Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Running on the Go

The summer is the harbinger of doom. As the weather continues to heat up, so does my work travel schedule. Summer is my trade show and convention season. Starting in May, I am forced to make more and more travel plans. Coming up are trips to Nashville, Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago.

These travels will not affect my current training plan, but are sure to interfere with my preparation for the Akron Marathon in September. Last year, I had the same problem. I was out of town the week before and the week after the race. Not much of a problem before since I was tapering, but walking around lightly carpeted concrete floors for three days after running a sub-eon marathon was not fantastic.

And let's not to mention the flight, which was only slightly less comfortable than John Denver's last trip.

This year, more of my travels will be before the marathon, which means I'm going to have to be both flexible and extra diligent about my training. Two problems inevitably seem to arise at these functions. One is finding the time to run. Two is the food that seems popular at these events. Therefore, I bring you two rules for overcoming the traveling work blues.

Rule No. 1: Be Flexible
The good news for us runners is that we don't need a whole lot. A brief window of time and a place to go and we're set. Time is the biggest challenge. As an evening runner, I am forced to get out of my routine. Post-event socializing and networking B.S. invariably get in the way. This is when I force myself to run in the morning.

As an East Coast resident, I am usually lucky enough to travel west where I naturally wake up earlier than the rest of the sane world. This is usually my best bet to get a run in. However, sometimes I can sneak away during lunchtime to grab 30 minutes or so. The lunchtime run also allows me to escape those fine people whose company I pretend to enjoy.

Considering where to run is an easy one for me. Outside. Down the road. Around the hotel grounds. In a parking deck. Sometimes you get lucky and find a running trail nearby. Just ask and just go is my policy. If the hotel staff can't point you in the right direction, pick a direction and start your watch.

Rule No. 2: Be Prudent
Have a plan of attack. I always know what my work duties will be when I travel, so I know where my opportunities to run will be. However, this rule pertains more to eating. Or what you call fueling once you're in the middle of your race training geekdom.

I've been to enough trade shows and conferences to know what food will be provided. Usually, a continental breakfast, a light lunch and appetizers. It's those last two that seem to offer the silver platters of crap food. The ubiquitous greasy fingerfoods, dissatisfying sandwiches, potato chips, soft drinks, pasta (if you're lucky) and fatty fish, poultry or beef. And don't forget dessert.

Breakfast seems to be the only time I can find something relatively healthy to eat, and that's where I stock up. Not to harp on this Viper-really-despises-mornings thing, but I don't typically eat a large breakfast. However, to avoid overeating the poop, I force myself to down a bigger breakfast. And then I make sure to swipe a piece of fruit or a bagel for later.

This plan usually tides me over until dinner when I have a little more freedom to get what I want, which is probably not all that much healthier but certainly more satisfying. But remember, if your planning fails, see Rule No. 1.

[Drunkard's note: Do I have to mention that you actually have to remember to pack your running clothes or is that obvious?]


Danielle in Iowa in Ireland said...

Some essential piece of running material always seems to be forgotten. I'm the worst packer ever!

Nitmos said...

You can always practice your craft on the pretend athlete's torture device: the treadmill.

Ian said...

I always manage to get my runs in when I'm traveling, but I always fail at eating healthy. For some reason it's harder to eat sensible portions when I know I'm expensing all my meals.

B. Kramer said...

Packing is easy ... when you're a dude.

I've run on a treadmill twice in my life. That was two times too many.

Razz said...

What usually gets me are the customer appreciation dinners with open bars. That usually submarines any early morning run.