Training Through Summer Vacations
Summer is nearly here which means race season and summer vacations cannot be far behind. As your athletes’ “A” races near, how do you keep them on track while they are on the road?
First and foremost it is important to sit down with your athlete and discuss planned time away during the summer so you can schedule accordingly. In an ideal world the athlete will only be away for a few days at a time causing little, if any, disruption to the training schedule. In this case you can simply schedule a hard training block before or after what will then become some well-deserved downtime. However, the world is rarely “ideal” which means we often have to get creative.
With some planning, running is the ideal workout during a vacation. Running presents a great opportunity to explore new places and only requires a pair of shoes. If the location is not runner friendly (which begs the question, who would want to be there anyway?) then there is almost certainly a treadmill in the hotel. If the athlete will only be away for 3-4 days you can easily front load the week with biking and swimming while making running the primary focus while they are away.
Vacationing with a bike presents a bigger challenge and probably is not an option unless the athlete is driving to their destination. Again, riding a bike is a great chance to explore the area and discover places and activities they may not have found otherwise. However, due to the unfamiliar surroundings, it is best to keep bike workouts unstructured and fun, so focus on time in the saddle rather than lung-searing intervals. Not limiting your athlete to the road can open up other possibilities such as trail riding and may also make the workouts more likely to happen. If the athlete is not traveling with a bike the next best thing is a local spin class if there is one to be found. As a last resort there is the dreaded hotel bike, but with their large seats and poor ergonomics these contraptions should be avoided if at all possible.
You never realize how few lap lanes there are in the world until you are desperately trying to find one! If you or your athlete are not able to find a pool on this list www.swimmersguide.com then some other alternatives include finding a safe open body of water to swim in while practicing open water skills, or doing some very short laps in the hotel pool while dodging cannonballing kids and runaway beach balls.
Talk to your athletes and make time away part of their annual training plan.
Plan recovery weeks to coincide with vacations if possible.
Make running the primary focus while away and front load weeks accordingly.
Keep bike workouts fun and unstructured.
Finally, be realistic in your coaching expectations. Remember that a vacation can be the time off needed for recovery as well as regenerating motivation after a long period of work, family obligations and diligent training. If you do it right, your athlete will come back not only rested, but ready to hit it hard after their time off.