Four Tips for Staying on Track with Your Training While on a Family Vacation

My family is on vacation in northern Wisconsin where we own a small fishing cabin, and I needed a pool swim.  Badly.  It's summer in the U.S. for crying out loud, how hard could it be to find some lane lines?

Normally I'd go to the nearby high school.  It educates the local youth plus the kids from the Ojibwe people of the Lac du Flambeau tribe, and has a nice 25-yard pool.  The facility is about 23 miles away, but was (surprisingly) closed for remodeling.

I guessed it to be about 40 miles to the nearest YMCA.  But I really wanted to swim since I have a 5K event in Lake Michigan in five weeks.

So, I made the drive to the Y and clocked it at 46 miles, although I wasn't quite sure where I started.  Did I remember to zero the odometer?  As it turns out, the answer was no, for on my second trip, after zeroing the odometer in the driveway, I parked at the Y with 53.5 miles showing.

"Jeez that's a long way. Was my swim workout really worth it?" YOU BET! I'd easily drive a measly 53 miles if it meant 4,300 uninterrupted yards of chlorine-scented bliss. The box was checked, and I could continue with my family bonding time in the right frame of mind.

As a triathlete, you know that feeling. You're on holiday but the situation does not lend itself to you matching your pre-selected training requirements.  You're in sync with the family, but a little edgy—not as relaxed as you could be.  Your logbook beckons, but you think there's not much you can do about it. Basically, you're one tooth off.

Actually, there's a good bit you can do about it. As you might suspect, there's a little prior planning involved. OK, there's a fair amount of prior planning involved but it is so worth it during your week's vacay. This is especially true when, even after a vacation, you can toe the line at your next important race with no real gaps in your training.

First, let's assume you're an athlete who uses some type of periodization model and can schedule your recovery week to match your vacation. You bust it for the two weeks before departure. So far so good. Then, depending on the type of vacation planned, relaxing at Aunt Emily's house in the suburbs versus white water rafting the Colorado River down the Grand Canyon, different settings require different plans.

Let's pick something in the middle and assume your prior week will be pretty hard. So, in addition to the away from the office time allowing you to mentally back off, you can physically back off as well. Remember, this is recovery. Many if not most triathletes allow snippets of the sport to slip into the forefront of their minds many times per day. Although this won't stop while traveling, you can't turn off who you are, perhaps it can be shifted into the backseat of one's brain for just this week.

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