My baseline fitness is typically ~25mi per week of running and 2mi of swimming with a few (2-4) yoga and/or bike sessions sprinkled throughout, depending on if I am in triathlon season or not. I understand this is not normal for 99% of people. However, I always make it a point to work out on vacation, because to me the ultimate luxury is being able to go for a run or other activity in the daylight hours. I know! What is it like to work out at 9am instead of 5 or 6am? The only way I ever see that time is on vacation. It is a treat and a luxury, although my spouse has no idea why I view it that way. This is how I maintained my fitness during our 18-day trip to Turkey:
- Workout day of / day before trip – November 18th was the day prior to take off and I got in a 5 mile run and the day of our flight I got in a 2000 yard swim knowing my access to pools would be limited once we arrived. Working out same day is uncommon as we are typically on 7am flights and there are limitations to how early I am willing to wake up, believe it or not. Because we had a noon flight, I was able to go to the pool by 6am, get in a swim, and be back home with Patrick tapping his foot at me at 7am.
- Coordinated around big activity days – A large part of our travel style is getting out and about early in the day and staying out until dinner. Typically, we walk wherever we can to get a feel for the city and limit reliance on transportation. This means we frequently logged 20K steps per day with our biggest day being 32K steps. If our day consisted mostly of intra country flights or we anticipated a smaller radius of activities, I used those opportunities to workout in the morning.
- Monitored hours of operation – This goes for both the hotel gym and the tourist attractions. We forget the world often doesn’t open before 9 or 10am because we are early birds, however it worked out well discovering that many attractions have a later start. Patrick understands it is a priority for me, so I was able to get in either a run outside or at the gym before we went to our first activity, with no loss to tourist time. That said, our Istanbul hotel (Para Palace) gym didn’t open until 9am (huge difference compared to 5am in Dallas) so I would do a bit of Yoga with Adriene prior to the gym opening and then be waiting outside the front door right at 9am. Two other pro tips: bring your ipad and download shows or movies so you don’t have to worry about an internet connection on the treadmill. I was hooked on Dead To Me during my trip there. Secondly, know your kilometer to mile conversions. As you can see below in my mileage, I had some strange distances because my garmin said one thing and the treadmill said another. I don’t get too hung up on it if I am running at all, but something to consider if the metrics aren’t native to you.
- Long run outside – This is almost a non-negotiable for me. I have done 12 miles on the treadmill in DC before while on vacation, but I avoid it at all cost. The most treadmill running I ever do is on vacation for the convenience. However, I was intentional about planning my long run day to be in a location that either had trails or shore or long roads without many stoplights. Cue: Urgup, Cappadocia. I ran 10 miles simply going from the main intersection and back 4 times.
- Run with wifi and only in the daylight – This is a safety protocol in every country, particularly when running outside by myself. We always bring a mobile hot spot with us on international trips so that we won’t run into any navigation or translation issues, as well as the convenience of being able to communicate with our families easily. We don’t have to perpetually ask coffee shops for their wifi password. I pack it in my spi belt, and wear an armband with my phone. I also have a Road ID with my medical details in case something really bad were to happen. In the US I know my routes really well and run with a 50lb dog, so running before daybreak is not a big safety concern. When running in unknown places, I am very particular about where/when to go. Only in the less populated areas of Bodrum, Seljuk and Urgup did I feel comfortable running outside. Cities with dense populations usually have more crime and it is easy to run into an area that is less safe, versus runs in the countryside that have parks, long road or defined running trails. Patrick is briefed the night before on where and when I will be running and I have the mobile hot spot on me at all times if I needed to contact him.
All in all, I ran almost 40mi while on vacation, a little over 2mi a day including international flight days. Have you done any of the above while travelling internationally or are all bets off when on vacation? See below for mileage and step counts!
Nov 19: 2000 yard swim
Nov 23: 4.3mi Run (treadmill)
Nov 24: 5.41mi Run (treadmill)
Nov 28: 10mi Run outside in Urgup
Nov 30: 5.43mi Run (treadmill)
Dec 2: 5mi Run outside in Seljuk (Ephesus)
Dec 4: 5mi Run outside in Bodrum
Dec 5: 4.65mi Run (treadmill)
Total Run mileage: 39.78mi
Turkey Step Count (inclusive of any workouts)
Nov 19: 8,924
Nov 20: 3,178
Nov 21: 25,132
Nov 22: 16,009
Nov 23: 26,419
Nov 24: 27,243
Nov 25: 6,405
Nov 26: 19,367
Nov 27: 6,311
Nov 28: 32,709
Nov 29: 14,150
Nov 30: 19,690
Dec 1: 12,590
Dec 2: 21,057
Dec 3: 10,186
Dec 4: 21,909
Dec 5: 14,376
Dec 6: 10,103
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