Chasing sunshine and great training weather might sound amazing, but it comes with a cost: Between the travel itself and the disruption from your routines, it can sometimes be more beneficial to stay home. I love traveling and training in new places, and there come points where you could definitely use that boost, whether it’s because you’re going to a skills camp or training camp with people, or you’re just freaking cold being in Ontario all winter (ahem). So travel is an awesome way to get in some solid training and frankly, it’s a blast… But when you’re talking long-term travel, it can be challenging to set up a daily training environment that really suits your goals for more than a week or two. When you’re talking two or three months, you start realizing that there are things you took for granted at home.
Getting away for a block can be fantastic—but it does come at a cost. This past trip, I was thinking about the few things I really missed when we were away from home, and while I wouldn’t trade our experiences, I thought this list might be a good reminder for people considering long-term travel for training. And for me, it’s a good exercise in thinking about what I can bring next time to avoid feeling like I miss certain things!
Our mattress + sheets
We don’t have an amazing mattress or cooling pad or anything like that. We have a fairly inexpensive Endy mattress that we recently got and really liked. (We do have fantastic—and cheap!—bamboo sheets that are great for cooling though.) What I missed wasn’t so much our specific sleeping stuff, I missed the consistency of our at home sleeping environment. I love our little fan that makes just the right amount of white noise, I like having a fully dark room, I like waking up knowing what room I’m in! And from an athlete perspective, we’ve switched apartments four times in the last three months, which does wear on you.
Our Massive Frying Pan
When we got to Girona, we had to immediately go hunting for a frying pan because our first AirBNB only had a single-serve pan option. Our breakfast is always veggies, eggs and potatoes, and we eat A LOT. Without spending much money since we have no space to transport a pan home with us, we got a cheap 12″ pan that works fine… but it’s not our optimal pan. Again, we didn’t even have a super pricey giant pan, just one that I love!
A Yoga Mat
Admittedly, I could have bought a new one since they’re cheap as hell. And I actually did… Or attempted to. I got a ‘workout mat’ for five Euros at Decathlon at the start of this trip, knowing I would want a mat for my daily yoga routine in the morning. The mat might be great for core work, but it turns out, it’s super slippery. I should have just brought my yoga mat from home as a wrap for my bike, or should have gotten a super-light travel one.
Our Good Chef’s Knife
I say it often, but one thing that stood out when I was interviewing people for my book Fuel Your Ride was Georgia Gould telling me that if I had nothing else, I needed a good chef’s knife. I mention that a lot because it makes a huge difference in how easy it is to make a vegetable-heavy meal, and enjoy the cooking process. So far, no place we’ve stayed has one.
More Than 1 Set of Running Shoes
This was a dumb move on my part, but I only brought my trail running sneakers plus a couple pairs of barefoot shoes. I was unlucky and had my cramping problems flare up again, and during that time, I couldn’t use barefoot shoes because my heels needed a lift to give my calves some relief, so I was relegated to wearing my trail shoes at all times. Added to that, we had some unexpected crap weather and I couldn’t go on the trails for a few days, which meant pounding pavement in trail sneakers.
What can I change next time?
Unlike past trips, I’ll say I made a lot of really good calls in terms of what I packed, and most things have gotten used. There’s always a few items of clothing that don’t get worn because the weather wasn’t what I expected, etc., but for the most part, everything I packed has been put to good use. For any long trips we take from now on, there are a few things on this list that can travel with us, no problem:
- Bamboo sheet set (especially since it can be used to armor the bike a bit!)
- Road-running sneakers
- Chef knife (just not in my carryon!)
Before you embark on any trip longer than say, 2 weeks, especially if it’s a training trip, I really want to urge people to think about what the optimal daily environment looks like, from sleeping to cooking to training to cleaning to self-care, and pack accordingly. You probably don’t need that third sundress, but the second pair of running shoes? Essential.