Tips for the Traveling Runner
"How's your schedule next week? Can you come out for a few sales calls?" the regional manager asks as you begin mentally rearranging your schedule, a task about as easy as herding cats. You say "yes" and anticipate a week of adventures in Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis and other glamorous destinations. What you then immediately think of is "How will I run?" Unlike most people, we throw our athletic clothing in the suitcase even before those important business shoes or suit. Because if we don't, we can look forward to that jittery feeling on trip day number two, when twelve hours of sedentary madness and eating way too much toxic restaurant food begin to make us crazy enough to want to run up the "down" escalator, slam dance in the subway, travel twenty miles to find a health club, anything to feel that I'm-ok-you're-ok endorphin high we get after one of those Tuesday evening speed workouts.
Having recently upped the level of business travel during the crucial three months before the "Boston marathon", I had to find ways to work in a workout, sometimes in unconventional ways. Here are 10 tips you may find useful for athletic survival on that trip, business or otherwise:
Get in the zone - Since domestic travel from the New York area usually requires
flying to an earlier time zone, take advantage of local aversions to early-birdism
and run before you're expected at breakfast. In San Jose, a 5 am run would feel like
8 am to your body (and you'll probably be wide awake anyway); plus, crime risk and
traffic are almost non-existent. You'll feel great all day, and don't need to waste
time on an extra shower.
Let your fingers do the running - Going crazy in that hotel room and can't find
a map? Look in the phone directory for local street maps. A recent stay near Chicago's
O'Hare Airport looked initially dismal, but the yellow pages revealed a greenway park
with many miles of riverside trails just beyond industrial-ugly buildings.
Find a race - Use those yellow pages again to find a
running shoe store for local race opportunities. Sometimes there'll be a weekday
evening race or group run you can join.
Corner the concierge - Some hotels provide running
loop maps for people like yourself.
Free laundry - Wash your used running clothes while you
shower. Dry hotel rooms tend to evaporate the moisture from well-wrung & hung shorts,
shirts and socks within 24 hours, so you don't need to pack more than a set or two
Out & Back - If you have no map, no extra time and
no need for adventurous outings, just run up the main street from your hotel
until you've run half the time you need, then turn around and run back. You can
entertain yourself looking for restaurants and shopping opportunities on the way.
Stormy weather - If it's too hostile outside to run,
get a cab to a health club. A $10 round trip fare and a $10 guest fee will usually
get you unlimited cardio and weight-training time at a World Gym or other local
Buddy up - Ask local co-workers if they would like
to run with you. Those that do will know decent loops, trails and their
distances, and it sure beats the hotel lobby bar for shmoozing potential.
B&B for R&R - If your business allows it,
stay at a bed & breakfast inn. It's cheaper, more homey and less intimidating
than the megachain, and the innkeepers know the roads and neighborhoods a lot
better. One of my favorites in Santa Clara even offered to take me to his
Get while the gettin's good - As soon as you get a
break, run for it. Never assume you'll have another one soon. I've never
regretted going on a run now rather than putting it off until I "had more time".
Above all, have fun. You'll be perkier, more relaxed and more confident than sedentary business folks and tourists... and you can eat that buffet special guilt-free!
Run The Planet thanks The Road Hog Athletic Club (www.roadhogs.org) for the permission to reprint the article "How Can I Work Out When I'm On the Road Again?" by Randy Brophy. Text copyright © by Randy Brophy. Illustration copyright © 2001 by Run The Planet