Sunday, December 16, 2012

" He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."  - Benjamin Franklin

Week of 12 of 18 of the ING Miami Marathon training is in the books.  When I previously had looked at the schedule for this past week, I knew it was going to be a challenge to stay disciplined, because I was going to be on vacation, but I was determined not to fail.

Now that the vacation is over, I am satisfied because I did not miss any of the runs from my schedule.  This was the first time during any type of vacation in my life that I did not skip a scheduled run or exercise routine.  Previously I would give in to the temptation of relaxing too much and enjoying myself during this time away from "normal life".  However, I could not afford that since I knew I had to complete each run to get me closer to my goal time for the marathon next month.

What I wanted to share with you were some tips on how you might be able to keep exercising during your vacation.

Determine Where Your Workouts Will Take Place
Will it be at a gym?  If so, do the research beforehand and select a location close to where you will be staying if your resort or hotel does not have a fitness center.  Nowadays, there are many 24/7 gyms all over the country like Snap Fitness that will allow you to purchase a one week pass during your stay nearby.  It cost you like $20, but it will be worth it if you use the facility.

For my vacation, I had to look up if the area near me was going to be safe to run and how long the distances were. Luckily for me, most of my runs took place with the scenery below.  Yes, I had to do numerous 2 mile loops to complete the distance for the day, but I couldn't complain since I ran along sand and palm trees.  If you will be running in the dark, please be sure you bring reflective gear and flashlights.

Set a Schedule Before You Leave On Your Trip

If you are going to be gone for 7 days, determine which days you will be exercising and what days you will rest.  In your typical at home week, if you workout 5 days, then follow that type of plan during your vacation.  There is no reason to try to do more and set yourself up for failure.  Do less?  Why?  If you feel good, do what needs to be done, no excuses.

When will be the best time for you to workout?  First thing in the morning? During the middle of the day, at night?  This will also have to be setup prior to leaving.  Pick a time that will make you succeed, not fail or interfere with family obligations.

I did my runs first thing each day, because it was best for our family schedule.  Why?  Two reasons...One, it was over with and I could not make any excuses of being too tired from walking around all day at the Disney parks.  Or that we had to cut something short due to me having to go back and run.  I knew if I wanted to do my running at night, I would not of succeeded because I would just want to go to bed from the long and busy days of walking and standing.  Two, it allowed my family to schedule whatever they wanted for the day and my priority of running did not interfere with that.  On the last day of vacation my son wanted to go to Hollywood Studios one more time (to play Toy Story for the 5th and 6th times even though we had to wait in line each time for 30-60 minutes) before we came back home.  What this meant is that I would have to wake up at 4am to do my stretching and 12 mile run and be back in time to pack and be at the park by 8am.  Was I upset?  No.  Could I have just done my run the following morning in Chicago?  Sure, but I wanted one more run in Florida to prepare for the ING Miami Marathon.

Allow Some Days Off

As stated previously, do not overdo it.  Make sure you take some days off and let your body  rest.  However, only take them off if they are on your schedule.  Try not to move around your schedule because before you know it, you will have skipped some important workout days.

During a lot of vacations, people will end up having a very busy schedule and will do more in a day than at home, therefore rest days become more important during a vacation.  Plan them and use them wisely.

Communicate Your Schedule

Communication is key for many parts of life and when you insert a exercise plan during your vacation and telling your family what that is, is also important.

Why?  They deserve to know what you plan on doing each day and they will usually hold you accountable too.  One morning, I was tired and wanted to stay in bed a bit longer.  My wife turned over and asked why I was still in bed (at 4:10am) if I had to go run 16 miles and be back in time for us to go to Universal Studios?  She was right, I needed to get up and going if I was going to meet my goal for the day.  Luckily she knew what I had to get done because I might have just slept in and skipped an important run in the humid weather in Florida.

Stick to the Plan 

If you do not have any race or running goals to shoot for to make you follow your schedule, then just stick with it because you will feel better when you get back home.  Nutrition and diet typically will never be perfect during a vacation, so you might as well feel good about doing all your exercise sessions while being able to enjoy yourself during your time away from home.

My food intake was far from being perfect during this vacation, but I also knew I was walking 3-5 miles extra each day and that I did deserve to relax a bit about food.  Therefore, what my main objective was for this long vacation was to complete each run and relax a bit on nutrition.  Did I overeat at each meal and let myself go?  Absolutely not.  However, did I have a dessert each day compared to 1 per week when not on vacation?  Yes I did.  No big deal because I was not going to worry about that during this trip.

Happy Holidays, enjoy your vacation or "staycation" during the last two weeks of the year.  However, be sure you keep exercise a priority so you do not have any regrets when it is over and have to add some more weight to lose as your New Year's resolution.

By: Fred Lechuga


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