So we've dealt with silly season; next comes holiday season. For anyone who relies heavily on routine to fulfil their exercise objectives, holidays can be quite the challenge.
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All the familiar props are removed and as a result, more than often, so is the incentive to do any training. And that's OK, because you're on holiday, right? But it's also nice to do something to offset the extra eating and drinking that's likely to be occurring. And those post-exercise, feel-good endorphins that put you in such a great state of mind and make you better company are pretty nice, too.
Here are 10 holiday training options:
1. Do a short workout. Don't feel obliged to exercise daily, but when you do, make it quality over quantity. If you're at the beach you could run really hard for 20 seconds then jog very slowly for 20 seconds, then repeat until six minutes is up (warm up first). Get down and do six minutes of core work - a mixture of strength, stability and power exercises - then get up and do another six minutes of on-off running. If you run flat out when you're supposed to, your heart rate will tell you about it. Then dive into the sea. Bliss.
2. Do an out-and-back run. Another easy one if you're at the beach, but useful anywhere that you know you can extend the course a bit the next time. The out-and-back is a good run to do solo, a good run for added intensity, and good for pacing awareness, which is important for managing fatigue in races. Aim: run one direction at recovery pace and after a set time, say 20 minutes, turn around and run back the same route at half-marathon to 10km race pace. Ideally you don't want to be more than 10 per cent faster on the way back than you were on the way out, so you want to negatively split your run, but not by too much.
3. Go for an exploratory "base" run on your own. Use the run as an excuse to discover your new neighbourhood. Take a mud map with you and enjoy the sights. Or go one-way and meet friends or family at the end point.
4. In the US? Do a city running tour where you "sweat and sightsee" simultaneously. In Europe there's Go Running tours. In fact, most cities now offer organised running tours. Free city runs are also offered out of specialised running shops, too - a more low-key, casual option.
5. Do a parkrun. In multiple cities and thousands of parks in nine countries you can do a free, timed 5km run. Even in the snow. What could be more different?
6. If you're in a hotel and not usually a gym user, do something radical and try out some of the apparatus or sign up for a class.
7. Choose an active or action holiday. It's a win-win situation. You get to exercise while you're sightseeing or just having fun. Obvious options include ski holidays and cycling holidays. My family and I will be somewhere between Vietnam and Thailand when this blog is published, on a 475km cycle trip with Grasshopper Adventures. Let your imagination run wild.
8. Take a skipping rope or an exercise band with you. And take it out of the suitcase. And use it.
9. Try pool running. It's a fave workout among elite runners. Great for training while injured; or when it's too hot to run. And it's efficient. And ladies, you can do it in a bikini. You can do some intervals, like high-intensity bursts, and some strides. But make sure you've got the technique down pat first.
10. Dance a lot. 'Nuf said. Have a good time.
Do you have any failsafe strategies to keep you exercising while on holidays?
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