Wednesday, 3 April 2013

How to stick to your training while on a business trip

I had a whopper of a training week last week.  A grand total of two runs during my four-day business trip to Cape Town added up to a wildly impressive total mileage of 3.5 km for the week (most of which was up and down a flight of stairs, if that makes it sound any better)...  Needless to say that I feel a bit frustrated, especially with my planned half-marathon PR attempt coming up in just over a month.

In hindsight there were a lot of things that I could have done differently that would have made it a lot easier to stick to my training plan while away from home.  Note to self:

  • Do as much research as possible beforehand: Are there safe running routes close to your accommodation (confirm this with more than one person/institution!)?  At what time does the sun rise?  Are there regular running groups in the area that you can join for a run or two?  The owner of the BnB where I stayed was of the opinion that the neighbourhood was safe to run in, but upon my arrival I just didn't feel comfortable running there alone and in the dark (the sun rises too late for fitting in a longish run before work).  If I'd done my homework better, I could have planned for this.


  • Be adaptable:  I'm a morning runner, but running in the evenings after work (with a lot more daylight available) would have been a much better option had I provided for healthy mid-afternoon snacks (see next bullet point).  I also tried to compensate for missing out on longer runs (which I deemed unsafe while flying solo in an unfamiliar area) by doing some shorter, high intensity workouts (a.k.a. The Stairs...). 

  • Carry your own food:  You obviously cannot carry enough meals for four days in your carry-on, but I once again learned the hard way that packing your own, healthy snacks is never a waste of space.  Mealtimes in a business environment will almost always be different from what you are used to at home: Dinner might be way later than you're used to; you might have to skip certain meals while working on a deadline; or the food provided may not be as healthy as you would have wanted.  Be prepared with your own stash of healthy snacks, but also realize that one  or two unhealthy meals will definitely not mean the end of the world.

Snack container veggies
Snack bin.  Longer trips will obviously call for non-spoiling food types [source.]

  • Get a colleague to join you on a run: One of my male colleagues offered to run with me towards the end of my trip and I really loved the opportunity to get out there and enjoy Cape Town's beauty!  If only I had made this arrangement sooner (or before my trip), I could have had more runs and less stairs.

Do you often travel for business?  How do you ensure that you stick to your training and healthy eating schedule while you're on a business trip? 


  1. This is great advice! I'm off on a training course to Spain in a couple of weeks, and I have been worrying about how to fit my workouts in- will take your tips on board! :) Beki

    1. So glad you found the tips helpful, Beki! Have a wonderful trip to Spain!

  2. nothing beats a good stair workout when your in a hurry

    1. I agree, Chris - I could definitely feel it in my legs. I could barely move the next day!

  3. Great tips for vacationers, too! I especially like to bring my own snacks. Those little bar samples that you receive in race packets or at expos are great to take on a trip.

  4. Hi Tina! Great tip to keep the bar samples for trips. Now I'll just have to hide them from Will, though... ;)

  5. Great advice! Those stairs look mighty impressive as a workout!

  6. Those stairs are scary!
    Great tips I always used to run when I was far from home for business.
    Sometimes I had to train on the treadmill inside the hotel because of the weather (for instance Stockholm in February) or the unknown place (f.i. China).
    Good luck on your PR attempt.

  7. Your snack bin looks delicious! Yum! Great job on at least getting in some workout time. It's hard to do away from home sometimes.


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