Or maybe you only train with school, so the holidays mean you have no organised training. Either way, it can be pretty hard to come up with training sessions on your own. Especially if you’re in another country (unless it’s a dedicated training camp!). Before I share my tips for keeping the mojo whilst you’re on vacay (allow it 😜), I just wanted to remind you two things:
a) I’m not a coach, nor do I pretend to be one. These are just some tricks of the trade I’ve gathered over the years which have helped me.
b) Holidays (especially Easter for middle/long distance athletes) can be a natural way to give the body a rest from the intense periods of training during term time. If you feel tired – mentally or physically – then be kind to yourself and take a break. Either a total one or a semi-break where you do a few easy sessions, listen to your body!
my top tips
Lecture over, I won’t keep rambling on and instead I’m going to get right into it. I’m sharing a few general suggestions along with some example sessions which I completed in the holidays whilst in France.
So, I know I’ve written about this training concept before, but it’s worth mentioning again simply because it’s so versatile. If you want more details on exactly what it is and how to do it, read my dedicated post here. In short, it’s a continuous run incorporating speed variation throughout. No need for anything fancy, just choose a loop/ route you’ve searched up, lace up and put your watch on.
- 5 minute warm up jog (easy)
- 35 minutes pace variation
- 5 minutes cool down (easy)
This usually takes me up to 10km, which is the distance I’m training for at the moment. If you’re more geared towards 3km and under, feel free to cut the session in half and include more 90%/ flat-out running.
Whilst you probably won’t have a private track where you’re going, intervals can easily be done off the track too. Where we stay in France has a 250m drive, which I use for my interval sessions. All you need is a stretch of pavement/ country road (where cars rarely come!)/ field, with a suitable distance measured out and marked with something visible (e.g. jumper/ water bottle etc). If you’re doing it in a field or park, a loop might be possible if you’re doing longer reps. Then just make up a session (or follow one of mine below) and get stuck in!
- Warm-up jog (mine is usually 3km) and dynamic stretches/ drills, plus some 50m strides
- 500m hard, 15s rest, 250m hard, 50m walk, 200m flat out
- REST (e.g. 500m walk/ slow jog, 3 minutes chill – whatever works for you)
- Repeat 3 or 4 more times (for a total of 4 or 5 sets)
- Cool-down jog (I usually do 1km) followed by stretching and refuelling
If you’re in a particularly flat area, then this won’t be for you. The hills don’t need to be particularly steep or long, but find one in a safe location and get cracking. These are great for shorter, more intense workouts which really test and extend your lactate threshold. The goal here is not distance, but intensity, and trying to keep each set as hard as the last one. My example session is based off a 250m hill which is is steeper in the first 150m, then tapers off slightly.
- Warm-up jog and drills (see previous)
- Sprint 250m up (longer but less steep) and sprint straight back down, followed by a 150m uphill sprint (shorter but steeper) and sprint straight back down. There’s no rest within each set to build up your lactate threshold, so keep each rep short and sharp.
- REST (see above for tips) – until breath is caught back but you’re not recovered
- Repeat for a total of 10-12 times
- Cool-down jog (see above) plus stretching and refuelling
A few parting ideas…
Obviously, you won’t be able to train exactly as you do at home/ during term time. My last nuggets of advice would be to:
- Make use of your surroundings: if it’s particularly muddy, incorporate some mud training (think parliament hill next year!); if you’re by a beach then go for some beach runs/ complete some dune reps etc
- Make the most of bikes/ the sea/ a pool for cross-training: don’t go running crazy because you don’t have your turbo-trainer/ wattbike or other fancy contraption! If you do, you might get injured which is not ideal.
- Try new activities: canoeing, hiking and (aqua) aerobics are all fab ways of working up a sweat and they might be on offer where you’re going. Do some research and give them a go.
- Bring thera bands: also known as resistance bands, these can seriously up the burn-factor of any at-home workout you complete while abroad. I have a few mostly equipment-free workouts on my Instagram which are made 1000 times more beneficial by adding resistance! They take up literally no room or weight either and can be pretty cheap.
- DON’T STRESS!!! If you miss some runs/ workouts or don’t train as much, don’t let it ruin your holiday. I took a good 4-5 days off of training due to travelling days/ exhuastion/ family activities. Remember that holidays are meant to be enjoyed and if you’re lucky enough to be in some exotic location, make the most of it. You’ll remember the memories you made not the workout you did!
I guess as usual this has ended up being pretty long, but I hope you’ve found it useful. The holidays are basically over for me, so maybe the timing for this post isn’t amazing, but you can come back to it for the summer 😉