Fact: it’s a challenge to keep up with your daily habits while you’re traveling, no matter what category they fall into. The layers of difficulty can quickly pile up depending on where you’re going, for how long, why, how you’re getting there, and you know, any other life things you may have going on at the time!
I never turn down an opportunity to travel, simply because it means branching out of the norm and getting some sort of experience. But as of late the travel has been frequent, so I’ve had to get creative in maintaining some sense of normalcy for my system-in-marathon-training.
Last week I got to head up north to Seattle for four days to conduct a few coaching trainings. I love that city. Love it. But in those four days my schedule also included three runs – one of which would be over 3 hours. I wanted to eat healthy for those runs, to avoid being the girl in Seattle seen frantically searching for public bathrooms in her running attire. And I wanted to keep stress levels low so that my heart wouldn’t decide it had its own plans for those miles.
Here’s how that stay-on-track strategy looks, in my world….
1) Bring what you love (and what you need*)!
I packed peanut butter, fruit, homemade trail mix (pepitas, almonds, cashews, dried blueberries and raisins), Larabars and a refillable water bottle. I also packed my Long-Run *essentials: handheld water bottle, hat and fuel.
I’ve learned to pack nut-butter in tupper-ware, as the TSA deems the ‘jar’ a liquid in some cases. And that’s been confiscated. And that was a bad day.
2) Shop for the rest!
Once I got myself to the hotel, I immediately looked up a grocery store. As you might assume, the Seattle area is saturated with healthy options! So, this one was easy. I headed straight to Trader Joe’s after lunch (see: leftover Thai food, ‘Thank you!”) and stocked up on the good stuff:
Obviously that tiny tupper-ware of peanut-butter wouldn’t suffice for the whole weekend. The other things: bananas, salad for lunch the next day, organic peaches and apples, plums, (not pictured) sparkling water and sea-salt + almond dark chocolate.
This was one of three grocery-store stops in 4 days. Just trying to do my part for the health food store economy!
3) Use the web to plan ahead!
It’s full of (mostly good) information. Exhibit A: MapMyRun.com
Friday morning had “3:10 // 20 miles” on the schedule (i.e. run for that amount of time, as prescribed, and don’t exceed 20 miles). I did a quick search of the hotel’s zip code with a mileage filter and found a ton of options. This search also led me to quite a few park trails in the area, which would be ideal for many miles during the Friday morning commuting hours.
Another vital MapMyRun tool while running in Seattle? The elevation chart. It took me a while, but I finally mapped a route that only included approximately 1,000 ft of climbing over those three hours. That’s skill.
4) Stick to your workout ‘plan’ (make one, first).
Exploring new cities with a run is always fun, but I rarely feel motivated to do so before tying up the laces and convincing myself to GO. As soon as the legs get moving, I’m happy. In three runs I discovered crazy-hilly neighborhoods, a cute little park near my hotel and a lovely downtown area to return to for some afternoon sun-soaking and planking.
Having a plans works wonders; I don’t do as well with the “we’ll just see what happens!”. On this trip I wanted to check a few training boxes and, of course, stick to the plank challenge!
When on vacation, attempt a new plank-hold record. At least when your arms and legs start shaking, no one’s watching your craziness…or judging your continuous plank-selfies…
5) Head back to the grocery store!
I.e. Take advantage of the Whole Foods (or similar available option) hot + cold bars.
In four days I managed to only eat “out” twice. I was lucky to have stayed in the Hyatt House Hotel, where each room is stocked with a few kitchen supplies and a full-sized fridge. But even a mini one would have sufficed here – there’s luxury in having a real plate to eat off of, along with real utensils. Bliss!
Thursday afternoon I went to Whole Foods and picked up the following from the buffet bars:
Dinner (Pre-LR): honey-ginger salmon, steamed kale, roasted vegetables (squash, onions and peppers), roasted cumin sweet potatoes.
Breakfast (Post-LR): two hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes (from the salad bar), plain roasted sweet potatoes, 1 avocado (from produce section). (I already had my pre-run banana + Peanut-butter ready to go – see picture above.)
Before heading to the airport on Saturday, I made my third trip to WF in as many days. I wanted to make sure lunch was full of fresh deliciousness, since dinner in an airport is rarely promising…
From the WF salad bar: mixed greens, grated carrots, marinated mushrooms, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, diced celery, Italian dressing and a side of roasted sweet potatoes. To drink: lemon-flavored sparkling water.
All-in-all, pretty successful trip. I eased right back into training – thankfully with the new pair of kicks that finally arrived on my doorstep. The only thing that’s different is I’ll be right back to running along the bay this week, jonesin’ for that PNW sunshine and already-cooked, ready-to-eat meals.
For those who travel often – work, or wanderlusting – what are some of your must-dos to keep things feeling somewhat normal?