I often get asked, how and when do you train? This question often comes from people I know that see how often I travel and they wonder when do I get in the workouts.
Well, the first key is to have a good coach. Dana Lyons ask me for my schedule every week before I head out of town. He then coordinates my workouts around my schedule so I can do what I can while on the road. For example, if I am gone Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I tell him how long I have to workout and he typically gives me a variety of runs.
Now the creative part is finding the time and place to do these runs. Two weeks ago while in Philadelphia, I was staying by the airport. I had on the schedule a tempo run with 5 x 1 mile repeats. I noticed by the hotel, that there was a service road with a bike lane. I had the hotel bus driver tell me how far it was around and we discovered that it was about exactly 1 mile. So problem solved. I ran the loop 8 times counting warm up and cool down. You do get some strange looks when they see an idiot running circles around the hotel in the dark. However, it sure does beat a crappy hotel treadmill.
Traveling west is my favorite. The reason being, if we don’t have a work dinner, I can go to bed early at my regular time (8:00 pacific time) and wake up at 4:00AM with no problem. This leaves me with 3 – 4 hours of prime workout time in the morning before work. I typically only need 1 – 2 hours so there is plenty of time to get in a nice long run, get some work in and head out the door all before 8:00 am local time. On both of my recent trips to San Diego this has been the case so I have not missed out on too much running time. Note, If you are a night owl, this obviously will not work for you.
(In Dallas, we are fortunate enough to stay at the Cooper Clinic. This place is a triathletes dream with an outdoor running track, 2 lap pools and countless spin classes. They all start super early in the morning so you can get in the miles long before you have to start your day. If you travel to Dallas, give them a call and see if they have a room for you in the guest lodge.)
Swimming can be done as well by simply visiting http://www.usms.org. The masters website will list all masters workouts and clubs in your area. If you can’t find one of those, the local Y always has a pool. I try and keep an extra suit and goggles in my suitcase, so if there is some extra time before a dinner etc., I can try and get in a short swim. If time does not allow for a swim, so be it. I think too many people stress over this one. Yes I swam in college, but I learned the hard way that these races are not won during the swim. They are won on the run!
Getting in a ride can be a real challenge while on the road, so most of the time I just work with Dana to be sure I don’t have one scheduled. If I can plan my travel around an early morning bike ride and an afternoon flight, then great. If not, it comes down to my one long ride on Sundays which I make sure it is a good one.
Sometimes I just don’t train and try to plan my off day from training around my travel schedule. It can be a real drag to get a run in after you have flown for 4 hours and have 100 e-mails to catch up on. The stress alone is a work out, so I always opt for the e-mails, stay current with work and live to train another day.
When I don’t travel, training is pretty simple, because I get up early! Daylight savings is a blessing, since you can start rides at 6:00am and be back by 7:30. You can run in the dark, so out the door by 5:00 and you have plenty of time to get in that run or swim.
Lastly, every athlete wishes they could have more training time. When I am having a rare pity moment, I often say what if I could ride my bike for 300 miles a week? It takes me about 5 seconds to realize that I am more than fortunate to see 150 miles a week and I have a great job and family that allows me to get in that much. After all, this is still a hobby and there will always be someone that can train a lot longer than you can, so you just have to get over it and make each session count.
So if you want to find time to work out while on the road, work with your coach, be creative and make it happen. Half the fun of this sport is the silly things we do as triathletes to get in the miles around our busy lifestyles.