For most a well earned holiday means firmly ruling out any type of physical activity other than a walk to the pool lying down on a sun lounger until lunch time and then repeating. Or heading to the beach, pitching up a sun shade rolling out a towel and sun bathing till the sun dips beneath the horizon.
I like to take a slightly different approach. Don’t get me wrong I like to relax as much as the next guy and recovery is an essential component to any training plan. But I also like to explore the area I’m staying in and keep the legs ticking over. So what better way to do that than head out for a run or if possible hire a bike and get out for a ride. I managed to get out a for a nice beach front 10k whilst on holiday with the amazing Rachael Power in Benidorm, what could be better! Oh that’s right it was 30 degrees and beautifully sunny!!
Its also nice to keep hold of your hard fort fitness levels whilst away so you don’t come back from your holiday feeling completely out of shape and demotivated.
Plan your route
Chances are you will be running or cycling on unfamiliar roads and paths going through areas of a city or country side that you don’t know well. Therefore its important to do a little route planning and research into the area in case of any no go areas or hazards.
Even the best of plans can be scuppered. On a bike ride a few years ago in Italy i and 3 friends had meticulously planned a cycle route down from Pisa to Rome. We had used Google maps, Street View and even old school paper road maps. Off we went, then towards the end of the day we were greeted by a nice new shiny 2 lane motorway with no cycling signs plastered all over the entry! Where we were headed there appeared to be no other roads and with light fading fast we decided to chanced it, not something I recommend! The start of the next day was a similar story but with an alternative road available…
These days and on slightly less adventurous routes I find that that a quick Google search and a route planned out on your choice of mobile phone activity tracking app (I go for Strava) is generally sufficient. A local cycling or running group can also offer a great insight into routes but sometimes infiltrating these can be tricky. Tracking your run on Strava or RunKeeper is also a great way to keep a nice record of your effort. Even better is that you can share it to your choice of social media with a couple nice photos and feel super smug about it all.
Exploring new routes either around your local area or whilst away on holiday is also a great way of keeping things interesting and breaking up what can become mountainous training. These new routes can inject a little inspiration in to your efforts and spur you on to your next target race with greater enthusiasm than ever before.
It’s important to consider the weather conditions when out training but even more so when in a country or place with very different conditions than those use are used to. Sometimes it can be pretty obvious what’s needed. If you’re some where hot and it’s 30 degrees then extra water, electrolytes and sun block are a must. If it’s likely to be cold then grab some gloves and a nice hat.
In the UK we are blessed with predictable weather patterns, its either cold and raining or cold and likely to rain whilst you’re out. All though slightly in jest, conditions can change without warning especially if training in a hilly/mountains area. Make sure to check out the conditions along your route before you set off and pack accordingly. Changing conditions can be extremely dangerous and should not be taken lightly!
Here are a couple of runs I completed and tracked whilst on holiday:
So pack your training kit on your next holiday and get out there discover places you might have missed if not training and enjoy.