Travel For Work? You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Your Run!
In an ideal work, we would all be able to land our dream jobs, no matter what that is, and never have to sacrifice our running goals. We would make every meeting and every scheduled run. We would be able to complete our workout, have eaten breakfast and downed at least two cups of coffee, be showered and dressed and ready for an 8 am conference call in the executive office of a high profile client in a city halfway across the world… four days a week! In essence, we would be able to do it all and never sacrifice anything. We could keep all of our balls in the air and stay in shape while doing it! Unfortunately, life is not always ideal and the reality for most of us is that work, family, and life priorities often tend to get in the way of our perfect schedules. And while we definitely do not have control over everything, (and if you are like me, you could probably stand to learn a bit of a lesson on how to let things go when we absolutely can’t control them… but that is a lesson for a different day!) you can still make successful strides in your career while maintaining your running and training schedule. Specifically, if you are a consultant or otherwise have a pretty hectic work travel schedule, you don’t have to count yourself out of being able to train for that goal race!
City Running Groups
If your work travel schedule takes you to a more populous area, then there is a good chance that there is a solid running community there, which also often means you can find a group to run with. A lot of cities have public running groups, meaning they advertise to the general public about when they meet up, where to meet, and then how far you can expect to run. Whether you are looking to tackle a long run, or just squeeze in a few miles between coffee meetings, most running groups have ‘groups within the group’ that run at different paces and lengths – so you can be sure you will find the right people to tag along with! These groups typically meet at a gym, local park, or an easy-to-find city landmark. I once ran with a group who met at the downtown Nike Store in Denver, Colorado! And if the city is big enough, then you are likely to come across several running groups, which is helpful and can be convenient even if you are not staying in a hotel that is super centrally located. Plus, these groups are made up of visitors like you, as well as weekly regulars who have lived in the city for many years. This creates a unique opportunity for you to bond with other “travel runners,” as well as meet some locals who can give you a lot of interesting advice on the history of city, where to eat and stay the next time you visit, and what races to sign up for if you plan on returning!
While the treadmill might not always (erm…ever) be your first choice for getting your workout done, do not underestimate the power and convenience of a hotel treadmill. And while we certainly acknowledge that not all hotel gyms are created equal (in fact, the range of quality is overwhelming large…) simply having access to one treadmill can make all the difference for you. (Although, if your hotel only has one single treadmill that squeaks with every step and appears to be older than you, we hope for your own sanity that you are not stuck to running on it for multiple days at a time!) Keep saying this to yourself: you can do hard things! You can crank out that horrible run on a treadmill. It’s just ONE run! You can even throw in those tempo strides and speedy 4 x 400’s that your coach is calling for you. YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! And then you can rest knowing that, if all else fails, there is probably a quality gym within walking distance of your hotel. Do your research before and plan ahead. Scope out gyms that are close by to where you are staying, and call ahead to check on their hours and day pass rates. Oftentimes, gyms will offer a free guest pass if it is your first time, so take advantage of that! Be sure you do not venture out alone, especially if it is dark. Hey – now is as good a time as any to see if your colleagues are ‘fitspo’ like you and want to get in a little sweat before the craziness of the day begins! Plus, I always find it extremely refreshing to check out a new gym, and especially a new gym in a big city. They are all so different, and the people watching alone can be worth the hassle to get in and get busy.
Plan! Plan! Plan!
No matter what you decide to do, the key to success is planning. You can have it all! You have to believe that you can smash your numbers at work while killing it at your next race. No matter the circumstances or obstacles in your way, you CAN achieve whatever it is you want to achieve, even if it seems nearly impossible if you just have a well thought out plan. I find it extremely helpful to come up with a very precise itinerary that includes times, locations, and addresses. Look up your hotel and running situation in advance and no what you are getting into – i.e. know if you are going to need to allow for extra time to get to a gym or if you can just use the hotel treadmill. Then plan your day down to the minute, as best as you can, focusing especially on the workout aspect. If you come prepared, you are less likely to talk yourself out of doing it or have an excuse not to! Plus, it will make the rest of your trip go more smoothly because you will know what you have to do in the hours and days before to prepare, and what you have to look forward to afterward. And if your itinerary is just so packed that squeezing in a workout simply is not happening, talk with your coach and/or come up with a solution on your own for cutting down the number of DAYS you need to work out each week. For you, this might mean overhauling things and digging deep to squeeze in a couple two days. Or, it might be a long-time-coming lesson in self-compassion. Despite what you might think, you DON’T have to workout every day. You don’t have to have six days in a row of flawless runs to be the best runner you can be (in fact, I’d argue that that actually might be counter-productive to your progress). Take each week as it comes. If you travel one week in which running on six consecutive days is possible, then go for it! But if that is followed by a week that you can only squeeze in 2 runs total, don’t sweat it! It will balance out. And you can plan ahead, to get in some extra workouts otherwise if you really are concerned.
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