Holidays: to drill or to chill?

A lot of people have asked me how I’ve managed to keep up with my training regime during my travels. The truth is, I haven’t really. In fact, whilst I have been for the odd run, I’ve been focusing on giving my body a well-earned break. This is something I often forget to do or struggle with, but I think it should be an essential part of a runner’s annual programme. Read on to hear my thoughts on why!

haven’t shared a sunset shot in a while!

a chance to unwind…

Although holidays are often thought of as an escape from the toil of school, university or work, I think they provide an opportunity to take a break from all aspects of our lives. Now I’m not necessarily saying you want a break from your job or school, but you might need it to freshen up. Granted, interrailing wasn’t necessarily the most relaxing of holidays, but it did let me shake up my daily routine. And with sport, this is essential (at least in my eyes).

lots of days went by where we just sunbathed and chatted on the beach

and break out of a rut

To be honest, I was starting to get a bit bored of my weekly fitness regime due to its repetitive nature. Instead of looking forward to every session, I began dreading them. No longer did I get the same adrenaline rush or enjoyment out of them. And Three Peaks, Interrailing and my week in Menorca all gave me the opportunity to escape this monotony. I went on a total of 7 runs whilst interrailing, all in completely different environments. No reps or drills, no workouts and no swims. Just me and the constantly changing surroundings. It was honestly so refreshing to be able to explore a new location on every run, and not feel as though I had to fulfil certain distance or time requirements.

running at different times of day and in various locations was a great way of mixing things up!

the anxiety of spontaneity

It’s all very well me saying this, but I can’t deny that sometimes I do get anxious on holiday. One of the reasons why, as humans, we like to settle into routines, is because they’re predictable. There’s no denying that we’re creatures of comfort, and so it can be hard – scary, even – to completely abandon the regularity of a routine, whatever it may be. With an ED history, my anxiety surrounding holidays, food and fitness is somewhat heightened and this is where my obsession with running can really kick in. On holidays, we often don’t have the same foods or equipment at our disposal. This means it’s almost impossible to replicate our typical meals or workouts.

loved all the different fruit out there!

Spontaneity used to be something I feared. Sometimes, it still is. But what I’ve come to really appreciate when on holiday is the numerous excuses it provides to try new things. During my three peaks trip, I discovered a love for hiking. Whilst interrailing, I savoured the Italian piadina and am now keen to try and recreate it. And in Menorca, I learnt how to floss (the dance move).

different food but yummy food!

create memories

group ice cream trip!

Following on from my anxiety surrounding spontaneity, one of the key ideas I try to bear in mind whilst on holiday is the chance they provide to create memories. In 10 years time, I probably won’t remember a workout I did. It will just remind me of home, and won’t stick with me. Instead, I’ll reminisce the incredible architecture, adventures and food. I won’t remember the time when I didn’t have ice cream to be “healthy”, I’ll recall the times when I allowed myself to enjoy one. Holidays don’t happen all year round because they are luxuries, so I do believe we should appreciate them to the full rather than punish ourselves and miss out on making memories.

lot’s of ice creams were consumed #noragrets

and another one!

the balancing act

Having said all this, you might genuinely want to be active and get some movement in. As long as it’s fuelled by desire rather than a sense of obligation, then doing a bit of sport can also be a great way of being adventurous and exploring new territory. Whilst interrailing, I didn’t swim or workout, but I went on an exploratory run in almost every city. I saw them from different perspectives and encountered reclusive locations which I wouldn’t have come across otherwise. As long as you’re sensible (I always had my phone in case I got lost or needed to contact my friends) and it doesn’t detract from your holiday, then it can be fun to get some movement in.

I did one workout in my month of travelling. With my brother (a chance to bond?!)

If you’re on holiday though, you might also want to try a new form of exercise. Use the local environment to your advantage! We walked literally everywhere while interrailing, and averaged about 15km a day. This way, we not only saved money but also saw the city from the inside out. In Menorca, we went kayaking on my birthday and explored an island. You shouldn’t feel obliged to do sport, but to prevent the “exercise withdrawal symptoms”, being active in different ways than you’re used to can help to strike the important balance between chilling and exploring.


I hope you’ve found this post informative, and if you have any questions for me then don’t hesitate to DM me on Instagram!

Emma ♥♥