Okay, it’s finally April and I’m in the mood for thinking about vacations. I’ve had it with winter and being cooped up at home. I did get one vacation in February and guess what we did, SKIED!!!!! Didn’t even get to leave winter behind. But, I digress.
Trying to decide where I want to go on vacation got me thinking about traveling with my trihubby during race season and all that entails. I’m also considering myself lucky that I EVEN GET a separate vacation from a race venue; so many times they are combined. Since I have done this a few times over the years, I thought I’d put down my thoughts and give you my top tips for surviving an in-season vacation with a triathlete. It does take planning people….
PLAN A SPOT THAT HAS EASY ACCESS TO TRAINING. Since your triathlete is into serious training at this point, you have to plan a trip where they can swim, bike, and run. This means:
- You have to have a body of water nearby, a lap pool at the hotel, or access to a community pool in town.
- They will either be bringing their bike, renting a bike, or have to have access to a gym that has cycles or spinning classes – not an ideal way to train, but can serve the purpose. If bringing the bike, make sure you know where a local bike shop is in case something needs fixing. Also, check out our How To video on Packing a Tribike. If they would like to rent, you need to do your research here too for what’s available.
- Running can pretty much be done anywhere so yeah, no planning needed here. Oh, unless of course their training mandates hills or flat surfaces. Then, you’ll have to get a map of the local terrain (somewhat serious) or check with the hotel. There are also websites that provide bike routes/trails such as TrailLink and MapMyRide. Side note: We once went to Cayo Espanto in Belize and there was no gym. It was so small and all sand, so no place to even run. Now this is high end travel – THEY BROUGHT A TREADMILL TO OUR ROOM!!!! So, my trihubby ran on an outdoor patio facing the ocean for an example of Life Is Good.
- Check to see if there are any cross-training activities that would work in lieu of swim/bike/run that perhaps you and/or the family can participate in.
- Make sure you know the hours the gym is open in case they want to train early in the morning or late at night.
DECIDE WHETHER IT’S EASIER TO FLY OR DRIVE. If you have to take a bike and a lot of gear, it might be easier to find a location that you can drive to. That said, if your vacation time is limited, don’t waste it on the road.
ACCEPT THAT THIS IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE A LENGTHY OR YOUR DREAM VACATION. In my experience, I have rarely gotten more than a weeks vacation during race season. This is probably also not the time to do that African safari you have been dreaming of…..
PLAN A SPOT THAT YOU AND/OR THE FAMILY ARE MORE INTERESTED IN. You will be spending more time vacationing then your triathlete, so it’s important that YOU love where you’re going. An example I am partial to is northern California. You have wine country, San Francisco, Monterey area, Yosemite….. AND they have a great training ground.
COMMUNICATE EXPECTATIONS GOING INTO THE VACATION. Don’t wait until you’re on the trip to realize your triathlete will be gone 6 hours on a bike ride when you were planning to go to the Grand Canyon……Plan ahead when the training will take place to provide for plenty of together time.
REALIZE THERE IS LITTLE ROOM FOR SPONTANEITY. Most of the activities on the vacation will have to be planned out around the training schedule. There is little room for sleeping in one day or deciding to try say Vietnamese food, which you have never had before.
PLAN A SPOT THAT HAS ACTIVITIES FOR YOU &/OR THE KIDS. You will have a lot of alone time if they are training, so you’ll need a lot of activities to occupy your time. I’m thinking spas, beaches, amusement parks, hiking, sight-seeing…..
PLAN FOR PLENTY OF STINKY AND WET CLOTHES. You will either need to bring plenty of laundry detergent, have access to a washer/dryer, or send out for hotel laundry (always the most expensive choice). We do a lot in the sink and hang over the bathtub, shower rod….. Also, bring a plastic bag with you for wet clothes. Stuffits makes an odor-killing bag, especially for athletes. We also often bring an extra suitcase just for dirty laundry coming home.
PACK ESSENTIALS AND/OR CHECK TO MAKE SURE YOU CAN BUY THEM AT THE LOCATION. There are certain items that you need to bring, especially if they will be out riding or running in unknown territory. Then there’s the items they need and you have to ensure you can buy them at the vacation spot or you will need to bring them. Check with your athlete on what they need. A few suggestions:
- Post work-out wipes, such as Action Wipes
- Road ID
- FuelBelt for use on the run.
- Wallet for credit card, cash, phone, and driver’s license
- First Aid Kit; you can use a general one or get one specifically for cyclists, like Brave Soldier Crash Pack, for road rash.
- Gu, gels, bars, or whatever other nutritional needs and likes they have that you may not be able to buy where you are
DON’T PLAN ON DANCING TIL DAWN OR SLEEPING IN UNTIL NOON. Just saying, chances are they aren’t going to be doing a lot of drinking and partying, so don’t be disappointed if your disco craving doesn’t get satisfied! And, if they have to get up early to get in a long workout, you either have to be very good at falling back to sleep or just give in to the early mornings and know where you can get coffee…….