When traveling, there is so much control you have to give up, or risk being constantly frustrated. When you’re training for something, giving up control is pretty much the last thing you want to do, but stick with me here, it’s the only way to make it through and stay healthy, mentally and physically. But if you’re going to have to stay flexible, I’m a big fan of having options to help me stay as close as possible.
Sleep is one of the most important parts of not just training, but life. When traveling for work, it’s usually the first thing to go. Late night flights, group dinners with a little too much wine, early meeting starts… they all contribute to it being tough to get the hours you really need. For me, the balance between training and sleep is always a gray line waiting to be crossed. I usually set some rules for myself based on how long I’m gone for, and what my training schedule looks like. For example, if I’m only gone for one night, and I’ll get at least 5 hours of sleep even with late flights, I pick training.
To help make sure I get as much sleep as I can, I pack a few things to ensure I put myself in the best position to sleep well. I pack a rollerball of lavender oil to help me sleep better in hotels (if you’re staying at a Westin, ask the front desk if they have any, I’ve gotten several small ones from them that I keep in all my carry-ons). I always bring my favorite PJs so I’m cool and comfy. And, I always bring my Kindle filled with books to free my mind up from whatever happened during the day. Right now I’m reading The Weight of Blood, and it’s fabulous (although if psychological thrillers scare you, don’t go down this path).
I haven’t been able to eat dairy for over a decade. When I’m home, this is not an issue, but when other people are planning meals, I try to make sure I have options just in case. I also know it’s a pain to order something special for lunch, so my go-to for breakfast when I’m traveling is always Picky Oats. I can always count on being able to get a cup and hot water to make it, and I can usually scrounge up a spoon. I stock up my bag with Picky Bars, turkey sticks (these from Thrive Market are some of my faves), and always carry some collagen peptides to add to my coffee for some added protein boost.
Since traveling always leaves me extra dehydrated, I always bring my handheld water bottle for runs, and bring single serving packets of Skratch to give me a little boost. This past week, my quick trip to Miami, was saved by my water bottle full of electrolytes and carbs, because holy hell it was hot. Extra tip: snacks fit nicely into most sports bottles, and help better utilize space. Mine is always filled with something tasty that gets thrown into my work bag for the day.
It’s easy to let your mind get caught up when you’re running a million miles an hour – hopping flights, sitting in long meetings, dinners that go way too late – and we all know how hard training is when you’re mind is focused on literally everything else. While I try to limit extraneous stuff in my bags when I travel, I always bring my journal. If i journal for even 5 or 7 minutes, it helps clear my mind up, and refocus. This Insta account is one of my go-tos for prompts, but even asking yourself simple questions like how could I have been nicer to myself today, or what’s something I can do today to help reach my goals.
Like in life, training is all about the small stuff. The more you plan for flexibility when traveling, the better outcomes you’ll have. It’s important to remember that cutting one workout short, or missing a hard workout to ensure you’re giving your body enough recharge time, will not make or break your training cycle. Give yourself permission to listen to your body, and then don’t second guess yourself. Move on to the next workout with excitement, and feeling confident.
What are some small things you focus on when you’re traveling while training?