Integrating Training into Vacations

By Coach Cody Elder
USAT L1

Your training is going well, you’ve been nailing your workouts for months and then you realize… I’ve got a family vacation coming up.  Most of the triathlon racing season and training load clustered during prime vacation time with kids off from school and the most flexibility with employers , it’s critical to keep yourself on the training wagon.

Generally, one of two things tends to happen while on vacation:
1) You shut down all training and enjoy the deliciousness that is fried beach food
2) The training consumes your trip and you end up not spending time with the people you took 5 days off to reconnect with and enjoy

For long-term training and relationship management, those are both the worst possible outcomes.  What we as athletes and coaches need to do is find a happy medium. So how do we do that?

If you’re getting away with friends and family to rebuild relationships that may be stressed due to work or training, that is the number one goal. Training immediately should be secondary or tertiary. Plan your training and expectations accordingly. One idea is to build in a light recovery week. Just like with normal recovery weeks, be sure to focus on setting your body up for adapting to the hard work you’ve put in previously.  Avoid taking steps backwards with binge eating sessions and the drinking that so often becomes the center of a vacation. Moderation is the key here.

If you do have the opportunity to get a full week of swim/bike/running in, be sure you plan well in advance. Nobody will fault you for taking a long nap during the day while on vacation, so why not get up early and take care of that long ride/run. Remember, the training is secondary. Building memories and re-establishing relationships is the key to a successful vacation. Try not to stress others in your group out about your 4-hour ride and need to be in compression for these hours of the day; get a full picture of the itinerary and do your best not to disturb it.  Think about your timing for food. Nothing can ruin moods quicker than a “hangry” triathlete.  Be sure to be self sufficient while not isolating.

One important note: Be flexible. If you oversleep and can’t get the bike workout in, keep a positive attitude and chalk it up to “I guess my body needed the rest!”. If the pool you called 2 weeks before to verify would be open is actually closed because the manager called in sick, figure out another way to enjoy the morning. Overall, keep the group in mind and the perspective that you are choosing to take this time with a wonderful group of people. Maximize those seconds and know that you can always catch up on training…

But try to stay away from the triple fried seafood platter! Enjoy and relax!