Adding an exercise routine into your holiday can add to the experience
Running will add immeasurable value to your holiday experience
An early morning run on the beach before dawn breaks (or a sunset run) is hard to beat if you want to stay fit and healthy while on your holidays. Photograph: Getty Images
Q I’ve been doing really well, having taken up running with “The Irish Times ” Get Running programme since the New Year and can now run for 30 minutes.
I love it and am able to go most days. I feel healthy and fit again (I am nearly 50) and the pounds have been dropping off. I didn’t take up running to lose weight but it has just happened and I realise I was a lot bigger than I thought.
However, I gave up sugar in my tea for Lent and as I drink eight cups a day, that might also have something to do with the weight loss.
My worry is we are going on a holiday over Easter to an all-inclusive resort in Egypt and I’m afraid I will be stuck in a strange place, unable to run and surrounded by too many temptations. I don’t want to pile on all those pounds I’ve lost and lose my fitness.
We are going for two weeks with our grown-up kids. It’s a big trip to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. Help!
A I have a feeling Egypt will be nigh on baking at Easter time, a wonderful opportunity for you to make good the vitamin D deficit from lack of sunshine back home.
The downside of the amazing weather is, instead of encouraging vigorous activity, it better suits lying on a sun lounger all day with a soothing cocktail to take the edge off the heat, reading a book and gingerly taking a dip in the pool whenever the temperature gets too much.
The good news is that a bit of holiday grit is all that is required to deal with it. I recommend the following:
Hotel gym: Most of these resort-style all-inclusive hotels have a gym in the basement, and if not they have a reciprocal relationship with a hotel nearby with one. Find out in advance. The gym is almost always empty, so you get to do your workout in peace and a bonus is it will also be air conditioned, keeping you blissfully cool while you work out.
If you can embrace a daily treadmill run and/or some kind of workout in the gym as part of your holiday routine, and I recommend organising this when you check in and/or investigating your options with the hotel via email beforehand, you are going to come back in great shape.
Outdoor run: As for outdoor running, if you can establish an easy safe loop from your hotel and back (again do your research first: ask the hotel or find out online), an early morning run on the beach before dawn breaks is hard to beat and will be truly memorable.
A sunset run is equally as good an option, but be careful not to get caught short. If it gets dark super fast, you don’t want to find yourself lost alone, so take obvious safety precautions and know your route back.
If you opt for the outside running option, which I recommend, it is essential that you lather yourself in UVA and UVB sunscreen (lips included) even if the sun has gone down/not yet up, and wear a cap, loose-fitting clothing and sunglasses when necessary. Make sure you keep well hydrated at all times and take water on any run.
Food and drink: On the food and beverage front, once you have committed to remaining active on holiday, all you need to do is be mindful.
No one needs three helpings of tiramisu. Stuff yourself silly on the exotic fruits and vegetables, but go easy on the puddings and pina coladas. Drink plenty of water, especially when tucking into the cocktails.
Do not adopt a mindset that has you dreading your daily run/gym visit as an awful but necessary evil to be endured in order that you can enjoy all the food and lounging delights that a resort holiday has to offer. Choose to see that run instead as the highlight of your holiday, to be enjoyed at your leisure, on your terms, something just for yourself.
If you do manage a sunrise or a sunset beach run while away, I want to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grit Doctor says: Running will add immeasurable value to your holiday experience. “Grit out” the first day or so and it will become second nature for the rest of your trip and every holiday thereafter.
Ruth Field is author of Run, Fat Bitch, Run and Get Your Shit Together.