Triathlon Training on the Road

The summer travel season doesn’t have to destroy your training for summer races.

Summertime means barbecues, holidays, vacations, and plenty of traveling to go along with them. If you’re a triathlete, it also means you are in the thick of your competitive season. You’ve got key races to crush and specific workouts to nail. It can get a bit messy when your training mixes with travel time. It may feel like traveling and quality training time are mutually exclusive, but rest assured they are not. The key to quality training while you travel begins with prioritizing well and having a plan of attack.

Prioritize First, Then Plan

Some workouts are more important than others. When it comes to planning how you will get your workouts done on the road, this becomes even more true. Knowing what is most important ahead of time and prioritizing accordingly can save you a lot of hassle and streamline your planning. Logistics and convenience play a vital role while traveling. With that in mind, prioritize disciplines as follows:

  1. Running and Strength
  2. Swimming
  3. Cycling

Running and strength are the easiest pieces to plan, logistically speaking. Running is simple: put on your shoes and get out the door. Running is also a great way to maintain your cycling fitness while you’re on the go. Specific demands create specific adaptations, so cycling will always be a better choice if you need the work there, but running can go a long way in a pinch.

Strength is convenient since you can often find a gym at your hotel or do your own workout in your room. Pack a set of resistance bands just in case your lodging doesn’t provide worthwhile exercise equipment. Strength workouts are high on the list because of their power as a short-term substitute. A good strength routine can help you increase power, improve your VO2 Max, and better your muscular endurance, to name a few. Pair it with running and you can get a heck of a lot done without having to sweat too many details.

Running and strength lend themselves well to one of the most important factors of your training: consistency. If you are going to choose anything, choose a workout that you know you can get in consistently while you’re traveling.

Swimming isn’t as convenient to train as running, but doing it consistently is just as important. [Photo courtesy Pixabay]

Swimming is second on the list only because it is less convenient and harder to plan for. It is the most technique driven of the three disciplines, so it requires the most consistency and practice. Making time for it while you’re away is worthwhile. The hardest thing is finding places to swim. Swimmer’s Guide is a great resource to find a lap swimming pool near your destination.

Cycling is last because it is by far the most difficult logistically – lots of equipment and transporting your bike. If you are someone who is a weaker cyclist and needs to work on it while you are out exploring, then make it happen. A bike rack (with locks) is a worthwhile investment if you’re driving, and most airlines allow you to check a bike for an extra fee. If those two options sound daunting, you can also track down a gym with spin bikes as a substitute, just try to get the bike setup as close to your own bike fit as possible.

Find a Club

Now that you have an idea of how to think about structuring your training on the road, one truth still remains: training alone is no fun. There are hundreds of great clubs across the globe and most would be more than happy to have you drop in to train. Here are some resources to find a club in your travel destination:

Budget Your Time, Balance With Intensity

Once you know how you will train and who you will do it with, it’s time to tackle the last hurdle: budgeting your time wisely. Taking a bit of time out of your day to block out your schedule goes a long way towards reducing travel stresses and ensuring a great trip.

If you know you will be tight on time, remember that volume and intensity work together to create your overall training stress. Shortening the duration and increasing the intensity will get the most bang for your buck without killing a ton of time.

Here are two examples of how you can get a quick, great workout in while you’re traveling:

Example Bike or Run Workout – 60-60s: 

  • Warm-up for 10-15 minutes
  • 15 x 1:00 at your best sustainable effort (BSE)
  • Recover easily for one minute between intervals

Example Pool Workout – Quick and Dirty:

  • 10 x (100 hard, 50 easy). Hard should be about a perceived effort of 7-8 on a scale of 10
  • Add in drills for a warm-up or cool down if you have time

Plan to Train for a Successful Summer

There you have it. If you can prioritize well, make some friends, and be as consistent as possible it will go a long way towards helping you successfully mix quality training with your travel schedule. This is by no means an exhaustive list. What are your go-to tricks for getting the most out of your training schedule while you are out and about?

Need some ideas for that hotel-room workout? We’ve got you covered:

3 Amazing Full-Body Workouts for Summer Vacation