Vacation is supposed to be relaxing. You lay off the routine, you eat and drink a little more, you sleep in, you rest, you recuperate and you recover. That’s the ideal, anyhow. Then there is vacation with children. Or minimalist camping (I’m fussy without a solid mattress beneath me). Or trying to maintain running and training through your vacation.
I often thought I should take a running vacation instead of just a vacation: go to a destination where I can train, but that the scenery is different and there is no “other.” No routine, no work, no lunches to be made. (And yes, I’m going to say it: no kids that I have to take care of). All very good as an idea, but I do have a family and where I go, we all go. I can’t really expect two kids to stay somewhere while I dictate the whole schedule based on my moods and recovery levels. (Wait a minute, I can hear my husband thinking, that sounds like regular life to me!)
I am currently on vacation, visiting my in-laws and my mom. In both places the weather is considerably warmer than where I live. The weather is hot: 35C/95F. It is relaxing (someone else is doing all the cooking), I’m not going to work, and the kids are mostly entertained and content. Yet I am not sleeping in, and I am worried about my training schedule. I am specifically worried about losing whatever fitness I have pushed myself to gain to this point, and of coming back in two weeks to join my running buddies for a 32 km run, and being left behind.
On Wednesday it is usually our hill training night with the running clinic, and I had planned to do this workout on my own on the same day. I woke up early and hot (we were sleeping in a tent). Because of my rustling I think my husband thought I would not only wake the kids but also the whole neighbourhood; he suggested I go for a swim. It was 6:15 am. I did swim, and felt better after; another workout completed.
We traveled that day to my mom’s house and arrived by late afternoon. I had planned to go into town and run hills. I had even scouted out a route; I had a plan. At 6pm it was still 33C, and I was told the route I had planned had evening sun until about 8:30pm. I was already exhausted from the day; this workout was not going to happen.
My husband reminded me that the workouts will still be done, but being on vacation means allowing a little more flexibility in my schedule. I could do the workout the next morning, instead of later in the evening. I was relieved to hear this; I often need someone to reassure me that change is okay!
Not losing my routine is critical for me. I definitely feel better when I am staying active, and know that there may need to be some changes to compensate vacation for my routine. To keep most of my workouts I can get up earlier than everyone else, work out later, or change my expectations of my workouts. This will help keep me and the family happy.
Part of fitness and getting stronger is recovery. We do not get stronger doing the workouts, it is in the recovery and healing that we gain fitness. Taking some days off here and there, or changing our workouts can result in improved fitness. Often we hear of athletes who could not train due to injury, but then come back stronger than before. We taper before a goal race or event to allow our bodies to be fully recovered and at full strength. This is recovery taking effect and allowing our bodies to heal in that stronger state.
I did my workout the next morning and felt better for it. I ran strong, and felt relieved. I have a 29 km solo run looming that I need to get done this weekend, but I also have already decided that my usual run on Friday will be shorter or easier or less intense than I do at home. I am allowing myself this because I can, because it’s hot, and because I’m on vacation.
*Do you run while on vacation? When do you do your workouts? Does your workout schedule/routine change if you go away?