Running on holiday: you don’t have to

When I work with a runner, I ask them for any holidays they have coming up and we plan their training around it. Sometimes, for runners who have a hectic regular life because of work or caring duties, or both, holidays can mean more time to train and they’re keen to take advantage of that.

Running on holiday can be a fun addition, and a way to explore your surroundings. And, depending on who you’ve gone away with, it can be a good opportunity to escape for some alone time.

Sometimes running of holiday is tricky to fit in or we just plain don’t want to do it. And that is absolutely fine.

During spring marathon training I had a number of runners who were going on skiiing holidays. The conditions and the physical nature of training, meant it wasn’t always practical or desirable to run. So we planned around it. We did bigger mileage weeks before and they either cut back or didn’t run during their trips.

This summer, as runners train for autumn races, many have holidays planned. So as well as planning ahead to work their bigger mileage weeks around their trips, I ask them a question: what’s more important, the holiday or the race.

I don’t ask this with any judgement or opinion. I’m simply asking how they want to approach it. Because we all need holidays and for some that means switching off from all pressures and that sometimes means training too. So while I still urge them to run, and they almost always do, our aims become more focused on enjoying their time. I set options: an interval session or an easy run if you really don’t fancy it.

Some will not agree with my coaching methods. They’ll think I’m too soft on my runners and that I should always be pushing them to do more. And that’s fine. But that’s not my style. I want happy runners full of enthusiasm and who enjoy running. If a week on the beach reading a book means they come back less stressed and more motivated to train, that’s going to do help them perform better in the longer term.

We could all do with more holidays, so let’s enjoy the ones we have and enjoy our running too. Life’s too short not to.