If you're like many people, you enjoy running for overall fitness and to keep your weight down. It can be hard enough to stick with a running program at home, when you're balancing work, family and other responsibilities. Add travel into the mix and maintaining a fitness program while on the road gets even harder. It's even more important to stick with your running program while traveling since you likely have less control over what you're eating and the quality of your sleep may decline. Fattier foods plus less sleep is a formula for putting on unwanted pounds. Here are my top 6 tips for sticking with your running program while traveling for work.
Things You Will NeedYour running gear
WalkJogRun app or RunKeeper app (optional)
Helpful hotel staff
Bring your fitness clothes
Map out running routes in advanceUse websites such as walkjogrun.net or RunKeeper's map maker to map out a route near your hotel. WalkJogRun allows you to see routes that local runners have saved and to filter them by distance. If you have a smartphone you can even save these maps onto your phone for quick reference at your destination using the WalkJogRun app. On the RunKeeper website you can also create a map for your destination but it won't have been "endorsed" by local runners and you may find it unsuitable if, e.g., it traverses busy highways or takes you into unsafe neighborhoods.
Ask the hotel concierge for advice about running locally
Many hotels have printouts of running routes accessible from the front door of your hotel. These maps often have running routes of different lengths so you can tailor your run to match your desired goal. The staff may know of a nice wooded trail or park that is popular with local runners. The concierge or hotel desk clerk can also provide helpful tips about which areas of town are safe to run in and which you may want to avoid.
Avoid the crowds at the hotel's fitness center
If you're like me you prefer running outdoors to using the "dreadmill". However, if it's too inclement or unsafe to run outside you can still stick to your running schedule by using the treadmill in the hotel's fitness center. Keep in mind that all your fellow business travelers will have the same idea so it pays to get up a little earlier or to work out at off-peak times to avoid the crowds. Peak hours are usually 6:30-8:00 am and 5:30-7:00 pm.
If the lone treadmill is taken and you can't wait for it to be free consider hopping on the elliptical machine or stationary bike. These can help keep you fit and give you a chance to exercise a different set of muscles while still getting in your cardio workout. Try to exercise for as long as you would normally run and get your heart rate up to where it would be on your daily run. You may find yourself more challenged by this alternate form of exercise simply because your body is not used to it.
Ask if your hotel can get you into a local fitness center
If the hotel doesn't have its own fitness center, ask the front desk staff if the hotel has an arrangement with another local fitness center. You may have to walk a few blocks and pay a modest fee (usually $10 or less) but it's worth it to stick to your running schedule and keep those pounds off.
Balancing travel and running for weight loss can be difficult but is well worth the trouble. So, lug that running gear, do your homework to map out running routes in advance or take full advantage of your hotel's offerings to stick with your weight loss plan and stay in shape.