There are times when marathon training and family vacations cross paths. It certainly isn’t ideal, but sometimes it just happens. If you’re just a few weeks out from the big race, skipping runs may not be an option. But with a little planning ahead, some creative juggling and a whole lot of will-power, you can successfully maintain marathon training when you’re on vacation.
Plan out your runs prior to leaving. Before leaving for vacation, take a look at your training plan. If you’ve got a little wiggle room in your training schedule, consider making your vacation week a step-back week (flanked by two “harder” weeks before and after), where you run less mileage and a long run that only requires an hour to an hour and a half of running. Plan out designated rest days, and make your running days count with harder efforts like intervals, a tempo run or a fartlek run. Having a plan ahead of time will help ensure you don’t “check-out” altogether and skip important runs.
Coordinate with your partner. Be sure to coordinate your running schedule with your partner and plan the ideal time for your runs to have the least impact on family activities. For some this may mean sneaking out in the morning while every one is still asleep, logging miles as little ones nap or opting out of an activity and letting your partner take the kids for a few hours.
Map your runs and double check. Mapping ahead of time is a great way to get an idea of where you’ll be running, especially if you’re in a new area. There is a chance the mapped view of your run won’t tell you if a sidewalk ends or if you’ve planned a route that is notoriously busy in rush hour. Double check your plans with the hotel concierge or a friend in the area to make sure the route you plan to run is safe.
Stay hydrated. Often times vacation travel leaves us dehydrated or it can often mean enjoying more adult beverages than normal. Make sure give special attention to your hydration levels to ensure you feel good on your runs instead of sluggish and worn down. Travel can also mean your immune system is working overtime. Staying hydrated can help you avoid getting sick.
Factor in time on your feet. Some vacations mean extra walking and time on your feet as you tour around a new place. Many activity trackers and smart phones can help you see how far you’ve walked. If you have a planned easy, low-mileage run consider swapping it for a day of walking and a short cross training session.
Be flexible. Above all, don’t forget to be flexible. Consider talking with a certified coach or a seasoned runner about how to move around your runs based on your vacation schedule. Be ready to modify a run, shorten one day’s run, go longer than planned the next or skip a run altogether depending on your vacation plans. Yes, your marathon is important but time with your family certainly wins out. Set your intentions for each day and be sure to make relaxing with your family one of them.