Twenty Travel Tips for Triathletes in TrainingJuly 15, 2016
With my responsibilities as President of one of the fastest growing companies in the nation – eLearning Brothers, I travel a lot. I travel all over the U.S. and around the globe. I know a lot of my friends who leave the running shoes and swimsuit home when they are out on business because of the hassle and the hectic schedule. With a few simple tips, training while traveling can be just as easy as it is back home. Here are my 20 favorite tips:
Stay at Hotels with Real Lap Pools
It may be hard to find but is well worth it to find a hotel or residence with a FULL lap pool to get your swimming in during your trip. Another option if you don’t find a pool is look for open water. This works especially well when you are on the coast or near some lakes. Here is a small list that I have found or stayed at that have 25m pools or better.
Save Space in Your Luggage by Packing Pajamas that Double as Running Clothes for Cold Weather Running.
I have a favorite long sleeve “Live Strong” Nike shirt that is great to sleep in but also has been used many mornings on chillier runs. If you are on a multi-day trip make sure to remove your outer layer as soon as you finish your run so you don’t stink them up. This works especially well if you are just doing a quick 1-2 day business trip. Anything more than that and you will not be sleeping in them.
Air BnB is a Traveling Triathlete’s Friend.
With Air BnB you can choose how close to the beach you are, how close to running trails you stay, if the place has a pool, etc.. etc.. I even stayed at a place in Florida that had a bike I could ride. Air BnB is a great resource for finding room and board across the world.
Make Accommodations Near a Health Club
Last time I was in England we stayed 1 mile away from Virgin Active Health Clubs. I woke up in the morning ran a mile to the club, paid the daily fee, swam for an hour, and ran a mile back home. My wallet was a little lighter but the workout was perfect. If you aren’t able to find a place with a lap pool (Tip #1) then this is your next best option.
Practice Visualization and Mental Exercises
Visualize a perfect swim. Practice your mental game. Watch yourself run up your toughest hill and crush it. If you have hours of dormant time use it to practice your mentally toughness and visualization. Use it to visualize the course on your next race. Picture yourself sweating as you push past the pain and run even faster. Studies show that mental imagery can improve your performance as much as physical practice. If there is something you are struggling with in particular spend time working through it in your mind. Tip #6 has some great books if you are looking for better ways to train mentally.
Audio books are not only great for long runs but great for long flights and drives. Use the time to build a mental fortress that can’t be broken by the pain of effort or the or pressure of competition.
Here are some great reads I have enjoyed to help me be a better athlete:
The Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow
How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald
How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life by Dr. Bob Rotella
Relentless by Tim S. Grover
Mind Gym by David Casstevens
The Art of Mental Training by DC Gonzalez
Chicken Soup for the Runner’s Soul
Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
50/50 by Dean Karnazes
Walk Around and Stretch in the Rear of the Plane.
On longer flights walk around the plane every hour. Set your watch/timer to go off every hour so you can get up and walk up and down the aisle. Longer flights mean wider aisles and longer planes. Do at least 5 laps every hour and then hang out by the restrooms and do a couple of stretches. The stewardesses my think you are a little odd. Just let them know you are a athlete and then they warm right up.
Bring the “Stick of Pain”
The Stick of Pain is your friend especially if you are cramped in an airplane, Airport, or Rental Car for hours on end. It may not feel like a friend when you are rolling out your I.T. bands or sore calves but you will be grateful afterward when your recovery is 3x as fast. I have rolled out my legs in the airport and even during flight. My favorite stick of pain (and I’ve owned 3 now) is the RAD ROD brand because it is so thin. It is thin enough to pack easily and yet durable enough to get the job done. You can get this personal massage stick on Amazon for under $40.
- Bring a “Ball of Pain”
I would say bring a foam roller but they are way too big for a normal carry-on or sometimes even for your checked luggage. The “Ball-o-Pain” fits nicely in all of my bags with room to spare If you don’t have a ball of pain, go make yourself one or get a massage ball from Amazon. I trust Trigger Point and GoFit brands. It is super easy to use. The #1 purpose of the Ball-o-Pain is to get deep myofascial release especially for muscles like the Piriformis which is under your glutes and deep in your calves. Self myofascial release eliminates muscle knots and tension. I also recently learned that rolling out the bottom of my feet with this guy does wonders in releasing tension throughout my entire legs. Another great use is to put the ball on the wall or floor and roll your spine out. Look for a coming tutorial on how to make your own.
