Hooray for vacation! But what about my training?!?


Posted by Coach Patty Collins

It’s late March or early April and if you live someplace that has colder temperatures or snow, you are ready for winter to be over.  If you have kids, you’ve probably been informed daily since Valentine’s Day of the hourly countdown until spring break vacation begins!!!  Maybe you have a trip planned to someplace warm, that’s high on outdoor activities and low on WiFi opportunities.  You are making your list of what to bring:  flip flops, sun screen, swim suit, S’mores ingredients, Farkle, books you’ve wanted to read and then it hits you:

I can’t bring a bike on this vacation!

I’m going to miss three strength sessions!

What if the hotel pool is only 25 feet instead of 25 meters!

All my winter training, suffering through trainer workouts and running sessions on the dreadmill, is it all down the tubes when I go away for a week and do nothing!!!!!


Fear not!  It’s only one week! All is not lost.  Instead of focusing on what we are missing, let’s look at a way to be creative and still get some good workouts in. Let’s view a vacation as an opportunity to change it up, make some memories, and then look forward to jumping back into a training plan the following week

My family has rented a house with a couple other families this year and we are going to the Keys.  I’m lucky because there is a canal right out our back dock where I can swim.  I’m lucky because one of the kids on our trip is a 12 year old swim team kid.  I’m unlucky because he swims his 100 meters in 1:09!  However, once I have a warm up in and some drills, I have someone to challenge for lots of sprint races.  I’m sure I won’t want to be abused every day with these sprints, but I suspect there will be a fair amount of laughing and betting races for clean up chores after dinner.  If one has access to only a small hotel pool that is a great opportunity to really focus on those drills we tend to push off off as our season builds. One arm drills, sculling, fast starts, even kick drills can be done in pretty small pools. Who knows, you may even discover your inner mermaid (or merman)!

What about running? Maybe you are staying someplace without a treadmill and the streets are not optimal for running.  How about running the stairs of the hotel?  When you only have to do this for one or two workouts, it won’t seem so boring.  Spice things up a bit, stopping for pushups or burpees every couple of flights.  We can also find a parking lot and do some great running drills.  Walking lunges, skips, karaoke, high knees, butt kicks, strides.  A couple of 30 minute workouts can improve our run form and hip mobility and still get our aerobic system working hard. 

My family is pretty close to the beach. I’m not necessarily a fan of running in the sand, but since I don’t have the opportunity very often, it will be a nice change. Challenging other adults and kids to a few relay races will help us all earn our ice cream dessert and add to special memories of our vacation.

Games like soccer, Frisbee football and beach volleyball can involve kids and adults and we all get a great workout in. (Wearing a Garmin for these events is purely optional!)

With strength training, stretching and yoga, there are really no excuses here. Take a few stretchy bands, tennis balls or a portable foam roller, and we can really spend some extra uninterrupted time early morning or before bed on this. YouTube has a pretty great collection of short routines ranging from Sun Salutations to Myrtles for your Girdle.

We are likely to be most successful if we plan a couple short workouts into our vacation and put them on our calendars. I like early morning and know if I can start my day off with a little bit of exercise, my whole outlook is better. Knowing I can involve others to share workouts with me is creative, special and memorable. So, I’ll miss my brick and my run intervals that week.  Who cares!  I’ll have such great time sprinting across the beach with my son. They say what kids want most in a vacation is prolonged play-time with their parents. I’d say it’s what parents want most as well.

Stay active and come away with great memories, feeling refreshed!

Coach Patty Collins is a USAT Level 1 Coach, USAC Level III, and USMS Level II Coach. She is a Veteran having served 24 years in the Army with deployments to the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, retiring in 2015.  She joined Team MPI in Jan of 2017 shortly after competing in the Paralympics in RIO as a triathlete. A life long athlete, Patty began as a high school runner and switched to Triathlon in college and has dabbled in bike racing and kayaking. Patty's drawn to coaching because of its inherent reliance on developing relationships with athletes and establishing and sharing goals. She enjoys the process immensely and believes it's one of trust, confidence, life balance, goal setting, and joy along the way. Patty has one (adorable) son. She can be reached at Patty@TeamMPI.com

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