How I balance Training and Travel (and studying!)

balancing marathon training and travel

I’ve had quite a few questions while I’ve been away in New Zealand & Australia, and before that Costa Rica (I know, I feel ridiculously lucky to have been able to take advantage of my long Christmas holidays at Uni) about how I manage to balance marathon training while I travel, plus studying and working.

In terms of studying and working, it is tough. If you saw my Instagram stories the day before I flew to Costa Rica, you’ll know that I was up pretty late finishing an essay to hand in before I left incase the wifi was dodgy while I was away. Whilst in NZ I’ve written another essay, using the long plane journeys to read a number of journals and NHS nutrition guidelines that I’d printed off, making notes and an essay plan. Then it actually only took 1.5 days to write the whole thing up, proof read and submit. Yes I missed out on a couple of activities here but I think that’s a small price to pay.

I’m currently also studying for exams when I get back to London. Thankfully they are spread out over a 5 week period, so I’m only having to concentrate on one subject while I’m here; Clinical Dietetics. Although it is crucial that I pass the exam to go on my placement in February, the exam is on processes we’ve been covering for the past 3 years, and I’m hoping that the knowledge is somewhere in my head. I’ve got 5 days to cram for it!

how to balance training and travel

Luckily, wifi usually means I can work from anywhere. I actually hosted a Twitter takeover with Aftershokz UK from the pool side in Costa Rica. It is amazing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything, although it can sometimes feel like I never get a true day off ( a small price to pay!).

So onto my marathon training, and possibly the real reason you’re reading this blog post…

As most of you know I’m training for the Tokyo Marathon in February, but I also recently amounted that I’m going for a big PB/PR in April at the London Marathon, and so my training is at the forefront of my priorities right now.

Plan it in – if you know what type of run you’re going to have when planning the your trip itinerary or work the runs around your schedule. Being prepared with running routes, hotels with gyms and options for your runs is the best way to stick to your training plan.

Utilise your surroundings – Did you see my Instagram post with this hill in? I ran up it the morning of the wedding in Hawkes Bay It was 1 mile up, 1 mile down and was definitely a killer workout! (sidetone, officially add Air New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay marathon/half marathon to my bucket list, this area is gorgeous, and the wine/food is delicious!) I love exploring new areas on foot, running is such a great way to see a place. I completed my 13 mile long run as a sightseeing tour of Sydney on NYE, and ran the coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee another morning after plenty of recommendations.

how to balance training and travel

Rope friends and family into joining you – Not many of my friends are runners, but I did get my cousin Sasha into the hotel gym in CR to complete some ab and bike workouts, and joined friends for a casual 5 miler along the path next to Lake Taupo.

Hit the treadmill – Whilst in Costa Rica I hit the treadmill a number of times due to the humidity and terrain, which hasn’t been such an issue on this trip, however I  still utilised the hotel treadmill for yesterday’s speed workout.

how to balance training and travel

Get up earlier – I am naturally an early riser, so don’t mind setting an alarm for 7am, or earlier to sneak a run in before the day starts. That way I feel like I’m not missing out on any of the fun…I just had to remember to put my running kit outside of the room so as not to annoy my roommates!

Be the designated driver – I’ve offered to drive our group around a fair amount while we’ve been away so that I don’t drink and therefore wake up too hungover to run. I’ve definitely still drunk more than I normally do, and had some incredibly fun drunken nights while I’ve been here (hence my pledge to give up alcohol until the London Marathon when I get back!) but I’ve felt mostly OK when I’ve woken up each morning.

Prioritise workouts – I have 2 easy runs per week on my plan, which I know could be swapped for a hike, bike ride or swim if I want/need. I prioritise my long runs and speed workouts while I’m away, and then squeeze the other workouts in around them. Going forward, I want to include more strength into my routine and will try to ensure I get at least 1 quality strength session in, even when I’m travelling.

Make new running buddies – If I’d been here alone I would have made more of an effort to connect with runners from Instagram that live in the areas I was visiting, as I have done in the past. I did however, make a pact with friends made at the wedding that we’d go for a flat US marathon in 2019 and all try to PB…We’re thinking of Texas if anyone has any suggestions?

This is us making a running legs pact, apparently!

how to balance training and travel

How do you fit your training in with your travel? What’s the weirdest/best place you’ve run or worked out? 


  1. January 12, 2018 / 10:14 am

    It’s amazing that we can do anything from anywhere! I like how you make time for your school and training priorities even while vacationing. Business with pleasure right? ;0

  2. January 12, 2018 / 2:03 pm

    Ah, you bring back not-so-fond memories of studying for the bar exam by the pool with my kids. You really show that where there’s a will there’s a way.

  3. Helen
    January 12, 2018 / 10:30 pm

    Great tips! I just moved to Texas – I live in The Woodlands which is just north of Houston and has a marathon in March – second fastest in Texas apparently 🙂

    • January 18, 2018 / 3:05 pm

      I completely forgot about the Woodlands Marathon. And I’m doing the half in March.

  4. Kristi
    January 15, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Actually…yes. Houston Chevron Marathon is a flat race and lots of PRs happen here. It’s in January (was just yesterday). It’s even been an Olympic qualifier. Very popular race. Not one of the big ones, but it’s working it’s way to it. I live very close to the start. Would totally host you if needed.

    The other one, which is flat, but harder to get to is the Marathon to Marathon in Marathon, TX. It’s an open road with Big Bend National Park as your back drop. My friends love it, but it’s not easy to get to since it’s on the other side of Texas. It’s in October.

    • charlotte
      January 24, 2018 / 6:37 am

      I may have to take you up on this Kristi! Will put the idea of Houston to the boys!

  5. Laura
    January 16, 2018 / 7:35 am

    You may want to consider the Portland Marathon. It is really flat (and possibly slightly downhill) and in October, so the weather is almost always perfect. Also, the route is right through the downtown along the Willamette River, so it is very charming. And Portland is a huge eating and drinking town, so there are plenty of options to enjoy yourself before and after!

    To be clear, I mean Portland, Oregon. Portland Maine probably also has a great marathon, but I have no idea if it is flat.

    • charlotte
      January 16, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      aha I would LOVE to go to Portland, Oregon – will definitely take a look at it!!

  6. January 16, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    I’ve heard great things about Houston. I don’t know if it’s particularly scenic but lots of PRs and elites abound! The Marathon to Marathon that Kristi mentioned is also on my bucket list – you would probably fly into Midland Airport, which is a 2.5 hour drive away (or come to Austin first because it’s more fun – but then it’s a 6 hour drive from here!)

    • January 18, 2018 / 3:08 pm

      Yes, the elites go to Chevron Houston. In fact, I tagged Charlie on IG about Jordan Hassey doing the half Marathon there. It’s getting closer to being considered one of the bigs.

      Yes, you be faster to fly into Midland, but Austin or San Antonio would be fine to fly in to, but long long drive. Although, the SA drive on is great and it’s 85mph.

      • charlotte
        January 24, 2018 / 6:35 am

        This is on my list next year perhaps!! One day for sure!

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