Last night I went running at 8:00 p.m. I had ten kilometres on my training schedule but I knew that I was taking a risk at that time of night. On the coastal road  I would join the droves of seasonal runners (summer version) who fought for a piece of road to run on. They’d be alongside the vacationers who just finished a day of sunbathing on the beach  and were trying to cross the road with towering carts packed with umbrellas, ice chests and beach towels. Everyone was was trying to  slalom between the speeding cars that would not slow down.  I didn’t calculate the sunset time correctly and the last mile was run in pitch black dark. Not exactly the training I had in mind.
So I decided to try again earlier the next day, at 6:30 a.m. It went a little better because there was less traffic and all the beach goers were still snoozing away in bed.  There were definitely more runners and this made me happy. Nothing like company in the early morning hours!  But I know that it was still too “late” and I needed to get up even earlier to avoid the heat that hits at 8:00 a.m.
This week a lot of the athletes that I personally train are going on vacation and giving me instructions on what they can and can’t do while away.  It could be an interesting social or psychological study to compare the various reactions each person has to facing new or changing environments. In identical situations everyone reacts differently. Whether the destination is an island or a mountain top, there are those who see their vacation in positive light (“I’ll be vacation in the mountains, give me some hill training!”)  and those who see only obstacles (“I’ll be vacation in the mountains, don’t make my workouts too hard!” ). Some are afraid to disturb the family (“I can’t run on vacation!”) And others try, like me, to run at dawn or sunset while everybody else is in bed.
Running should not become another stress to our lives and if it does it needs to be reprogrammed! But if October 22 you’ll be with us at Venicemarathon, a two-week break could be fatal to your marathon preparation. Here’s some tips on how to handle your vacation, running included.
- Unless you are racing at the IAAF World Athletics World Championships in London in the coming weeks you don’t need to follow your training plan exactly as it’s written while on vacation. A “more or less” attitude is fine for a few weeks. Add up the minutes or miles you need to run that day and then just go out  and do your best. The important thing to be consistent in the number of workouts (three to four per week, generally).
-    Replace a run with another aerobic sport. Yes to swimming in the ocean and sea or hiking (at a fast pace!) In the mountains. If you’re a city tourist and plan to spend the day at museums get a an hour earlier and go for a run before breakfast.
- You could skip an entire week of workouts without doing any damage, especially if that time is occupied by hours of rest. If one week becomes two remember to run a minimum of three days per week, knowing that when you get back home you’ll go back to your training schedule, supposedly well rested!
PS: only eleven more weeks until Venicemarathon. You’re all signed up, right?
You can contact Julia Jones at or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.