Last week I was lucky enough to escape snowy Minnesota and head to Florida for the week to attend a work conference. Fortunately they had a fitness center with some weight and cardio equipment so my training wouldn’t be affected too much. The website for the hotel also advertised two “lap pools” but I wasn’t going to believe it until I got there to see for myself. One of the lap pools looked more like a large leisure pool; the second actually had two lane lines so it was somewhat legitimate. It was hard to tell for sure what the pool length was but I would estimate approximately 33 meters.
Adjusting my swim workouts for the unusual distance wasn’t too bad and made for another random week of swimming. If you’ve ever swam in a 25 yard or meter pool and then gone to a 50 meter pool, it typically feels like you’re drowning until you adjust. The first couple workouts I felt mostly like I was drowning in the pool, but it got better as the week went on.
Where I was staying they had three approximately 1 mile running/walking loops and plenty of treadmills so keeping up with run training was no issue. Biking on the other hand, they had a couple stationary bikes which is so far from training on my own tri bike, but I made due. I was still able to do some bike intervals but it was all based of feel verses power output. Basing workouts on feel vs. power or speed was a good training switch to help me be more aware of my body and how I’m feeling when working at a certain perceived effort level. I’ve had my speed sensor stop working in a race before so it’s good to be prepared for a scenario like that.
In this travel instance my training wasn’t too thrown off but I’ve traveled many places where I wouldn’t have a gym or pool. In most cases when traveling I do a lot of running. I usually will look at a map before heading out to get an idea of where might be good to run, typically I’ll end up in random places but it’s always great site seeing and you can cover a lot more ground than you would walking places. If you need a good run workout it’s easy to add intervals, sprints or hills if you know where one is.
All that said I’ve never solely been able to rely on running for a few reasons. Occasionally when traveling I’ve needed to be somewhere from 8am to 8pm, so if I ran at six am it would be dark for my entire run, same in the evening. Being in an unknown place I prefer to keep it safe and not run outside in that case. I’ve also traveled to places where exercising is rare and even more rare for women, so I’d rather not draw extra attention to myself in that case.
In these situations where I’m more limited, there are still plenty of things to do, check out the list of what I’ve done:
- Probably one of the easiest things is to do is skip the public transport and taxi’s: walk everywhere. I’ve found this most relevant when traveling for leisure, often I could jump on a train to get from site to site but instead I’ll pull out a map and wander the streets in between. Oftentimes this way I stumble upon some pretty cool things along the way and by the end of the day I’m dead tired.
- If you’re sick of walking or really need to be getting in some bike training there’s almost always the option to rent a bike. It’s pretty easy to carry your shoes and pedals if you want to get a road bike for a week. Renting for a day can be a bit spendy but often you’ll get a more reasonable deal renting for an entire week. A good option if you want to make sure you’re still training some on the bike and a great way to get around and see more outside the city where you’re staying.
- Take the stairs. Pending where you’re staying you probably have a few flights to climb to your room, just a few flights of stairs usually gets my heart rate up a bit. Doing this 3 or 4 times a day adds an extra kick.
- If you’ve done yoga before it’s pretty easy to make your own quick yoga routine and you can do it in a small space in your room. There’s also some great free apps you can get on your smart phone that will walk you through some different routines.
- If you want to keep your swim muscles in tact it’s easy to travel with a set of cords. They don’t take up very much space at all and you can do different sets anywhere from 2 minutes or 30 minutes. It won’t be the same as swimming but it can help activate your swimming muscle, keeping them strong while you’re out of the pool
- I always travel with a jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to get your heart rate up and you can usually do it in the space of your room, pending how much you’re pounding on the floor. I’ll usually mix jump rope with a few other plyometrics or stationary exercises for 30 minutes and it gets a pretty good sweat going. Some things I enjoy throwing into a circuit are: lunge jumps, box jumps (depends if you have something to jump on), burpees, lunges, reverse lunges, squat jumps, squats, single-leg squats, mountain climbers, step ups, dips and push ups. If you pick 5 or 6 exercises to rotate through 30 minutes will go by pretty quick.
- In desperation there’s always the option to find a gym or pool where you can get a day or week pass. This option can be a bit more spendy so it depends on your workout needs.
I’m sure I’m missing some other great travel fitness ideas so if you have more feel free to share in the comments, thanks for reading!