a butcher shop
window in Beaune, France)
So what happened?
Let's just say I am glad we walked A TON. EVERYWHERE. Literally for hours every day. I only wish I had worn a pedometer so I knew the insane amount of walking that took place. I'm not complaining, just saying I knew easily it was miles and miles almost every day. I actually didn't gain any weight while I was gone and honestly I can credit it to the constant movement in our lives despite daily wine/cheese/gelato/etc indulgences.

I think I probably could have safely run in Italy (we were staying in Sorrento and I saw a few locals running for exercise), but the timing didn't work out because we were already getting up early to go do things and we were also going to bed late-ish.
he DVD players? Invisible. Fitness Centers in the hotels? Non-existent.

I "formally" worked out exactly ONE time while we were away and it was the last day we were there! We finally made it to our one "Americanized" hotel near the airport (Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport) before our early flight the next morning and at about 10:00 at night, I declared that I was "going to the gym". Matt looked at me like I was crazy but I told him I just needed a good "sweat" before a long day of travel the next day. And that was true. While I had been active, I really craved a nice cardio session so I headed down and predictably had the small, but adequate, gym to myself. I cranked up the one TV station that was in English and busted out 5K @ a 9:40 pace (oops, meant to take it a little easier but damn KPH conversion--haha) and rounded it out with a nice strength session with some free weights and body weight resistance. Mission accomplished.

More than anything it was nice to know that I didn't die from the effort and made me feel confident that I could jump back into training when I got home.

Since returning home, I've done exactly that and my body has felt really good.I even completed a "double" the day after we got home (a 5.5 mile run and a 1 hour Pure Barre class) and was fine the next day. My big test is the 20 miler this weekend but I think if I can get the weather to cooperate (because that's really in my control!) I should be fine. I felt REALLY good after my planned 11 last weekend. Granted 11 is not 20, but I'm pretty sure I could have done 20 last week if it was required.

Moral of the story: Traveling and missing a few runs in the middle of your training cycle isn't going to kill you, so stop stressing about it. Is it ideal? Probably not. But it's more important to be present in the great opportunity to travel. Be as active as possible and do what you can and know the roads (and treadmills) will be waiting for you when you get home!

From one of our walks in Eze, France (outside of Monaco)


  1. Hope you had a great NYC Marathon.. look forward to reading your review.. i just posted my small novel! hahaha

    1. Race was awesome! I've got the review drafted and just need to settle in to upload and add my pictures :)

  2. I would definitely give up running for that trip! So amazing! How was the race?!