Saturday, February 18, 2012

Long Distance Travel for the Athlete

I've recently read a number of write ups on keeping your fitness while you travel. Most of what I've read has been limited to short distance travel. I unfortunately don't go short distances and as I prepare to take another one of those long trips I thought I'd throw out some tips.

Destination: China
Flight Length - 14 hours
Time Difference: +16 hours
Fitness Goal: No Zero Days

My tips

  • Pick a hotel near a large park or a hotel that has a quality 24 hour gym. As an example the city I go to is Guangzhou, China. One of my hotel choices is The White Swan. It's located on the Pearl River and has miles upon miles of boardwalk along the river. You'll struggle to find a hill when you run but it's good running. When I don't stay there I stay and the Marriott in town. The price is a bit higher of course but the 24 hour gym is worth it. Both hotels are easy access to the metro which is world class. 
  • Don't fight the sleep. The 16 hour time change is rough. Accept what you get and try not to dwell on it. Generally for the first 4 or 5 nights I'm lucky to sleep 4 hours. After that I can usually get to my normal sleep patterns. 
  • I highly suggest taking your own food. With sleep patterns out of whack you never know when you'll want a snack. Having something you like and are used to is good comfort. 
  • No Zeros - This simply means build a sweaty routine into your day. I always do it in the early morning. That way it doesn't weigh on my mind to fit it in once I return. If you are going to go outside it's best to go early morning when traffic is low. 
  • Stay Fit - That should be your goal. You can't "train". You'll be too tired to really do anything quality so the best bet is to get it done. Yes you won't find your time trial set up in the gym but the bike in the gym for an hour will keep your fitness. 
  • The return can be tough too. Sleep when you can and don't rush that "training". Give yourself a couple days to adjust. You are less likely to give yourself a long term set back if you don't rush it. 
In the next two weeks I'll tell you about  my trip. More tips of the day will surface as I do this. You'll also get a good sense of life on the road for a shoe guy. 

It's a good life...

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