Over the last handful of years, I have developed an unnatural obsession with staying at home. Yes, my family is there, and so are all of my creature comforts (bike, tv, rollers etc), but I believe that the biggest element that I dislike about travel is the disruption to my schedule. I am a creature of habit, like most triathletes. Timetables reign supreme in my life, and I live and die by my workouts. Hours spent in the car, aeroplane, train, whatever, are completely wasted – that is time that could be spent sweating!
One lesson that travel definitely has taught me is the importance of time management. That 60 minute swim? Budget 90. That 10km run that usually takes 45 minutes? Better give it at least an hour. Once you take setting the Garmin up, changing, showering, and cooling down into account, you have lost 15 minutes – at a minimum – before you step out the door! So what does this mean for the time-poor weary traveller? Simply, your days are going to get a whole lot harder and you are going to get really, really good at time management. I’m actually writing this piece on the take-off roll out of Sydney, Australia, crammed into seat 22F, sitting next to a man who is clearly unimpressed with being stuck in a middle seat. So, I figure I have a few hours to kill, why not share a few pearls of wisdom that I have picked up over the last eight years of travel? So sit back, relax, and I hope you enjoy the journey.
Lesson 1: You are not going to train at the same level as when you are at home. Period. You have competing priorities, and unfortunately exercise is a poor cousin to work – and unless you have access to a pool, a bike, and can function on four hours sleep, your training will just not be the same. Accept it, adapt to it, and overcome.
Lesson 2: Channel your inner multitasking expert. By getting phone calls, work and spurious administration done during travel time (safely, of course), you free up your down time to get straight to business – exercise business, that is!
Lesson 3: Be organised. Every spare minute you have is vital, especially if you are trying to meet timings. I get my long(ish) runs done in the morning – up at approximately 4:30am to fit it in prior to breakfast, then hitting the road/meetings as required. By setting out my running gear (or swimming gear if I am lucky) the night before, I can save 15 minutes of searching for it with blurry eyes the next morning – time that could be spent running! By exercising at the start of the day, I find I have more energy, and am in a much better mood – and less pressure after sunset – always a bonus.
Lesson 4: Possibly the most important. When you are on the road, no form of exercise is beneath you. Can’t swim? Use bands. Can’t find a long stretch of road? Sprints. Find exercise bikes boring? Prepare to be bored out of your skull my friend. The reality is that on the road, any form of training you can get is good training. You just have to be creative with how it is delivered.
So there you have it – my four golden rules for travel. Combine these with a little bit of willpower (especially when it comes to food choices), and you may just be able to fit it all in – it is possible, just difficult at times! Look on the bright side though – you will certainly appreciate being at home when you get back, for just one more reason than usual this time!
Love the pain.
Ben Shepherd - Ambassador