Scope Out Trails, Tracks, and Paths ahead of time.
Use MapMyRun to map a course before you even head out on your trip. Use travel as a reward for yourself. See and experience new adventures in running. If you are traveling to Utah send me a tweet and I will show you some amazing runs and will probably bring a few friends. If not Utah, then reach out to others on social media. Find groups that are doing runs. Last but not least, depending on the hotel, most concierges will have a running map or at least recommendations for routes that will make a great run.
If You Have the Time… Do a Race in the City You are Visiting.
Most races happen on a Saturday. If your flight isn’t until late Saturday or you can extend your trip one more day do a race in a new city. It will be one you will always remember. Here is a list of Fun Half Marathons to travel for.
Find a Running or Cycling Club in the Area You are Visiting.
Facebook is a great resource for this. Just type in the city or county that you are visiting and the keyword “Cycling Club”, “Running Club”, “Running Group”, “Open Water”, “Triathlon” or similar keywords and you are sure to find some like minded individuals to pound the pavement or spin your wheels with. Running stores in the area are a great resource also. If you are ever in Utah please leave me a comment here or on Twitter, or Instagram or hit up Elevate Fitness and we will get a group run together for sure. Maybe up in the beautiful Utah mountains.
Not only do compression socks aid in recovery after a long run but also prevents a serious health risk on long flights according to several sources like Aviation Health as quoted in this news article on WebMD:
“Wearing Compression Stockings during long-haul flights may reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs by more than 12 times, a new study shows. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially dangerous type of blood clot that develops in the deep veins of the legs, torso, or arm.”
Don’t Skip Your Workout
Even if this means you have to wake up at 4:00 to get some laps in at the gym before your flight – Do it. If you have to switch a biking day for a running day – Do it. If you can only do miles on the treadmill (dreadmill) – Do it. If it just means strength conditioning with body weight exercises in your hotel room – Do it. It is so easy to skip a workout on the road without a coach or friends to motivate you. Remember – Champions train while others rest.
Take Protein Bars in Your Carryon
Your options on a plane are peanuts (good source of protein and fat), Pretzels (nothing but salty carbs), or a Biscoff Cookie which is a motherlode of sugar. Instead of getting stuck on flights without proper nutrition make sure you cary with you a Protein bar. Protein drinks won’t make it through security but a nice 200 calorie bar will hit the spot. My favorite Protein Bars are Power Crunch – Salted Caramel, Quest Bar – Apple Pie Protein Bar, and Pure Protein Crunch Peanut Butter Balls.
Do you have a little bit of competitiveness in you? If you are reading this article and doing triathlons it means that you probably do. If so, log on to Strava and find some routes close to your accommodations and see if you can “Own a Segment”
Ziploc Freezer bag
I learned this trick on my first Ragnar Relay. Pack all of your running/swimming clothes day-by-day in large Ziploc freezer bags. When you are done just fold them back in and the rest of your suitcase will be sweat and stink free.
Drink Lots and LOTS of Water
Travel is a great way to get dehydrated without knowing it. If you are on a plane keep asking the stewardesses for that refill. Remember that you already follow Tip #7 above so your stewardess understands. If you are going to higher elevations you need to drink more until your body acclimates. Twice as much moisture is exhaled and perspired at 6000 feet than at sea level. That can be over a quart more per day. The problem is even more severe at higher altitudes. Dry arid climates also sap moisture out of your body.
Take Running Shoes That are Easy to Travel With
These Altra One 2.5 are the not only one of the best shoes I have ever run in they are the best shoes to travel with. They are incredibly light and can squish in your suitcase to take up very little room. Don’t bring your thick soled trail running shoes on trips or you won’t have room for anything else.
Enjoy the Adventure
Enjoy the Journey. Run free have an adventure. Log it so you can remember that crazy time you ran through the maze in Morocco, or the Alleys in India, or the Adventures through Hyde Park in London. Even if it is not somewhere grand, have fun and Run Strong!
Curtis J. Morley