I can’t claim to know the ins and outs of vacationing, per say, but I have run my fair share of destination miles. After reaping the regrets of running/vacations in the past- Haagen Daz and Heineken before the Amsterdam Marathon, food and wine pairings amidst marathon training in Napa Valley, and every bad decision under the 30A sun before/after/during recent Florida long runs- I’ve learned from experience.
Last week I went to Rosemary Beach, Florida with Mark and my family. Although I’ve run on pretty much every vacation I’ve ever been on, I found myself making the same dang mistakes. So I can’t say that I followed all of these to a T, but I’ve finally pinned down the Rules of Runcation:
Rule Number One: Have a game plan
If you want to stay on track with your training, sit down and give yourself a schedule of how much you are going to run that week and when. Go ahead and wrap your brain around the fact that training will go on and maybe even share it with others. Accountability starts with a plan. I also suggest looking up the area in which you are traveling in order to scout out some good places to run. No one wants to be leisurely jogging on a busy highway.
Rule Number Two: Don’t stress
Plan out your runs, but don’t stress if it doesn’t work out perfectly. I have a pretty thick head sometimes and this is one I can never seem to master. The week leading up to my vacation, I found myself constantly worrying about where, when, and if I was going to accomplish my trainings throughout the week. There is a fine line between preparation and anxiety and I had crossed it. It took a couple of days to realize that it was much more important for me to spend my time with these people than hitting every mile on pace.
Rule Number Three: Choose the right time of day
Choose the right time of day to run just as you would at home, but consider all of the other factors involved on a trip. For me, it was best to wake up very early and run at dawn as opposed to dusk because I knew I’d be too tired after being at the beach all day. I also wanted to be the first one up to brew the coffee… no one else does it right.
Rule Number Four: Pack accordingly
Yes, I had more tech fabric in my bag than nice clothes to go out in, but it worked out perfectly. Regardless of my sister’s remarks of judgment, it was important for me to pack enough to run in because who wants to do laundry on vacation? And if you don’t pack it, well isn’t that a convenient excuse not to get out there and run.
Rule Number Five: Have your fun, just hydrate appropriately
It’s twelve weeks away from St. Jude so I knew that I couldn’t skimp out on my training, but I was still all like “do I have fun with my family and enjoy every part of the week we have together or do I take my running seriously and pass on some of the fun to stay in shape?” No, I am not training for the olympics, but I do have some goals that I have been working hard for… I decided to lay off the vino for the first couple of nights in preparation for my 15-mile progression run. But don’t worry, I got back on the saddle after that.
Rule Number Six: Drag people with you
Like the little girl says in that taco commercial “why can’t we have both?!” On your runcation you can. Want to spend time with your family? Drag them on the runs with you!
The first time I attempted this one, I somehow convinced my not-a-morning-person sister to come on an early run with me. We butted heads the whole time so it wasn’t ideal. We really don’t like each other until about 11:00 a.m. So I decided to bring Mark on the next one. He rode a bike alongside me for some moral support and for an excuse to yell at me to do better… isn’t he great?
Rule Number Seven: Explore new ways to cross train
My dad is the ultimate facilitator of this one. He rented a paddle board one day and a kayak the next. Cross training also included lugging the 50+ lbs of supplies that he carts to and from the beach daily. What am I, a power ranger?
Rule Number Eight: Take a day off… or two!
I had Labor Day off! Coincidence? It was so wonderful and so needed! I slept in a little and we stayed out on the beach to watch the sunset. It was absolutely perfect.
Running is my hobby and something that I want to do on my vacation, but its easy to lose sight of the joy it brings by putting too much pressure on training. Vacations don’t come around every week so it’s ultimately most important to focus on enjoying the time that you spend with your loved ones, but if running is what you love to do, why not incorporate that as much as possible?
-Do you run on your vacations?
-Does it come easy to you or is it a point of stress?