Vacation, A Runner's Worst Nightmare!
You are doing so Good!
You have been working out all spring. You have been making all kinds of growth. You have dropped several pounds, your endurance has increased, and your times are getting better each week. You have developed a disciplined schedule and have been able to follow it no matter your work or family commitments. You are feeling better than you have felt in a long time, and then it happens. You go on vacation. It is just one week, and you are taking all your running gear with you so you can log some miles while you are at the beach, lake, mountains, or where ever you are going. Even though you have all these good intentions, it is still going to be a rough week for most of us.
You leave for vacation on Friday. I am currently on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday run schedule with some cross training on Tuesday and Thursday. I have put in a good week of running before I am leaving for vacation. Monday I logged seven miles of interval running (five minutes hard/five minutes slower pace). On Tuesday I went to the YMCA and swam (which I am not very good at yet but I am working on it) and put in roughly five hundred meters. Then on Wednesday I hit the road again for seven minutes of negative splits (1st mile 9mins. 56secs. seventh mile 6mins. 55secs.) . Thursday I played tennis for around two hours to get in a workout. Then on Friday before I left I logged a ten mile endurance run. I don't know what is a good week of working out for you, but this is a good week for me. I have been steadily increasing my mileage since March and this is where I am at this point. I leave for the lake on Friday after work around 3:00 (got off early). We get down to the lake and hit the store then settle in around 8:30 that night. Now we are sharing the house with my wife's brother and his family. We all get along great. We both have two kids one boy and one girl. They play great most of the time and keep each other occupied so we can hang out. I don't know how most of your vacations go, but we like to eat and do some occasional drinking. That is how it starts.
Got though the Weekend! Time to Workout!
I usually take the weekend off unless I am running a race. I took Saturday and Sunday of my vacation off. I just hung out, ate, drank some, did some water skiing, and a few other things. When Monday rolled around, I knew it was going to be rough to get back into it. First the temperatures we scorching, and if I was going to run it would have to be before 7:30. Now the bad news is that Sunday night the kids went to bed early and we stayed up playing cards and watching a movie. I set my alarm for 6:00a.m. When it goes off, I feel rough. I don't think we hit the bed until around 2:00a.m. and I had a few too many drinks as well. Feeling a little dehydrated I go straight to the kitchen and down two bottles of water and eat a breakfast bar. I think head out the door to get in some stretching. After about fifteen minutes of stretching, I am ready to go. The plan today is to get in seven miles. I don't think I can do any interval running, so I decided to just run it and log it. I feel pretty good for about two miles. Then the effects of the last night start to set in. I should of brought my fuel belt with at least one bottle of water, but I didn't think I would need it (I was wrong). When I hit mile three, I decide to turn around and head home. Six miles is still pretty good, but I am feel rough and the chicken wings we had for dinner last night are giving my stomach some major fits. I finish the run and head straight to the fridge and down another two bottles of water. I promise myself that I am going to try and eat better on the Tuesday night and not drinking any adult beverages so I can get a good run in on Wednesday. Tuesday we had decided to spend out on the lake. We pack up early and take the boat out and stay out on the water from 8:30 to around 4:30. I figured the swimming, tubing, and skiing will count as my cross training for today.
Didn't Go Hard Monday, Let's See What I Can Do Wednesay!
After being out on the lake all day Tuesday, we come back to find several of our friends who live in the area have come over to hang out. We grill a few steaks and cook several sides, which I eat entirely too much. We stay up late talking and catching up. I again take in a few adult beverages, but not as many as Sunday night. At 2:45 our buddies leave, and I can't help but think about how I am going to feel when I get up in about three or four hours. The alarm goes off at 6:00a.m., and I just hit the snooze every five minutes until around 6:45. I had to quit hitting the snooze because my wife is going to kill me if she hears the alarm again. I get up take in a few bottles of water and eat a package of peanut butter crackers. While I am getting ready, I turn the T.V. on and hear the news say that today is going to be the hottest day of the summer. Temperatures are going to peak over 100 degrees. I look at the thermometer as I walk outside, and at 7:30a.m. it is already 88 degrees. It is super humid and I know today's run is not going to be a good one. I again decide I am going to knock out seven miles. I am just going to try and get through it and not worry about negative splits. I start off running and this time I don't even feel good for the first mile. I am feeling terrible. I did however, remember my fuel belt and during the second mile I have already downed one bottle. I can't help but think that this run is not going to be good. I do push through all the way to the 3.5 mile mark and I am on my way back when after about thirty-two minutes. of running my right leg completely cramps up. It felt like one of those cramps you get when you are asleep. You know the ones that you just cannot work out it just has to go away on its own. So, today after only four miles I have to call it quits and hobble on home.
Monday and Wednesday Were a Wash, I Have to Get in a Good Run Friday!
After the calf muscle cramp I had on Wednesday, it was terribly sore all day Thursday. I took it easy most of the day. I didn't do any cross training and drank tons of water. I tried my best to massage it out, but it just didn't want to easy up. Thursday night I did the same as I did most of the day, I took it easy and ate a good dinner. I had a salad and spaghetti and didn't drink any adult beverages all day. My two year old was really fussy so I laid down with her at around 10:00 and we both fell asleep. It was a good thing I had the alarm set, and when I got up at 6:00 I felt pretty good. My leg was still a little sore, but it wasn't as bad as the day before. I drank some water ate a little something and went out to stretch. I filled up the fuel belt and decided that I was going to try and knock out ten miles. I got it going and at mile five I was feeling good. I turned around and was pushing hard all the way up until mile eight. The cramp started to come back, but I fought through it and slowly made it home completing my ten mile run. We headed for home late Friday night so we could get things in order for the week.
Tips to Help you Stick to Your Running Schedule While on Vacation!
After all the problems I had trying to maintain my running schedule, I have come up with a few tips that will help anyone stay true to their workout schedule.
- Get Everyone Involved: If you can get everyone involved in the running workout, then you will be more likely to get in your run. It will also provide you with someone to workout with and not let you slip out of the run because you don't feel like it.
- You are What You Eat: Even though you are on vacation you need to be mindful of what you eat. If you eat a bunch of fatty foods and things that will not provide you with the nutrition you need to complete your run, then you will not be successful in completing your run. If you drink too much as well, you will become too dehydrated to complete any type of running the next day.
- Take a Trip that is Runner Friendly: Try to go on vacation in places where you can run in a race. You can make it a family event, where everyone in your family runs. You can take a trip that has lots of running trails, or scenic places. That will help you stay energized and get the run in that you need.
I know most of this is common sense, but if you are anything like me it is hard to stay committed when you are on vacation. It can be done, but you have to be dedicated. It is definitely easier to say than to do. If anyone has any other tips, please add them to the comments below. Thanks.