Cheers, my friends, I hope you are well! I’m basking on the sunny side of the Cloud!
I know some of my readers are the athletic types and like to travel to participate. Whether you are a marathon runner, a bike racer, a tennis player, a golfer, enjoy yoga holidays or other strenuous activity, here are some tips on how to make your trip more successful.
First, know the time difference between your home and your destination. Jetlag is a real problem for travelling athletes and you should take this into consideration when you are planning your travel. A time change of just a few hours will reduce your performance. A good rule of thumb is to allow a day of jetlag recovery for each six hours of time-zone change, rounding up, plus add an extra day. For example, if you are traveling abroad and the time-zone change is ten hours, then arrive three days before your event (10/6 = 1.67, round up to 2 and add 1 = 3 days before).
When you arrive at your destination one of the first things you should do is hit the gym. A good workout will relax cramped muscles, improve circulation and release endorphins that aid in jetlag recovery. Working out is especially important if you land in the afternoon or early evening at your destination because physical exercise will also help you sleep better the first night.
If you have clothes or equipment that you require for the event (e.g. athletic shoes, rackets, yoga mats, etc.) then don’t check these items – carry them on the flight instead. I know that won’t work if you require bulky equipment but you should carry on all you are able. Nothing is worse than arriving for an athletic event without your checked baggage and then having to rush out to buy an essential item that may not be easy to replace. If you are travelling for more than three hours, then I highly recommend that you wear compression socks. These socks stimulate blood flow and are important to wear both to and from the athletic event.
If you do have bulky equipment like golf clubs or a bicycle, consider a specialised shipping service to ensure that your equipment arrives successfully and is awaiting you instead of the other way around. A specialised shipping service will keep you from carrying it through airports and these services know how to safely pack and ship your equipment. This convenience may cost a bit more but it will allow you to concentrate on your event instead of the logistics of moving the equipment.
Pack your own energy bars, rehydration tablets and snacks in your carry-on. If you are travelling abroad, don’t assume that the same products you use at home will be available at your destination. It is better to pack your own athletic snacks. In addition, I’d always drink bottled water when abroad. Such precaution is not necessarily because of bad water – just different water compared to your home. A slight change in salinity or minerals can reduce your performance. Bottled water will keep you at maximum fitness and performance levels.
Be careful eating unfamiliar foods prior to your athletic event. Plan carefully if you have special dietary requirements. It is easy to develop an upset tummy from a change in food. Nothing can destroy your athletic performance quicker than a bout of ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’! If you want to try unfamiliar local delicacies, wait until after your event for best results.
Be prepared for the change between Imperial and Metric measurements. I know this point sounds trivial but it is important. Most of the world operates on metric measures but the USA and England persist with Imperial measures. Something as simple as knowing the temperature can greatly affect your performance. If the temperature is 35 and you are packing a heavy tracksuit to wear, you should hope that the temperature isn’t measured in Centigrade (Celsius).
Here’s a simple tip for temperature conversion: If you want to convert from Centigrade to Fahrenheit, just add 15 and then double the result. This won’t be the exact temperature but it is close. For example, 10C is roughly 50F (10+15 = 25 x 2 = 50). The conversion works the same the other way: half the number and subtract 15. So, 90F is about 30C (90/2 = 45 – 15 = 30). There are similar easy conversion rules for distance, weight and volume.
Finally, after your athletic event it is good to stay an extra day or two. This will allow you to recover properly before you jump back on a plane. While you are recovering, you can try out those local delicacies without worrying about your athletic performance. It is more important than ever to wear the compression socks on the way back to ward off blood clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
These simple few rules will help your performance at any strenuous exercise. I wish you well!