Vacation Running

We have traveled quite a bit over the last couple of months. Not long trips, but most of our weekends the last month have been spent somewhere other than at home. When we booked these trips I knew I would be in the home stretch of my training program for the Marathon and a Half coming up at the end of June. My solution was to rearrange the training schedule so the longer runs happened either when we were actually at home, or when we were somewhere fairly comfortable without a lot of other plans.

I’ve concluded that this was a mistake.

Let me back up a little and give myself a few kudos before beating myself up. I’ve never been good at making time for exercise while “in vacation mode.” It hasn’t ever mattered how minor the “vacation,” or how insignificant the exercise; if I had to sleep in a bed other than my own and bring a bag of clothes, I was on vacation. And, vacation = no concentrated, intentional exercise. Now, if I accidentally burned a bunch of calories because we walked for miles through a city and its shops: Bonus!

On our honeymoon, I brought running clothes to an all-inclusive resort. We were there for two weeks. I used them once for 30 minutes. That’s it. I just couldn’t fit any other trips to the gym in to my packed schedule: sleep, eat, drink, read by the pool, repeat.

So, I’m sure you can see how the idea of building in back-to-back training runs in multiple vacation locales this spring seemed daunting to me. Result: modification of an otherwise logical training plan.

Instead of the original plan (long run weekend followed by recovery week/shorter runs the following weekend), I grouped the shorter runs on consecutive weeks, leading to grouping the longer runs on consecutive weekends. Not only did I give up my recovery weeks, by not doing the longer runs on vacation, I ended up doing the longer runs in the Arizona heat! Sure, if I had done my 16- or 18-mile run while in San Francisco it would have seriously cut into our relaxation time – but it would have been so much cooler!

I can second guess myself all day long, but I can also acknowledge that it is a pretty big deal that I allowed myself to do any runs on a trip away from home. Serious personal growth here.

Clearly, there is something to the order of the training runs in this program. Clearly, it is better to give the body some time to recover between long runs. I’m used to the idea of progressively longer runs on successive weeks – but that, apparently, is training for a regular-old-marathon. This time I’m training for long runs on consecutive days – I’ve taught myself the hard way that recovery is even more important. At the same time, I taught myself that I can still have a great time on vacation while fitting in significant amounts of exercise. This has been a very educational spring, indeed.

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