Long time, no see! After getting back from Indonesia last week, I didn’t feel fully like myself, so it’s been a few days since I posted. I fell asleep by accident a few times in the afternoons while I was sitting up (jet lag, is that you?) and I had no appetite (which is seriously unheard of for me).
But I’m all back to normal now and I wanted to do a post about exercising on vacation, inspired by my thoughts during my Indo trip.
I don’t think there’s necessarily one right way to handle exercising on vacation, but in general, I like to run during trips for a few reasons:
1. It’s my favorite way to explore the city where I’m staying and a fun way to switch up my normal terrain. Running on beach boardwalks, over rocky trails, or on city sidewalks? Yes, please!
2. It’s low maintenance since I don’t have to pack many extra clothes to be able to run and I can do it even if there’s no gym nearby.
3. When I take multiple days in a row off from running, I tend to have more energy than normal. Having extra energy sounds like a great thing, but sometimes makes it harder for me to go to sleep.
4. To me, it’s easier to maintain my fitness rather than skipping a few weeks of running and having to get back in shape.
With that being said, I think flexibility is also really important when I’m out of my normal routine.
Take my recent 2-week trip to Indonesia, for example. Knowing that some trips are a one-in-a-lifetime experience, it seem silly to worry about something small like being able to work out. Back when I was consistently over-exercising, though, I absolutely refused to ever miss a run, so I know it can be a very real fear. Now, although I still really enjoy running, I’m happy to just stay as active as I can without stressing about it, especially since I’m not currently training for a race.
I checked beforehand and learned there’d be no way to run outside my hotel’s gates in Jakarta (imagine a more populated, more hectic version of New York City without all of the traffic rules and sidewalks and you kind of have a picture of Jakarta).
My hotel did have a gym, though, so I packed a couple of running outfits and decided I’d use the treadmill there to run enough to maintain my fitness and clear my head from time to time (while keeping in mind that if I needed to take 2 full weeks off from running because of lack of time or gym equipment, I could just consider it a nice rest for my legs).
[Total side note: running in that little non air-conditioned gym was quite an experience since the treadmill belt was slippery, there were lots of mosquitos inside, and sometimes people would come spectate and watch anyone who was working out.
I also did laps around the small gated lot of our hotel during the last few days of the trip, which ended up being funny since the same friendly hotel staff members would wave and say a cheery “hello!” every. single. time. that I ran by…which was no less than 20 times per 4 mile run. I smiled and waved back every time, too, and could only imagine how silly I probably looked to them.
And a couple of other guests came up to me during breakfast and asked me about my running, so lesson learned: Indonesia’s running culture is different than America’s. People might have been wondering if I was being chased.]
Anyway, during the first week, I ran 3-4 quick miles on 3 different days (taking the first few days off because of jet-lag and the 11-hour time difference). During the second week, I ran 3-4 quick miles on 4 separate days.
Running just enough to stay in shape worked out well because I was able to do it before everyone else woke up, and it was just enough to feel like my running hadn’t missed a beat once I started restarted my normal routine again (usually something like 5-7 miles per day, 6 days per week).
So, in summary, I learned:
-Running 3 days per week instead of 6 days per week won’t kill me (or you, either, probably). If I did that long-term, I’m not sure what effect it’d have on my running fitness, but short-term, it worked justttt fine.
-Skipping a run to hang out on the couch and talk about boyz is also a-okay sometimes.
-Running keeps some consistency in my routine when everything else (food, people, sleep schedule, surroundings, etc.) is totally different than normal.
-On trips that aren’t super active (i.e. our trip, which involved sitting in 6 hours of Jakarta traffic every day), it’s really nice to start the day off on an active note.
-Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. I’m still working on that one.
Questions for you– I’d love for you to weigh in!
How do you handle exercising on vacation? Do you worry about getting out of shape? Do you feel more freedom to indulge on vacation if you can maintain your normal exercise routine?
For runners: what’s your favorite place to run– beach, mountains, or other?