Holiday Training

220 columnist Pete Jacobs tells us how to get the most out of holiday training

What happens in the off season stays in the off season…

After two and a half months of travelling post Kona, I’d only been home in Noosa for a few days. That meant I had only ridden a bike a few times and swam a couple of times. I had started running in November (I was able to run while travelling) and pulled up very tight while running in December, but by New Year I was feeling okay and so I started riding and swimming too.

With still many months until I need to be in top shape and no need or motivation to train hard, I have been doing some mountain biking, ocean swims, surf training (wading and swimming in and out of the beach), group rides, running unknown trails, surfing, and eating out. Remember, though: what happens in the off season stays in the off season; once the hard work begins, all those things are mostly left behind.

For those training to their limits, there is mostly only room for training, family, and work. But in the off season there is room for hobbies, friends, sports other than swim/bike/run, and sessions that are built around having fun – not around getting the most adaptation possible. However, once hard training starts, most of these activities are forgotten, and no risks are taken.

PJ’s top travel tips

I have travelled a lot, and over the years I have learnt some great tricks that make travel easier and help me feel a lot better on arrival. Firstly, compression socks do help! I’ve taken a one-hour flight without compression and ended up with swollen ankles, then after a short stopover made my way back on-board for 14 hours wearing my BV Sport socks and had normal ankles when the flight was done. It was hard for me to believe at first, but it has happened twice now.

Another tip for travel is packing light to avoid excess baggage costs for the bike. Of course, if you travel domestically and book through Healthwise Active travel for a Qantas flight, bikes fly free. Internationally, if I’m over weight, I put my heaviest items in my carry-on (as long as they aren’t prohibited); if they weigh your carry-on you can just put them in your pockets for a few minutes before putting them back in your bag once you’ve checked in.

The two greatest comforts to me when I fly are antibacterial gel and noise cancelling headphones. The headphones cancel out noisy passengers and engine noise to allow a better sleep or greater movie enjoyment. The gel helps keep the germs away and makes travelling less risky in terms of getting sick. It’s also a great home comfort to feel clean.

My best travel tip is about staying hydrated. Carry on a large bottle of water – bought after the security screening, of course – and drop Shotz Electrolyte Tabs into the bottle. They taste great, so you drink more, and they have electrolytes to keep your muscles hydrated.

The air in pressurised cabins for international travel is equal or greater to the altitude of Boulder, Colarado (5,280 feet), and much drier. Caffeine and alcohol contribute to dehydration, so avoid both. I almost always take a bag of raw mixed nuts onboard, too. Inflight food is not the most nutritional or filling, so take something healthy and filling and avoid products high in refined sugar as they will lower your immune system and are bad for your health at any time.

When planning my races for 2013, I’m looking at the races that don’t require travelling back and forth across too many time zones – so I can be at home as much as possible. Home is wherever my wife Jaimie is, and where our creature comforts, routines, and friends are. And that is where I train at my best, all year round. For 2013, that place is Noosa.