In this week’s edition of The Giraffe Paper, I share some things to consider when traveling while maintaining focus on nutrition, performance and the mind. I traveled this weekend to Birmingham, AL to watch Morgan at the Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships and had to keep focus on these elements as I approach my last run race of the season one week away and triathlon season beginning in just three weeks.
Knowing I was going to be putting in a few strenuous workouts and time being limited my thought was to bring what I could to be able to eat and drink while in the car and or in the hotel room. I pre-packed ingredients for protein smoothies in sandwich bags I often have post workout. This saved space by not bringing every bag and jar of ingredients. This also saved time by simply dumping the bag directly in Vitamix. Yes, I brought my Vitamix which fit snug against my cycling trainer in a big tub I rolled up to my room.
Prior to the trip, I also checked to see what type of food options I would have in Birmingham from grocery to restaurants close to the track and hotel. I found luck with a Whole Foods being located central to where I would be traveling while in the city.
Knowing I was going to be spending significant time at the track event, I loaded the car with a cooler and bag of dry foods. On day one I ensured I walked into the venue completely full and packed some dry foods (banana, almonds, and Lara Bar) in my back pack. I also identified I could leave the venue and return to the car as often as I desired so this made things even easier and allowed me to fuel my body appropriately as the venue options were not good with typical stadium foods options only available.
I was at the tail end of a heavy training week so I could not afford to miss critical workouts. Looking at temperatures prior to heading to Birmingham, I determined it was too cold to venture out on the bike. I decided to bring my indoor cycling trainer and racing bike, set it up in the middle of the hotel room and launched two indoor workouts from my laptop…not missing a beat.
A fun part about traveling is finding new places to run and this came true here. I found a trail, the Shades Creek Greenway, where I completed long runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Nothing too difficult here but I do recommend bringing an extra pair of running shoes as I picked up a good amount of red clay running through a couple spots that were wet along the trail.
When flying or traveling via car, I try to load my phone with podcasts, audio books via the Audible app, and music. With over a nine hour drive each way and a couple long runs I loaded up with diverse options depending on what I was in the mood for. I typically don’t run with any sound but have recently incorporated on a few runs.
On the ride up I listened to a couple of books on business, a book summary on Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss, and began a book from T. Colin Campbell titled, The Low-Carb Fraud. I also listened to one episode of the Rich Roll Podcast that was ok and some music to keep me awake when I found myself needing a pickup.
Having options based on mood I find is critical and this came into play on Saturday morning. After a stressful work week, I woke up Saturday morning in a sweat thinking of work situations and the mind was racing. I quickly acknowledged the mental strain, grabbed my run gear and fuel and headed out the hotel door for a 20 minute car ride to the trail for a 15 mile run. When I arrived at the trail, I was still struggling with some of my mental focus on work, had a dull headache, and my body was tired and stiff from the long Friday car ride.
I decided I needed a mental re-boot and launched a podcast with Rich Roll and Dan Harris, ABC Newsman and author, focused on mindfulness and meditation. I began the run and under a quarter mile in I was thinking to myself that I was really not feeling well with all the things I described earlier and was seriously doubting how successful this run and my mental state would be and then things quickly changed.
My body began to settle in and really relaxed after doing some active run stretching at about the mile mark. I immersed myself in the podcast and the topic addressed just the challenges I was experiencing with everyday stresses and the practice of being present. After the podcast completed I switched over to music to finish out an exhilarating 15 mile run when just two hours prior I was wondering how I was going to labor through the experience.
“Action Sets Mood” is a phrase Rich Roll has used that I have embraced and it played out completely on this day. I was in no mood to start the run both physically and emotionally and by taking the action to just start it and be thoughtful about the experience during, my mood completely shifted and set the tone for the remainder of the day.
I highly recommend a few resources that helped me on this run and leading up to it:
- Dan Harris Podcast – 10% Happier
- Dan Harris Podcast interview with Rich Roll
- Rich Roll Podcast interview with Dan Harris
- Dan Harris Book – 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
- These two gentlemen had such an impact I ordered Dan’s recently released 2nd book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book. I downloaded on Audible and read (listened) Chapter 1 on the ride back to Florida.
– Add Health to Your Life