Are your vacations also vacations from working out?

Image description: 3 pic collage with a sailboat in a foggy harbour at the top; underneath a pic of Tracy’s shoe and shadow on a beach on the left and a beach and pier with boats of various sizes, blue skies and clouds on the left.
Image description: 3 pic collage with a sailboat in a foggy harbour at the top; underneath a pic of Tracy’s shoe and shadow on a beach on the left and a beach and pier with boats of various sizes, blue skies and clouds on the left.

Yesterday on Instagram I posted some photos from my morning run in Newport, Rhode Island, where I’m aboard our sailboat in the harbor for the week. I wrote “training doesn’t stop when I’m on vacation, right?” Followed by my usual favourite training hashtags this summer “#10Ktraining #fitatmidlife #fitisafeministissue” and this week’s “#newportri”.

There are two schools of thought about vacations. My caption captured the first–a vacation is not a vacation from training. A Facebook friend expressed the other really clearly in response to my post: “Then it’s not a vacation.”

I’ve had vacations where my training stopped for various logistical reasons, rarely by choice. I have always come back feeling off track and have difficulty sometimes getting back on routine. My activity may vary when I’m on vacation, but mostly I like to keep up some version of what I usually do: running, resistance training, yoga. I feel better all around when I do that. And have a better experience of re-entry when I get home.

But the other school of thought — a vacation is meant to be a break from routine, and that includes workouts and training routines — is compelling in its way. It must be especially attractive to people who see workouts and training as obligations that aren’t really an enjoyable part of life. Then, of course, it makes sense we would want to take a break. Feel refreshed. Just do the fun things. That’s what a vacation is all about.

I get that but since I’ve started incorporating activity into my life in a way I enjoy, I feel deprived when I don’t get to do the things. Unless I’m actually recovering from a huge event and needing to take time out as part of my training plan (which normally means active recovery and not inactivity), I feel more deprived if you don’t get to do any workouts while I’m traveling.

Does your idea of a vacation include a vacation from training?

7 thoughts on “Are your vacations also vacations from working out?

  1. You say is so well Tracy. The opportunity to enjoy my training and fitness activities in a new environment is mentally refreshing. Quite sure it helps avoid mental burnout. I can enjoy the activity taking in less familiar scenery and then, leisurely recover with a different sunset. Works for me–mind, body, spirit, and fun.

  2. For me it depends. Some holidays are deliberately extra exercise holidays because they’re bike trips. Travel holidays involve more walking and swimming than usual. It’s rare for me that they involve less movement. The time to do more physical things feels like a luxury. That said, I don’t usually do intentional workouts like bike drills or weight training. So for me it’s more time, more freedom, less structure.

  3. It depends. Right now I am in the midst of a marathon build. I have specific mileage goals and target paces to hit every week. A vacation during this stretch absolutely involves fitting in those workouts; they are a non-negotiable part of my life at these times.
    When I’m not “in training,” I like to keep some consistency with my running as I am able while travelling. Partially because it’s a fun way to see a new locale, partially because it helps keep me in the rhythm and makes returning to my regular schedule easier, and partially because it’s just what I do. I don’t make it a non-negotiable, though. If it impedes on my family’s plans or I just want to sleep in or I just want to have that glass of wine with supper or it’s otherwise burdensome to run, then I let it go.
    I think these are both valid approaches, and by no means feel that the first means that I failed to have a vacation.

  4. I agree with Sam, too! Working out, or really moving my body and getting my heart rate up is like sleeping and eating for me, something I do as a matter of course. Often a vacation involves hiking, as opposed to a training regime. If I’m in a city, then I’ll go for a run, find a yoga studio or some such. And that’s part of the adventure of the trip, either running on unfamiliar streets or trails or checking out how people in a new place engage in familiar activities. I can say that, for example, an aerial yoga class in Paris is very different from one in New York (or in Truckee, CA), all places I’ve gone to class.

  5. Agreeing with Sam’s line of reasoning. One of the reasons I train is to keep my body strong enough to fully participate in the activities I want while on vacation. Surfing, rock climbing and pulling circus tricks on the playground equipment usually take the place of structured conditioning during vacation time. Over the last few years of increasing my fitness level, I’ve lost my taste for laying around type vacations and find I’m usually looking to add some movement in where I can – preferably in the morning and then spending the rest of the day slothing 🙂

  6. Because cycling is my primary mode of transportation and secondly as ftness/fun activity from spring to late fall, I don’t quite view it as “training”. I do view every spring as recovering my system back to its aerobic capacity…. Maybe that’s my problem of not viewing cycling as training.

    So going on vacation if I don’t bike, it does frustrate me but try to make it up for walking or hiking. Some of our vacations have been extensive cycle touring trips with our panniers for several wks….that was serious effort.

    I actually have never viewed even some years of triple amount of annual mileage as “training”. More just getting better but not “training”. Maybe it’s a psychological trick I I stay in love with cycling for life. 🙂

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