The Good and Bad of Holiday Running

A week away from work can make it easy to slack on your training.


Last week stood out as probably the toughest of my marathon training weeks – not because the schedule demanded more of me than usual, but because I completed the least number of kilometres, did no speedwork, and took three – yes, three! – rest days.


That’s what happens when you’re on a beach holiday. I stayed with my extended family in an eight-bedroom house to celebrate my cousin’s marriage. It was lots of fun and since I hadn’t had a proper break from work since I got married earlier in the year, it felt much needed.


But running on holiday is never easy, especially when a race is on the horizon. Here’s a look at the general positives and negatives – from my perspective – when it comes to cranking out training KMs during what should feel like a break.



The Good: While your family may not totally understand why you’d want to wake up at 6AM during a week off, they’re always impressed when you back to the house or hotel with a sweaty glow. Family will always give you a pat on the back for a job well done, whether it’s an easy 5km or tough 25km. Even if the run was far from stellar, they’ll make you feel like a star.


The Bad: The impending pressure that you’re missing out, whether it’s putting off a round of golf with the guys (even when you’re terrible, it’s still nice to get out) or going mini-golfing or playing on the beach with the youngsters. Runs just feel like they need to end ASAP so you can get on with your holiday.



The Good: When you’re staying with a big group, you’re almost always guaranteed to have a well-stocked kitchen. Every morning I could come back to the house with a full coffee pot and plenty of runner breakfast staples like bagels, fresh fruit, eggs, cereal and bacon.


The Bad: That same fully stocked kitchen can be a slippery slope, though. It allows for a ton of grazing throughout the day and stuffing one’s face in the evening. Thankfully, I held back at the rehearsal dinner and avoided alcohol, a full second serving of crab legs, mac and cheese and key lime pie the night before a scheduled long run the morning of the wedding.



The Good: You get to explore somewhere new! I actually enjoy getting on Google or MapMyRun the night before a new run and figuring out where I want to go, taking note of the key streets that I need to turn onto. And when you’re in a beach town, it also means seeing a bunch of cool looking homes to gawk at.


The Bad: Most people would love the flat roads and little elevation that comes with a beach town run, but the constant monotony on my legs actually left my quads to take a pounding. It did, however, make me appreciate the rolling hills of my hometown. It will be a long time before I curse the long, mountainous terrain of many of my runs at home.


The Result

While I’m no coach, I think it’s fine to feel like you can get away with a week where mileage doesn’t match your overall training and the paces may slip a bit. Plus, as Coach Budd Coates often says, it takes about two weeks of not running before you start to lose your built-up fitness.


In the final weeks before a goal marathon, I just wanted to keep a solid base so I could continue on with training when I got home. But I knew that I’d put in good training work so far – and knowing that made it ok to miss an easy day or grab an extra pale ale later in the evening.




Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here