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Rowing Motivation: How to Stay on Track While Traveling

Rowing Motivation: How to Stay on Track

Masters rowers all have one thing in common, we lead busy lives. Some of us are homemakers, others are retired, but many of us are working full-time jobs.

For many people, business travel is a way of life. So when you must travel, how do you stay in shape or keep up with training when you are on the road?

I’ve got an interesting story to tell about one of my business travels, and how I ended up using my erg in the airport. Yep, I sure did. I’ll tell you about that later.

While there are lots of ideas about keeping up with your training even when traveling, the truth is that they aren’t all practical. Today, let’s talk about that in this article.

Finding Time and Motivation to Train – Biggest Stumbling Blocks

In my opinion, the two biggest problems people face when traveling are finding both time and motivation to exercise.

In all honesty, sometimes business travel can feel like a vacation, which makes it very easy to fall into the “I’m relaxing” mindset. And sometimes, it is very stressful and rushed, and you may find yourself thinking you don’t have time to exercise.

rowing training tips while travelling

You might also find yourself traveling to different countries every other day or so, leaving you without a great deal of time to spend on your exercise routine.

If your itinerary takes you to Asia, you might find yourself in China on Monday, Taiwan on Tuesday, Korea on Wednesday, etc. Between taxis, airports, airport security, and check-in/check-out, it’s hard to find time to shower, let alone exercise!

I’ve found that when I’m tired, hungry, and worn out from the work at hand, finding the motivation to exercise can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

How do you stay motivated, even when you manage to find the hotel gym in the basement with very little equipment and even less lighting?

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Sometimes, it helps if you cut yourself a little slack. The pressure to keep up with your training schedule and stay in shape might actually be holding you back.

travelling and rowing

No one will feel motivated to find that hotel gym and get busy when you feel as if you are wasting your time.

You haven’t been able to keep up with your 10,000 meter daily row so take things in your stride, and do the best you can with what you have.

One way to stay motivated is to cut yourself some slack. You aren’t a mound of blubber because you missed a few workouts.

Do Any Form of Exercise

Get yourself back on track by doing something, ANYTHING, as long as it’s exercise.

That’s why I like to pack some resistance bands in my bags. If nothing else, I can watch the news and get in a good 20-40 minutes of strength training, and I never have to leave the room.

You can jog around the hotel grounds, do jumping jacks and planks, pick up some of the books or lamps in your hotel room, whatever! Just move!

If your hotel does not have a gym, or if there is no erg, getting in ANY exercise is better than sitting on your behind eating chips and watching TV.

On your worst days, when you just want to fall into bed, tell yourself that you are going to X (run in place, jump rope, do squats) for 10 minutes. That’s it. Just 10 minutes and then, if you don’t want to do more, you don’t have to.

I find that if I can get myself moving for 10 minutes, I’ll keep it going for 30 minutes.

Do a Little Research Before You Go on a Trip

The best of plans can be laid to waste with nothing more than a typo, but it can help your exercise plans if you check into things and make arrangements before you go.

Traveling Tips for Rowers

Of course, not all of these will work in every location, but they’re a good place to start.

travelling tips for rowers -

1. Plan your training as a part of your travel schedule. This means you might have a breakfast meeting at 9AM, and a class at 2PM, so perhaps you can schedule an hour for exercise between 12 and 1PM.

2. Find out what type of gym (if any) the hotel has. This might involve a phone call to the hotel to discover if they have a rowing machine. Some hotels use local gyms that are close by. If that’s the case, call the gym and see what their hours are, as well as what equipment they have.

3. You might find out that another hotel in town has a gym with an erg. See if you can switch hotels. If not, see if you can pay to use their gym during your stay.

4. Call the local rowing club and see if they have an erg for visitors. You should definitely make this number 1 if you are in a rowing city (Long Beach, California or Boston, Massachusetts, for example). You might even get lucky enough to rent or borrow a shell for an exercise session.

5.  Always have a workout bag ready to go. Have a good pair of running shoes, workout clothing, and a stretching strap.
Don’t forget that even though you are traveling, you need time to rest. Resist the urge to sleep during flights so you can sleep in your hotel room (unless a flight is super long).

6. Give yourself at least two days per week to rest. You can do that on your trip or once you are home. Personally, I would rather take two days off during my trip so I can go back to my erg or club for regular rowing training.

Travel with Your Erg (How I Ended Up Erging in an Airport)

Once, while I was traveling during an extended trip, I decided to take my erg with me. I have one that is fairly compact, it comes apart, and while I have to pay extra, I love having my own erg in my hotel room.

I was in an airport in the Middle East, and the security agent opened the box containing my erg. He was a well-seasoned security guard but had no idea what an erg was. I told him it was a machine for exercising. It appears that he didn’t believe what I said because he told me to put it together and get in some exercise.

So I did. I put my erg together and started rowing. Right there in the middle of the airport. There was a crowd after a few minutes. After a couple of dogs sniffed the machine over, they told me to stop. They took the performance monitor and said that they would check it for explosive devices.

While I was waiting, the guard asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I was a rowing coach. He wanted to see my business emails on my laptop.

I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to make it to the plane or that I may not be leaving at all when a porter stopped by. He took one look at the machine and said, “Oh yes, my mother has one of these. She even does races on it!”

That must have convinced them because I was allowed to board the plane, along with my erg and the monitor. Whew!

This rarely happens, but you should always be prepared for the unexpected!

At the End of the Day

During my travels, I’ve found that if I plan for the best and the unexpected happens, I really will be OK even if I end up not exercising (or just running up and down the stairs at the hotel) for a couple of days.

Stressing about things you can’t control and can’t foresee only puts more stress and pressure on you, so take things in stride, and do the best you can with what you have.

Happy travels and keep rowing on!