Ultra Training while on Business Trips

Did I mentioned I signed up for a 6 hour race? Yeah. So October has been dedicated to training for that. I had a pretty solid base built up from over the summer since I did a majority of my running on trails. My week-day milage was good so I’ve been focused on maintaining that and building my long-runs.

However, I knew I would have a bit of a challenge with maintaining that weekly milage through October as I would be away on 2 trips for work, and not just any trips, conferences. Anyone who has ever been to a conference will tell you these are not ideal conditions to be training in. From the early morning to late nights and the food being served to the steady stream of free alcohol, your body is not getting treated well. I was at these conferences for work, not as an attendee. An attendee trying to maintain their training and good diet has a lot more flexibility, they have the ability to skip the evening activities and have plenty of more options to get in their training. As a sponsor working the event, you have obligations to attend all the networking opportunities. This means you’re up early to join breakfast, lunch is always a rushed affair as expo-times are during lunch so you’re shoving food down in a hurry to get back to your booth so one of your co-workers can hurry off and get their food. The same thing occurs again at dinner for evening expo receptions. Which also run late, but your day is not done there as after parties take place. You’re not necessarily obligated to go to these but well they’re generally a lot of fun and a good opportunity to relax a bit with some new friends and well, free booze!

These translate to late nights which lead right back in to your early morning to head over to breakfast. In a nutshell, working a conference means you are on the clock 24 hours a day.

How did I get my training in? Well, 2 conferences and 2 very different experiences.

The first was in Tampa Florida, I was able to get a 6k run in our first evening there since we did not go to any after parties. And then that was it from there. The next day there was zero free time on our schedule for me to split off and get a run in, and the incredibly late night meant I was exhausted for the rest of the conference. I did have an opportunity on Thursday but with long hours, little sleep, and hot florida temperatures, I had zero motivation to head out on a run at 4pm.

After party in an aquarium though!

To add insult to injury, after returning home from Tampa around midnight Friday night I had to be up very early to work a MEC even Saturday morning. So Saturday’s run was missed as well as I was far too exhausted to get out. Sunday I did get out but my body was still feeling worn down so I only managed 20 of my planned 32k, better than nothing!

I had a week at home to get back on track and then I was off again to Seattle for another conference. Arriving in Seattle Tuesday afternoon I opted for a nap instead of a run, I’d been up since 4:30 am to catch my flight and had an evening of networking to get through. With the early morning and the Eastern time to Western time I was spent and went to bed early. BUT that meant I was up early Wednesday and was able to head out for a 5.5k run through the city before breakfast.

This conference had a lot more flexibility for me as our hotel was beside the conference centre and we had a break in the afternoon between expo hours and being in much cooler and nicer Seattle meant I was more than happy to head out for a run at 4pm so I was able to get in 2 runs that day.

Thursday I was up early again but not as early, and I knew I’d have time in the late afternoon so I didn’t bother dragging myself out for another morning run. But as I said I had time again at 4pm to get in a run.

Fridays are typically my rest days but I did consider going out for a morning run if I was up. I did wake up in time but morning Jessica isn’t a very agreeable person and so I stayed in bed a little longer and didn’t get a run in.

Conferences = so much super healthy food. Grilled donut with ice cream and sugar

It’s definitely a challenge to get in proper training while at a conference, you need to be incredibly flexible and know that you’re not going to be able to hit you usual milage without sacrificing something major. For me at the first conference, I opted to just enjoy my time at the event and not stress about squeezing something in. If my hotel had been closer, the weather cooler, or if I’d felt like running on a treadmill, I probably could have squeeze in another run but I felt getting in a 5k wasn’t going to do much for me at that point and to just try to rest when I could. You’re on your feet all day for these things already. For the second conference things just worked out a lot better for me and I was able to get some more runs in. Essentially the opposite of what held me back in Tampa worked out here with a close hotel, nice temperatures and a time change that worked well for training, less well for conference things.

Canada > Tampa, fall running with the MEC crew!

In any case, I did what I could and don’t have any guilt over the lower milage these weeks made. I’ve had a couple solid long runs and will be doing my last tomorrow before the 6 hour event in 2 weeks. I’m feeling good ready to see what I can pull off in 6 hours!


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