Stick a runner in a car, airplane, or tight spot and you feel caged. I’m sitting in an airplane, my knees are wiggling, my toes are jittering and my left butt cheek hurts. Okay, it’s actually my upper left hamstring, right where it inserts near my glutes that is tight and hurts like a DEMON when I’m sitting…but that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily.
Runners tend to make for pretty annoying travel companions; as soon as those airport rapscallions take away our water bottles we’re on the hunt to buy a new one. Constantly sipping away, it’s only a matter of time before we have the hit the bathroom.
A typical trip to the airport for this runnerchick:
- Packing disaster: I HATE packing, I’m a chronic over-packer so by the time I get there I’ve got about three suitcases, each that weight the size of a small person. I awkwardly bumble through the line, run over some toes, get some snotty looks, the whole nine yards. Here’s this tiny runner with a load clearly meant for an elephant.
- Water loaded: I anticipate being cut off from my IV-ed in water supply so the last thing I do before going through security is chug down my last bottle. Usually to the amusal of the security guard; if I were chugging beer instead of water I’d be queen of the chug, keg stand, you name it.
- Bathroom: Invariably I need the bathroom off the bat, I then have to buy a new water bottle, naturally. Where else is it legal to charge $5 for a bottle of water that I can drink in under 30 seconds?
- Cinnabon calling: I can’t be the only person who associates airports with Cinnobon. The smell wafts by and you sort of wish you’d run a 26.2’er just to offset the 3 trillion calories…but they taste so darn good!
- Antsy: Here on out, if I’m sitting I’ve got my legs shaking or bouncing around. I’m just a fidgeter. I’m then shifting from left to right cheek because of that darn hamstring.
I truly am a joy. Actually, there are loads of ways to make your long travels and airplane rides runner-friendly:
- Carry-on: Wear your running shoes or at least have them and the essentials in your carry-on. I’ve been with runners who have had their spikes, singlet and shoes lost from check-in and at that point you’re pretty much scre##d if you’re racing.
- Hydrate: Just being in an airplane dehydrates you. So here is where paying the robbery of $5 per bottle is worth it. Then be sure to drink more fluids (those with electrolytes too!) after your flight.
- Fidget: Bear with me, but sitting in a single spot for long periods of time isn’t all that great for the legs. You don’t have to be a leg bouncer like me, but getting up to stretch the legs or use the bathroom during flight is smart, especially if you’re on a really long flight.
- Compression: Wearing compression garments, especially the socks, is a great little bit of travel advice. Sitting stationary in a car and especially on a plane for hours can inhibit blow flow, so compression garments can counteract that and help off-set that leg funk you get later.
- Foodage: Cinnabon rocks and runners can get away with caloric bombs more than regular folks, but when I travel I do make sure to pack some good fare. Here are some tips for eating at restaurants and also for gluten-free runners packing food can be darn near a travel essential.
- Stretch: Before getting on the flight you can use that annoying pre-boarding time to stretch. Confession, I’ve even done some core exercises ‘hidden’ in the corner.
Maybe the biggest tip for traveling is to just NOT be me. Juuust kidding. On that note, please excuse me if I wind up rolling my 300 lb wheelie suitcase over your toe. I just hope you aren’t a runner planning to use that toe.
1) Best piece of travel advice you’ve got for long trips?
2) What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in an airport for the sake of running or exercise?
Probably doing my pedestal plank routine, I was traveling alone, but I’m pretty sure my family would have disowned me.
3) Travel foods, do you tend to pack some along? Or what foods do you treat yourself to in an airport?