Updated: July 24th, 2013

Most people travel at some point in the year for work, vacation, or a family event. These trips, especially when one is a “frequent flyer”, can interrupt your training and sap motivation because you will likely be tired from a long flight, drive, or the typical stress of being in new place.

The below tips will help you combat the stress of travel and maintain your fitness (or boost it!) while on the road.

Traveling for Work:

Business trips often involve red-eye flights, frustrating car rentals, boring meetings, and improper nutrition. These stresses are not conducive to healthy running, but you can do things to combat the travel blues by planning ahead and making your training a priority.

Map Your Run:

Wake up extra early while travelling, find a safe route via an online source, and get your run in under the street lights. Brew some coffee, listen to some music, and stretch a bit to ready yourself for that 5am run; you’ll get the run in the bank early, so there will be no stress later in the day.

Use the Hotel Gym:

Many hotels have gym facilities if you can’t find a safe route from your hotel. Even in there isn’t a treadmill, do some cross training on the bike, elliptical, lift weights, or simply get-in a thirty minute stretch. Some exercise while traveling is better than none at all.

Eat Right:

Travelling for business can sometimes involve heavy drinking, big meals late into the night, and going for long periods of time without food or water. Don’t break your routine! If you are used to having one beer or glass of wine each night, don’t jump to five hard drinks just because others are getting trashed.

If you eat a meal of rice and chicken before morning workouts, don’t have the triple decker burger and fries just to fit-in with your co-workers. Also, drinking water or juice at meeting s and having small snacks on hand will work wonders for keeping you alert and ward off ravenous hunger.

Travelling for Pleasure:

Whether you are leaving for a happy family vacation or awkward family reunion, many of the same rules apply as above. Here though, family time may take precedence to your training, but you can still get in a good workout no matter where you are.

On the road, always think quality over quantity:

You are better served getting in 30min of faster running than an hour-plus of jogging around because you are lost in a new place. Use the below “travel workouts” any time you are in a pinch for a quick session. Precede each of the below with a 10min warm-up jog and some light drills, and complete these runs with a 10min jog and some light stretching.

  1. “The Hotel Circuit”– The standard hotel gym may have one treadmill, some weights or resistance machines, and a few cross training bikes. Use this workout to rev the heart rate and improve strength endurance.
    • Run 5:00 Moderate-Fast on the Treadmill
    • Immediately perform one strength exercise for 30-60sec after completing the run (ie- push-ups, crunches, lunges, bench press, squats, etc
    • Bike, Elliptical, or Row at a Moderate-Hard effort for 5:00
    • Strength Exercise for 30-60sec
    • Run Mod-Hard for 5:00
    • Strength Exercise for 30-60sec
    • Bike, Elliptical, or Row at Moderate-Hard Effort for 5:00
    • Strength Exercise for 30-60sec
    • Run Hard for 5:00
      Total Time (including warm-up and cool down jogs)- app. 50min
  2. “The Cruise Ship Cruise”– Most cruise ships have at least a 400m track on the top level for exercise on board. Use this to your advantage with the below session for both speed and stamina. If not out to sea, this workout can be done around a park loop or local running track just as easily.
    • Run one lap “Moderate” no matter the track length (Half-Full Marathon Effort), run one lap easy for recovery
    • Run one lap “Fast” (5K-10K Effort), run one lap easy for recovery
    • Repeat until you have been going for 20-40min, depending on experience
      Total Time– 50-60min
  3. “The Exotic Fartlek”– Let’s assume you have travelled to a new city in Europe, or have taken an exotic trip to Hawaii, or… you get the picture. Provided your surroundings are safe, you can always do fartlek training (“speed play”) no matter where you are in the world. Leave your hotel or resort, warm-up for a bit, and then begin a series of untimed surges at varying efforts and for varying distances.

    Sprint to the top of the next hill, run fast from monument to monument, fountain to fountain, café to café… no matter what you do in this workout, the point is to explore and have fun. You will still get in some great speed training or an up-tempo workout along the way.

    Total Time- as much as you have to spare; even ten minutes of hard fartlek has value.

Enjoy your travels, fellow runner!

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases

Recommended reviews

Expert score

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi X Review

The Hoka One One Bondi X is a super premium, max-cushioned trainer with a ... (Read expert review)
Expert score

Saucony Omni 20 Review

The Saucony Omni 20 is a moderate stability trainer built for miles. It ... (Read expert review)
Expert score

Nike Air Zoom Rival Fly 3 Review

The Nike Air Zoom Rival Fly 3 is an old school, lightweight tempo trainer with ... (Read expert review)
Expert score

Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 Review

The Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 is a stiff, maximum stack, max-cushioned trainer ... (Read expert review)
Expert score

Altra Torin 5 Review

The Altra Torn 5.0 is a road shoe that can pretty much do it all. Light enough ... (Read expert review)
Expert score

New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 Review

The redesigned and rebuilt New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo 5 is an exceptional ... (Read expert review)