Flying On and Off the Track

Jan 2o17 – Oct 2017

Hamilton Island – QLD, Australia
Sydney – NSW, Australia
Falls Creek – VIC, Australia
Melbourne – VIC, Australia
Newcastle – NSW, Australia
Christchurch – New Zealand
Auckland – New Zealand
Goulburn – NSW, Australia
Canberra – NSW, Australia
Greenville – SC, USA
Nasseau – The Bahamas
San Diego – SC, USA
Mt Laguna – CA, USA
Palo Alto – CA, USA
Portland – OR, USA
Eugene – OR, USA
London – UK
Lignano – Italy
Padova – Italy
Liege – Belgium
Avila – Spain
Sopot – Poland
Birmingham – UK
Rovereto – Italy
New York – NY, USA
Asheville – NC, USA
Miami – FL, USA

26 cities / 9 countries / 50+ flights / too many beds to count

 

My job as an athlete is obviously primarily training and racing. However, a HUGE part of it also extensive, and sometimes sporadic and spontaneous, travel. This way of life requires me to often live out of a suitcase and jump from one country to another without a solid structure. Admittedly I am an athlete who thrives off routine and consistency, so learning how to manage long flights and then perform at my best has often been a struggle for me. After years of trial and error I have finally been able to identify some keys points in my recovery that help prepare me for international competition.

 

1. KEEP MOVING DURING TRAVEL:

This refers to time between layovers and on the plane itself. I keep an R8 roll recovery and a stretch rope in my carry on luggage so that whenever I get a chance to rest I can keep my muscles fluid. Make sure you get up from your flight every two hours and walk around. If I can swing it, I do a bit of activation in the back of the plane. Sitting in one position for the entire flight will not only destroy your hip flexors but it probably means you’re dehydrated as well. An aisle seat is an absolute must!

 

2. DRINK A LOT SOS:

A total lifesaver. It’s no mystery that I am a big fan of SOS and everything this company is about. But aside from my general reliance on the stuff, SOS is particularly helpful when traveling. Not only is it super convenient (the small packages make them easy to travel with) but it provides you with that extra benefit that water alone cannot. SOS will prevent dehydration, and in the unfortunate case that you catch a bug during travel, the electrolytes will help you recover as soon as possible.

 

3. WEAR COMPRESSION SOCKS… A LOT:

My problem area in terms of injury is in my lower legs and feet. With a history of eight stress fractures it is crucial for me to take care of my calves and feet especially when traveling for long periods. I sometimes wear compression socks in general training but when fly it is an absolute must. When flying long distances our bodies hold extra water and swell, and compression socks help keep the blood flowing. Post travel I will also keep compression socks on during the next few days (even sleeping throughout the night) to speed up the recovery process.

 

4. SLEEP WHEN YOUR BODY SAYS SO:

I wouldn’t call myself a jealous person, but if there’s anything that makes me crazy jelly its when people can fall asleep wherever and whenever they want. I have never been a great sleeper, and because of this I have had to get a little creative when discovering which sleep methods work the best after long travel. Everyone has their own set of rules for dealing with jet lag, but recently I have been sticking to the rule: “sleep when you’re  tired.” For me this takes out the stress of trying to force yourself on a time zone, and allows you to just listen to your body and go with the flow.

 

5. AVOID RUNNING RIGHT OFF THE PLANE:

A lot of people have suggested running the same day you get off the plane. Personally this has never worked in my favor. In the last few years two injury irritations occurred when I hopped off a long flight and went for a run, so avoiding this is a cautionary measure more than anything else. Instead I’ll go for a 30-40min brisk walk and then roll out, activate, and stretch before bed. Again, listen to your body and don’t force things, especially the first day if you’re traveling internationally. The goal day 1 is to bring your body back to feeling loose and relaxed. The following days you can start to work up to maintaining your mileage.

Whether you classify yourself as a “good traveler” or not, this all becomes somewhat irrelevant when you toe the line. We can only do our best with the situation in front of us and let go of this things we can’t control in order to take advantage of all opportunities. I hope these tips help you in future racing and make recovery just that little bit easier. For all you insomniac injury prone athletes out there, you are not alone!

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