Friday, August 28, 2009

Air Travel

I travel a lot for my “work,” and I’ve picked up a few air travel habits that would probably be useful to share.  You’ll certainly have heard some of these before, but others might be new.  I find it ironic or at least odd that an athlete’s routine in the days leading up to their biggest races is often about as different as possible from their regular daily routine.  Here are some ideas to help take the bite out of flying:

  • Stay well-hydrated.  If you do nothing else, do this.  The pressurized cabin is much drier than you’re accustomed to.  Bring an empty water bottle through security.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a half-full one and have had to chug it at the security checkpoint.  Or you can just buy a bottle for like $4 once you are through security.  For a cross-country flight you probably want two bottles.
  • Compression tights.  I still think that people who race in such things are silly. Loren.  (I suppose that was just a training run, but I’ll call you out anyways.)  But many of us “pros” wear tights under our jeans when we fly.  It helps with circulation in your legs and helps keep them from getting that dead feeling after arrival.  Compression tights designed for runners are great.  Right now I am wearing some white surgical socks that I bought at the drugstore when Ben Collins and I were on our way to Seoul last year.  Really.  White surgical socks from the drugstore, cost maybe $30.
  • Get up and walk around during the flight, especially if it is longer than about 90 minutes.  C’mon, you know that sitting at your desk/computer all day is terrible for you, too, but it is even worse in one of those “spacious” airplane seats.  I like to go to the most open area in the aisle, usually near the bathrooms, and do about 15 lunges on each leg, along with some squats, then a few stretches.  It is a great conversation starter!  I’ve switched from a “window guy” to an “aisle guy” in order to accommodate this habit.
  • Bring a snack.  You’re getting ready for your big race and you’re about to starve yourself for four hours, or rely on airplane food for nourishment?  C’mon … you’re spending $300 on your ticket, $100-500 for your race entry, hundreds more on the hotel, rental car, etc. I recommend bringing something low-glycemic for your snack, as you won’t be in a post-exercise recovery state.  Some of the protein bars are good.  Or some trail mix…

I thought that I might have more to say, but those are the main points.  I am being asked to turn off all electronic items, stow my carry-ons, and return my tray-table to the upright and locked position as we prepare to land at O’Hare.  Buh-bye for now.

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