The Holidays Want to Mess With My Training

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Raise your hands if this is what your workouts look like during the holidays. No shame in it! And totally what I’d be doing… if I didn’t have to follow a solid training schedule.

Which I’ve laminated, just so you know:This is the 12-week plan that I start in a few weeks; right now I’m on week 4 of this plan and so far, it’s going pretty well. I’m following the workouts to the T, even if that means getting up at 5 a.m. to sneak in a swim before work, or spending quality time in the garage with the bike trainer in the wee hours of the night.

[By “wee hours” I mean 9 p.m. Obviously. I’m usually in bed and comatose by 10:30.]

The problem is, the holidays are coming, we’re going to be doing some fun holiday travel… and I’m only beginning to realize how complicated things get when you mix travel with triathlon training. Nearly impossible, indeed.

You see, running is simple. Packing a pair of shoes and a few running outfits may seem complicated, but at least all your stuff fits in a suitcase! Try fitting a bike into a suitcase? (Not impossible, but difficult — and expensive to transport!)

Not to mention, depending on where you’re going, riding outside may simply not be an option. OK, OK, I realize that for most of the Northern Hemisphere, riding outside is simply not an option during winter. But where I live, winter looks like this:And where I’m going for the holidays, winter looks like this:So what’s an half-Ironman wannabe to do? Here’s how I plan to adjust my training for travel this holiday season:

1. Swim: Scout the area for pools

Applies to travel in all seasons, anywhere. Wherever you’re going, chances are there’s an aquatic center or a community recreation & swimming complex that will not only have a 25-yard (or larger) pool, but will probably be decently priced, too. Lucky for me, the local rec center is only a few miles from where we’re staying, so I’ll be able to get in my two swim workouts as scheduled, without much fuss.

2. Bike: Gym? Or better?

Riding is a bit more complicated. Taking the bike (and trainer) with me isn’t an option; and neither is a stationary bike at a local gym. That might be OK for some, but personally, I hate the riding position of stationary bikes. I’m sorry, but sitting upright in a chair-like seat does not help work the muscles that need to be worked when you get aero on a road bike.

So what to do? I’ll sneak in my key bike workout for this week – a two-hour ride – before we leave. That’ll be a fun freezing one in the dark pre-dawn hours, but so what. It’ll leave only one ride (1-hour, easy) scheduled for this trip, followed by a 30-min run on the same day. That’s 90 minutes of cardio, which can easily be modified into running — or, who knows… maybe even skiing.

(Would it ruin my training if I just scratched this ride off the list? Probably not. But I want to run more and I have the perfect excuse to do it. So there.)

Run: In the snow!

Like this. And this. And this. I can’t wait!That is all!

How do you work training into your holidays – and holiday travel?

Today’s workouts:
Ah, it’s been a while since I’ve done this! Today was a pretty tough day, but also pretty great! Started with an hour and 15 minutes of tempo intervals in the morning, which felt amazing. All I’ll say is, after a month of MAF running, watching my heart rate like a hawk and hardly ever dropping below a 9:30 minute mile pace, picking up the tempo was a breath of fresh air. The workout was a 20-min warmup, followed by seven reps of 3-minute tempo pace/ 2-minute recovery, topped off with another 20-min cool down. Excellent.

The evening workout was speed at the pool. That is kind of an impossibility for me, but I did my best: a 300-yard warmup (alternate 50 swim/ 50 kick), then 20 times 75 at a fast pace, and a 200-yard cool down. A total of 2000 yards, or 1.14 miles, in a little over 41 minutes (not counting the breaks between each 75). For some perspective, in Ironman 70.3, people swim 1.2 miles… and most get it down in 35 minutes or less. ‘Nuf said, lots of work ahead!

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