Sport on holiday has its attractions. It means that you can keep physically fit and makes the lazing around afterwards even more rewarding.
Lounging around in the sun listening to the sweet sound of silence, gently rocked by the sound of the waves or the breeze rustling the pine trees.
That’s the absolute number one activity. But if you want to reach even higher, there’s nothing better than a short exercise session, either running or something else, before you concentrate on the hard task of lazing around. Alexis Valtat, running coach at Team Trail Paris, shows us the best exercises to stay fit and make the most of the holidays.
Take a break
Before doing any sport on holiday, it’s essential to take a break of at least two weeks, especially if it’s been a long running season. That way you’ll give your body the rest it needs to feel ready to start exercising again. In other words, stop running to maintain your fitness level.
Running in the water
If you’re on the beach, it would be a shame not to take advantage of your surroundings to strengthen your muscles without even realising you’re doing it. A short running session up to calf level in the water is perfect. The resistance created by the water strengthens your leg muscles. Feet, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps etc. Make sure you choose a section of beach with fine sand and no shells, which could cut your feet. A session of around 40 minutes, running barefoot on the beach including 3 x 5 mins with the water at calf level is a good recommendation.
Jogging for tourists
Make the most of your holiday destination and explore the surrounding area by running at such a leisurely pace that you could be overtaken by a kid on a bike with stabilisers. Go out without your watch. Let your legs do what they want at a pace that allows you to take in your surroundings. It could be a 45 min, 1 hour or 1½ hour session. Do as much or as little as you like!
If you’re taking your bike on holiday with you or if you’ve got the opportunity to hire one, you won’t be disappointed. You can easily ride for two or three hours on a road bike at a leisurely pace. In the end, you won’t feel like you’ve really worked out but you will feel much better. You’ll be working on your cardio and lower limbs without the high-impact trauma of running. Don’t miss out on a few short Peter-Sagan style sprints either!
If you have the will and motivation, a sunrise yoga session is the best way to start the day. Start off with a twenty-minute sun salutation followed by a table-top then a forward-fold pose.
Exercise on an empty stomach
To appreciate all the benefits of a holiday breakfast, there’s nothing like a good session on an empty stomach. Done of course at a very slow pace so as not to upset your fragile organism which has got out of the habit of 3 or 4 training sessions a week. Make sure you drink plenty before going out running. If the motivation is there, you could also include a few one-minute accelerations to tire you out a little more. All of which, of course, will make you appreciate that first mouthful of scrambled eggs or juicy nectarine even more.
And finally, no one can deny the benefits of pre-dinner drinks, consumed in moderation. A little drink at the end of the day will not harm your health and will do you good mentally. Rather than going for strong spirits, choose a beer or a glass of red wine. The first contains maltose to replenish carbs, the second contains antioxidants and some iron. A great magic potion after a holiday training session. Try to limit yourself to just one drink. Don’t overdo it. That would be counter-productive and you would lose the sensation of well-being that your holiday exercise sessions have given you.