Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Traveling and Training

Canals in Milan? Yup.
I haven't posted for a while and that's because Saturday I returned from a  two week trip (conference then vacation) to Italy.

I've always found it hard to train when traveling. In a big city it can be hard to find good routes that are free of traffic, etc.

Your spouse might not want to sit around the hotel for a couple of hours while you do a long run. 

I ended up only running 4 times in two weeks...... generally speed workouts, since I knew I would have plenty of recovery days.  The longest run was 9.5 miles  (around a 2 mile perimeter loop at the Milano public gardens)

gelato anyone?
Another "problem", in the case of Italy especially, is all that good food to tempt you. I think I gained 2-4 lbs on this trip. Now I have to burn it all off ...but it was worth it!

So, how do I cope with such a huge downtime from running? 

First, I try to do a really hard set of weeks before I start the trip...in that way the trip is a rest cycle.

Second, I know that I'm going to do a *ton* of walking on this kind of trip: The biggest walking day was when we took the train to Bologna and spent the day there. We spent about 7 hrs of our time there walking and covered about 15 miles.

This was not 15 miles of easy walking...this is on lumpy cobblestones, over curbs, etc...if you've ever been to an old European city you know that random height transitions on public walkways seem to be a design  requirement.

After that day, I remember thinking that I would rather run a marathon...it would be *much* less tiring. I felt like I'd been hit all over with a baseball bat. On other days we walked 4-9 miles and that was easier but still quite a good workout for the legs...

I did all that walking (and running) in my Nike Frees. At first the bottoms of my feet felt a bit sore, but by the end of the trip I was quite used to them... even on the cobbles. By the end of the trip my leg muscles were really stretched out...super!

The day after my return...on Sunday, in the afternoon I seemed  to be non-jet lagged and felt really rested and itching to get out there and hammer: I did a 9.3 mile run at 8:36 pace (8:30 is my PR half marathon pace).

Back in the saddle!

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