Whole Living Daily

Triathlon Training and Staying Active on Vacation

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Greetings from the Hudson Valley! This week's blog is coming to you live from my summer vacation; at the moment, I'm kicking back with a cup of tea in an adorable coffee shop in Beacon, New York. I've had a hectic, jam-packed summer, between moving, wedding planning, working non-stop, and triathlon training. So when my fiance insisted that we take some time off after I finished New York City triathlon a few weeks ago, I couldn't really argue.

But wait! I'm signed up for another triathlon -- the Danskin sprint tri in New Jersey with Team Whole Living -- in less than a month! This is when my most important training sessions should be happening ... so is this really a good time for a week-long road trip?

I'm staying in shape on vacation with heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping workouts like this Breakneck Ridge hike.

When I posed the question to my ever-patient fiance, he suggested a compromise: He promised we'd find a way to fit in some type of fitness every day, and I promised to chill out and relax around the campfire the rest of the time. I can definitely get on board with that.

We've been on the road now for three days, playing it mainly by ear but tentatively following the Hudson River upstate and camping along the way. Since it's not so easy to do the traditional running, biking, and swimming workouts needed for triathlon preparation, however, we've had to get creative with our daily doses of exercise.

Yesterday, we hiked a trail in Hudson Highlands State Park called Breakneck Ridge. The 3-hour walk/climb/scramble up rocky ledges and through the wilderness made my knees ache -- and my heart pound! -- more than any gym workout ever has.

This morning, since we'll be driving most of the day, we got up and ran a few loops around our campsite, and even tried a bit of trail running. And two days ago, we visited the camp lake, where I got in a good 30 minutes of open-water swimming practice.

We're giving ourself plenty of time to relax (and eat!), but I feel like with this plan, we'll come home from vacation feeling just as healthy -- maybe even more so -- than when we left. Have you ever had to train for an endurance event while on vacation? What are some ways you've stayed in shape? Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

  • Rent bikes (here are some tips for what to look for) and explore your surroundings on wheels. Training for a certain distance? Time yourself (or ask the bike shop if they have a bike computer you can also rent) and try to cover the same distance while you're sightseeing.
  • Pack your sneakers and use a site like MapMyRun or America's Running Routes to map out a tried-and-true route that's favored by local runners. Martha Stewart's trainer, Mary Tedesco, has plenty of tips for this one, as well.
  • Get wet. Near an ocean or big lake? Get some practice in your wetsuit -- and a full-body workout -- and try out surfing, boogie boarding, or stand-up paddleboarding. (Check out this review on SUP'ping I wrote for ESPNw.)
  • Check out Yelp, or daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social, for special discounts on yoga classes or gyms near your vacation destination. When I visited Portland last year, I used a local website to find a free week-long pass to a studio near our hotel!
  • Walk everywhere. This one's easy, but it's also easy to forget about. Walking's benefits are still tops with most fitness experts -- it's low-impact, requires nothing but a pair of comfortable shoes, and burns plenty of calories. Whether you're blazing a peaceful trail through the woods, exploring museums, taking a tour, or covering the mileage between your hotel and your destination downtown on foot, every step you take can make a difference (and save you money on cab fare!).
  • Pack for fitness. Don't forget your running shoes and socks, a bathing suit, workout gear, a hat or visor, and anything else you use -- pedometer, heart-rate monitor, watch, iPod -- for your regular workouts. It's also smart to take some type of carrying case to keep your belongings in while you're out and about; I recently picked up a SpiBelt, essentially a much more fashion-friendly fanny pack, and I'm obsessed with it.

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of vacation -- and to plan out some more fun fitness activities for the next few days. (Got any suggestions?) See you next week!

Amanda MacMillan is a freelance writer, currently blogging about planning an budget- and eco-friendly wedding at LeanGreenBride.com. She has completed three Olympic-distance triathlons and several half marathons, and is looking forward to her first sprint tri this fall with Team Whole Living. Her triathlon training blog runs every Thursday on Whole Living Daily.

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