Just when you’ve started training again it happens: You glance over at your calendar only to realize you have to travel. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, traveling always throws a wrench into training plans. Staring at the calendar in a panic, you start to worry that you’ll lose all those recent gains you’ve made in the pool. Not to worry! It really does not have to be this way.
Though I don’t travel for work much these days, I did in the past, and I did so while training. On the road I mastered the art of training while traveling, and now I have the following tips to offer to anyone who will soon find themselves in the same predicament.
- Plan ahead: I can’t emphasize this enough. Not planning sets you up for automatic failure. Find out where you’re going, hop on Google and do your research beforehand. Look up gyms, pool locations, schedules, gym fees and even nearby master’s programs that you might be able to join.
- Consider your options: If you’re going to a location that is warm, look into open-water swimming options. If you find any OWS locations check the water-safety conditions such as lifeguard coverage, local weather, waves and boat traffic. And don’t forget to check the local water temperatures, because you may need to pack your wetsuit.
- Pack smartly: I know it sounds silly, BUT pack your swimsuit, cap and goggles in your carry-on luggage, because bags can get lost or delayed, and honestly, these things don’t take up much space. Additionally, though it’s never happened to me, if you have a long layover you may actually be able to sneak in a swim at a location near the airport.
- Pack stretch cords: Every now and then, despite all the planning in the world you won’t be able to secure a place to swim. In this scenario you can use stretch cords to do dry-land resistance exercises to work your muscles in swim-specific ways. Fasten the cords to a doorknob in your hotel room such as the one on the bathroom door, and practice repetitions that closely mimic the range of motions you use in your swim strokes. There are also cords that you can buy to use in small hotel pools; they allow you to attach them to the wall and swim stationary. This can be boring, but it beats not swimming. Those in the pool may find your behavior a tad bit odd, and your family may be left embarrassed for the rest of the trip, but at least you got to swim, right?
- Just plain take a break: If your travels are associated with a vacation and your main goal is to relax, you’re probably better off not thinking about training and taking some down time. In fact, when you first sit down to create a training schedule for yourself or with your coach, consider building this time period into your training schedule as a down or off week.
Hopefully what I mentioned above will help you maintain your fitness, and amidst the obstacles in your schedule, you will be able to continue to see some gains while traveling and feel accomplished when you get back home and into your routine.by