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Exercise On Vacation: 7 Tips To Stay Fit While On Vacation

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Training is such an integral part of runners that we don’t even blink when someone asks if we train while traveling. No matter the reason for traveling, we pack up a pair of running shoes to stay on track with our training routine.

If you have questions pertaining to staying fit and running while on vacation, we have answers for you – and some of the answers might surprise you.

Here are 7 tips to help you stay fit while on vacation!

Should I Be Working Out While On Vacation?

Those who follow my writing know I often answer a question by posing more questions. Do you want to run while on vacation? Are you deep into training for something? What are your short-term goals? How do those short-term goals fit into your long-term goals?

First question: Do you want to run while on vacation? If you do, then it is a no-brainer that you should. Unless, of course, doing so would adversely impact the others with whom you are traveling.

What do I mean by that? Let’s say your family really wants to go on a tour that leaves at 7:00 a.m., and the run you have planned interferes with that plan. If that is the case, maybe you should change your plans. A vacation should be a break for everyone involved. Try to balance having fun with maintaining your regiment. 

working out when traveling
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

If you are in deep training for an event, you may want to stay committed to your program. Especially if doing so does not negatively impact your travel partners or the plans you have all made together. If you can get all of your workouts in and still manage to have all the fun, why wouldn’t you?

Looking at your short and long-term goals can also help you decide if you should be working out while on vacation. If your current goal is just to stay in 5K shape, you can likely take a few days off without negatively impacting that goal. However, if your short-term goal is to run 40-50 miles a week as you prepare for a long term goal of running an ultramarathon, you probably need to get out the door at least some while on vacation. 

Tips For Vacation Workouts!

If you are committed to working out on your vacation, there are things you can do! 

1. Pack Fitness Bands: My workout bands help me to stretch and do resistance training anywhere I happen to be. And they fit into a nice little pouch!

2. Hike: Taking the family on a hike is a nice way to get some different types of exercise in. Remember: time on feet counts!

3. Investigate: Call ahead to inquire if there are any fun local running paths. Is there a local running store? They frequently have group runs they host. That is a great opportunity to meet up with locals to run. The concierge at your hotel may have great advice on safe places to run locally.

4. HIIT Training: There are fantastic apps out there that will allow you to get in a workout wherever you happen to be. Just a tap, tap of your smartphone and you are seconds away from a great high-intensity interval workout to help you get your sweat on!

5. Workout Facilities: Some hotels have a lovely workout area right in the structure. In addition to that, many have a relationship with a local fitness establishment with more offerings. Lastly, see if your local gym membership has a storefront where you are vacationing. Some big-box gyms have shops in most big cities! If not, many smaller, local clubs offer short-term memberships. 

6. Other Ways to Exercise: Check out the local opportunities. Maybe there is a place to rent bicycles and tour the community that way. Are there yoga classes? The point is, if you are creative, you can often find exercise opportunities that are interesting, fun and local!

7. Pack Your Running Shoes and Explore on Foot: The last way to exercise on vacation is, of course, to just pack your sneaks and go for a run. Deemed “Runderlust” by my local running group, just lacing up and heading out to explore is a great way to see local sites. Just be certain to always be aware of your surroundings. 

Is It Okay To Take Two Weeks Off From Running?

Is it okay? Absolutely. Should you do it? Maybe. It depends on where you are in your training cycle. Summer is typically an “off-time” in my training cycle. I could easily take two weeks off from running with no ill effects. I mean, sure I would notice when I started back up again. But since I am not usually training for anything seriously, I could just ease my way back in without skipping a beat. 

It is a much bigger consideration if you have a race on the calendar and are building toward something. If that is the case for you, taking 14 whole days off is not advisable.

While exercising on vacation may not necessarily have to be as strenuous as other times, something is better than nothing!

Can You Lose Fitness In Two Weeks?

It takes somewhere from 7 to 14 days for a runner to begin losing fitness, and this is aerobic fitness. If you are a lifelong runner, most of that aerobic fitness will stick around for months. That is excellent news for most of you! Typically the loss of aerobic function that results from an exercise hiatus is just in what you have worked for in the last few months. 

working out while on vacation
People photo created by marymarkevich – freepik.com

What this translates into is if you have been a dedicated runner for a long time, you won’t lose much. The better fitness you are in, the less you will lose. It is as easy as that!

Your body’s structural fitness is another story. That is not maintained as long when you take a running break. Since structural fitness helps you to absorb the impact of running, you need to be careful after taking a couple of weeks off. If you were running 40-50 mile weeks and take two full weeks off, don’t try to jump right back into a 50-mile week. Your body won’t respond well to that. 

How Do I Get Back Into Running After Two Weeks?

The first thing to clarify here in this discussion is if you took two weeks off for vacation or a business trip, not due to injury! How you return to running after a vacation break is different than if you have been injured or sick. 

Ask yourself how active you were able to be during that break. Were you logging tons of walking or hiking miles? Remember that time on your feet matters. If you were very active while on vacation, you can jump back into your mileage faster than if you were just lounging on the beach sipping margaritas. 

Once you return from vacation, how fast you can jump back into the deep end really does depend on what you were doing before the break. For someone like me, a 20-25 mile per week runner, I would return with a 17-20 mile week, then go back to 20-25 the following week.  

However, for someone pushing 50-mile weeks, it is recommended that you ease back into things more. Maybe hover somewhere under 40 the first week back, depending on how your body responds, then inch closer to 50 the following week. As always, the key is listening to your body.

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