The Best Type of Vacation: The Runcation

Hudson Elite’s six Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers have packed their bags and headed to Henderson, Nevada to omit some of the challenges that can sometimes come with winter training in the Rockies. While getting away from the snow and ice has proven beneficial, there are always some unknowns that arise when training in an unfamiliar place.  The team offers up some advice should you need to get in some training next time you find yourself on runcation in a new territory!

Finding Places to Run:

Do the research! When training somewhere new, Google Earth,  Map My Run, and Strava are your best friends. These tools have allowed our athletes to find the majority of their training routes in Nevada. Google Earth can give you a good idea of where to find different terrain to train on, and Map My Run gives you fantastic elevation information if you’re looking for a flat or challenging run. You can find many trails by just searching “places to run in ……….,” but if you’re looking for a great road to get a workout in then these apps can be helpful. Make sure to be prepared for the chance that the route may not be what you hoped for! Sometimes it takes a few tries before finding the perfect place to train.

sloan canyon, one of our favorite trails

sloan canyon, one of our favorite trails

one of the great bike paths through the city

one of the great bike paths through the city

Frontage road where we've done many of our marathon specific work

Frontage road where we've done many of our marathon specific work

Ask the local runners! This requires some Facebook stalking, but luckily the running community is a supportive one, and most people would love to offer up some of their favorite local trails. We were able to connect with a local Olympic Trials qualifier to get an idea of some of her go-to training locations. The local running store can be a wealth of knowledge for all things running. We stopped by Red Rock Running Company in Henderson and not only received some advice on where to train, but also got some assistance with some gear after the manager recognized our team from the many Facebook photos posted by Brad Hudson.

historic railroad trail to hoover dam

historic railroad trail to hoover dam

Be adaptable! When you are training somewhere unfamiliar, you have to be ready for the chance the run may not end up being what you hoped. We did some Google Earth scouring and found a promising trail that weaved in and out of old railway tunnels along Lake Mead. Going into the run we thought it was 7 miles in one direction, the perfect place for a midweek medium long run. However, 3 miles into the run the pristine and gorgeous trail took a dead end turn into a parking lot. After a closer look, we realized that the Hoover Dam lay just ahead and instead of stressing about the change in plans we turned it into an adventure run and enjoyed some sightseeing. How many people can say they ran across the Hoover Dam, from Nevada to Arizona and into another time zone all in one run? While it may not have been the run we planned, it will likely be one of the most memorable runs of the trip.

Dining and Accommodations

brad preparing for spaghetti surprise

brad preparing for spaghetti surprise

Look beyond hotels! The best housing option for you depends on the number in your group and your personal needs. However, whenever our team travels for training camps or races we tend to lean towards vacation rentals instead of hotels. With a larger group, it is usually a cheaper option and a lot more fun! You get more space to hang out and spend time together, and a kitchen to cook a prepare your own meals. For anyone with any kind of dietary restriction, the flexibility to cook at home can be huge. During our training camp we have been taking turns cooking dinner each night. Tonight, Brad is cooking his first meal in 5 years, a dish he calls “Spaghetti Surprise.” We aren’t sure what the surprise is yet, but stay tuned to find out.

our meal at Gangham asian bbq

our meal at Gangham asian bbq

Eat local! While it is money saving and easy to cook your meals at your vacation rental, it is also fun to get out and explore some of the local restaurants. Yelp is our most used tool when deciding where to get coffee, brunch or dinner. A tip that we have found helpful is to rank the results by number of reviews. In most cases, the number of reviews indicates somewhere worth eating. After a hard 40k progression yesterday, the team decided to treat themselves to a meal at an Asian BBQ joint with 2,000 reviews, one of the most reviewed restaurants in the area. After sitting down and ordering we noticed a sign that said “Free dessert for every Yelp review” and quickly realized how they were able to achieve such an impressive feat! Well played, Gangham Asian BBQ. Well played. We still thoroughly enjoyed our meal, restocked our calories, and all of us enjoyed a free dessert.

Strength Training and Recovery

Be creative! Just because you are away from your home gym doesn’t mean you have to neglect your strength training. A lot of local gyms have an affordable drop-in rate. There are also some good tools that you can bring along that don’t take up much space. Our athletes brought an inflatable swiss ball, ab roller, resistance bands and a TRX.

Recover on the go! Recovery tools are also fairly easy to bring along and can help work out some the kinks from traveling. Some of our favorites are the R8 and the R3 from Roll Recovery. These tools are easy to pack and are incredibly effective. It is also easy to pack a lacrosse ball or tennis ball to roll out your glutes, hamstrings and feet.

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Soak the soreness away! For general soreness and tightness, stop by a grocery store or pharmacy and buy some Epsom salt. Add a few cups to a warm bath can do wonders for tired and heavy legs.

Bonus Tips

chilly but beautiful evening

chilly but beautiful evening

Check (and, recheck!) the weather.  When packing for Nevada in cold and snowy Colorado, it may as well have been on the Equator in our minds.  Little did we realize that it actually gets a little bit chilly this time of year and some of us failed to bring enough of the proper gear. It is also unseasonably cold this winter, so make sure to repeatedly check the weather before packing for your trip.

Prepare for good sleep hygiene. The only thing more important than training is recovering. When sleeping in a new place, the quality can sometimes suffer. You may be somewhere with unfamiliar nighttime noises or lights. Bring some ear plugs or an eye mask to help with these issues. Some of our athletes find it helpful to sleep with a white noise machine to drown out any background noise that they may not be used to. During this trip, Brad went so far as to cover his bedroom windows with blankets to keep out the lights and noises coming from the neighbors' house.

Traveling and training in a new place can be challenging, but the right preparation and attitude will omit many of the issues you would likely face. Most of all, enjoy the new experiences. Running in new places not only refreshes your mind, but it also forces you to be adaptable enough to handle any issue that comes your way. This is great practice not only in racing, but in life.  We hope these tips from us help you the next time you are planning a runcation!

To find out more about where our athletes are running and what their Olympic Marathon Trials prep looks like, follow Matt Daniels on Sweat Mobile (profile here) and Kara Lubieniecki on Strava (profile here).

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