Sunday, February 24, 2013

Travel Tips for the Multisport Business Professional

I've spent the bulk of the past three weeks on the road. My road-trip started with 3 days in Salt Lake City, followed by 5 days at home, 4 days in New Jersey, 2 days at home, 3 days in New York, and now finally headed home for 2 weeks before heading back to the east coast for a marketing course at Penn.

Traveling has long been the bane of the multisport athlete's existence. It takes hours out of days we don't have, screws up our sleep cycle and immune system, and introduces the complexity of finding the facilities to train 3 very different sports.

Since I've managed to stay regimented and handle the increased loads brought on by travel without sacrificing any training, I thought I'd share some of what's worked for me while on the road.

Travel: I'm fortunate to conk out pretty quickly when I'm tired. I can sleep just about anywhere so I try to maximize daylight hours (training hours) and book red-eyes for long-haul flights. A few benefits here: (1) for starters they're often cheaper than daytime flights, (2) you save a night of hotel costs, and (3) I rarely remember flying at all.

Accommodations: At the bare minimum you want a place with a treadmill. Air quality/elevation/inclement weather are all out to sabotage your training and this ensures you have no excuse. I always ask for higher floors (away from the street raucous) and a location far enough away from the elevator (which can turn into a huge annoyance if it has a loud chime).

Training: Here's where you really have to do your research. Look ahead to the workouts your coach has planned and determine what facilities you need to find. In my case it's rare that I have to train any less than all 3 disciplines, so I'm usually looking for a pool, some running trails, and a computrainer studio. Pool's are usually the tricky one, especially if you're traveling to a big city. I do a few things to track these facilities down: (1) search on Google (2) post to my social networks (3) leverage my network. And of course I'm relentless... I'll show up at a place at 5:45 in the morning and make them take me in so I can get my workout.

To illustrate the sacrifices I've had to make to train while traveling, I have below mapped out how the last three days in New York went for me:
  • Tuesday 2/19: 
    • 9:20PM red eye flight to NY
  • Wednesday 2/20: 
    • 5:30AM arrival in NY, take cab direct to Equinox gym
    • 6:00AM arrive at Equinox, name not on guest list, convince them to let me workout
    • 6:10AM one-hour and fifteen minute swim in horrid 3-lane pool in basement of the facilities. Regulars quickly learned to stay out of my lane
    • 7:30am shower and cab to work
    • 8:30AM work
    • 5:30PM take cab from work to computrainer studio (I called the guy about 6x today, finally got a hold of him and he was able to help track down a TT bike for me to borrow)
    • 6:00PM one-hour and thirty minute computrainer session
    • 7:30PM shower and take cab to dinner
    • 8:30PM dinner with team (showed up 30 minutes late, had team order for me)
    • 11:00PM finally check-in to hotel and go to bed
  • Thursday 2/21:
    • 5:10AM alarm goes off, throw on speedo and sweats and walk to subway
    • 5:26AM metro card doesn't work and I miss the tube, next one doesn't leave for 15 minutes
    • 5:30AM hail a cab to uptown
    • 5:55AM arrive at Columbia Uni and haul butt to the pool, speak the magic words "triathlon practice" and am let in no questions asked
    • 6:05AM late for swim practice, but still manage to get an hour in with the team
    • 7:15AM put on cold weather gear and do quick 7 mile loop around central park
    • 8:30AM take subway to hotel. shower & change and head to work
    • 10:00AM work
    • 5:30PM head back to hotel and jump on treadmill for another 45 minutes
    • 8:00PM head uptown for dinner with an old friend
    • 10:30PM sleep
  •  Friday 2/22:
    • 6:00AM alarm goes off, snooze
    • 7:00AM alarm has been snoozing for a while now, it's probably time to wake up
    • 7:30AM oh **** my flight is in 2 hours, stuff things in bags and run downstairs
    • 10:00AM flight home
    • 1:30PM (4:30PM ET) drive straight to work
    • 2:00PM work
    • 5:00PM drive home
    • 6:00PM 1 hour on trainer
    • 8:30PM sleep
It takes some work but you can find a pool and CT studio just about anywhere. And when that fails, don't be afraid to complete your workout on a stationary bike or in a oddly shaped wading pool. It might not be as comfortable, but it sure beats missing a day.

Training Essentials to Pack:
  1. Bike pedals
  2. Bike shoes
  3. Jersey & bib shorts
  4. Speedo
  5. Goggles
  6. Running shoes
  7. Running shorts
The irony, of course, is that I've had to sacrifice sleep to get in my training and am now starting to feel the onsets of a cold. Lets hope it passes quick!

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