Whether you’re going to try to fit in a run during a work trip or you’re traveling across the country for a race, nobody likes to be ridden with jet lag. Lucky for you there are a few travel tips that can help out your body and make getting off the plane a little less painful.
Have you ever taken that partially consumed bottle of water out of your carry-on post flight and noticed how it looks all scrunched up, but then hisses as you open it and it re-fills with air? Well imagine your muscles doing the same thing. Going from sea level to 30,000 feet altitude and back to sea level ‘aint easy! All this altitude change coupled with the recycled air on the plane will zap your hydration levels, so drink up! You’ll want to plan ahead by drinking an extra half to full liter of water per day for the few days prior to traveling, and then consume as much as you can on the plane – try to aim for 1 liter every 2 hours. And pick the aisle seat, because if you’re staying hydrated then you’ll be heading to the restroom! Tip: Pick up a 1.5 liter bottle of water the day before, and drink it before getting on the plane. Then, pack the empty bottle in your carry-on bag, and once you’ve gone through security, fill it up at the water fountain to consume in-flight.
Get Extra Z’s
Plan ahead for your trip by trying to sneak in an extra half hour to hour of sleep per night in the week leading up. Ensuring you are fully rested will help you out if you have to get up at 4 a.m. for an early flight or will be missing out on normal sleep patterns for work events.
All the pressure changes that come with flying can be hard on the muscles, especially when coupled with having to be folded up like a paperclip for hours upon end. Your body will likely not be eager to run. Compression gear is a great antidote to this. By enhancing circulation and helping to expedite the removal of metabolic waste, compression gear can help offset the tightness and staleness that flying can leave you with. At the very least, pick up a pair of compression socks – they’re easy to wear underneath pants, and they go a long way for helping the calves out. If you want more, you can find full-length compression tights or knickers to take the edge off the upper legs as well.
Don’t Leave Nutrition to Circumstance
No one is meant to thrive on airport food, packaged snacks, and on-the-go meals. If you know that certain foods work for you, then pack them! Cook a bunch of burgers (or veggie burgers) and grilled veggies, put them in an airtight container, and pack them in your carry-on (be sure to transfer them to your hotel room mini-fridge upon arrival). Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit, rice cakes, nut butter to-go packs, squeezable applesauce, and trail mix. If you’re going to be running or racing during your trip you’ll want to have a quality snack post-workout or race to ensure adequate recovery. If you’re traveling for business, there’s a good chance you’ll be rushing from your run to a meeting, so it’s always good to have plenty of snacks on hand, as well as some back up meals, in case the only option you have is a convenience store.
Bring a Ball
Even with all the hydration and compression in the world, your body is still going to be grumpy after a flight. And if that flight was followed up with a long workday of sitting in meetings, you’ll need something to take the edge off. Pack a tennis or lacrosse ball – it’s easy to fit in a carry-on, and you can use it to massage out tight muscles. Place it under the middle of your calf to work out tight calves, sit on it to work out tight glute muscles, or stand up with it between you and a wall to knead out tight shoulder muscles. If you’re planning to race on your trip, spend 30 minutes post-flight kneading your muscles before heading out for your shakeout run.
These travel tips will make getting your run in while traveling a little more do-able, but be gentle with your body. Take the first day easy and let your legs get used to the new time zone, work load or travel schedule. Give yourself time to adjust before hitting the pavement hard – your legs will thank you later!