February 24, 2016

Marathon training on a Caribbean cruise

Taking  a Caribbean cruise does not sound like it would be compatible with marathon training. However,  it is entirely possible if you plan your days before you even board your ship. Making a list of your scheduled port stops, the times available to spend on land, and the necessary workouts you need to do is a great start to your vacation exercise plan.  Spending two weeks away from home and my normal routine meant there was work to be done to be ready for my April 24th race.  While relaxing at our hotel in Miami, I started putting my plans in place for our 10 days on the cruise ship. A beautiful gym is helpful and with machines galore, there was no excuse for me to miss my workouts unless I was just plan lazy!



If you are having a pre cruise stay of a couple days or more, investigate the local area for running trails, parks and bike rental options.   I had researched our hotel's website and found that they had a nice gym and also were close to the Don Soffer Exercise Trail. We walked the trail and used the hotel bikes to ride several loops one morning.  Another option is swimming, but unfortunately, it was a bit too cool for me to get in the pool or ocean.


After our first dinner aboard the ship, I organized my exercise gear for the next morning.   Putting my clothing, running shoes, I-Pod shuffle and room key in the bathroom meant I was far less likely to skip my run and it would keep me from disturbing Tom while I got ready.  Being an early morning riser helps tremendously too since the gym is never crowded at that time.  I had just resumed running while on the trip after my IT Band injury so the treadmill made it easy to keep an even pace. There were days that we had a bit more motion so I made sure to attach the safety clip and occasionally I even had to grab the handrails.
Beautiful gym equals no excuses

Exercise classes are also offered on most cruise ships and while I had planned to attend afternoon Yoga several different days, lounging at the pool won out. Spin classes, aerobics, stretching and others were also available and probably larger cruise ships have even more to choose from.  A paddle ball court and a mini golf course were on the upper deck and I challenged Tom to a game one afternoon. This probably does not count as marathon training but we had a lot of laughs and he skunked me!



While not specific planned workouts, you can get some good physical exercise if you choose the active excursions off the ship.  A snorkeling adventure in St. Barts turned into a a brief swim session for me while the rest of our group spent time looking at fish.  Normally I would snorkel, but it was not an area for sea turtles so I just swam. On several islands, it would have been possible to grab a pair goggles and enjoy a swim workout in the ocean. When we visited Tortola in the British Virgin Islands an option for a Virgin Gorda Baths and Caves tour piqued our interest.  A scheduled rest day turned into an agility exercise as we meandered through gorgeous caves for over an hour.


Keeping in mind that this is a vacation it never bothers me to miss a workout. However, after my recent IT Band injury, it was important I get back on track with running so I was diligent this time on getting to the gym.  Plus, how could you feel badly going for a chocolate shake almost every afternoon of the cruise if you had done an early morning workout.
Any tips for training while on a cruise?
(Pam)


21 comments:

  1. How fun! I've trained for a half during many cruises, but never a full. Because of extreme heat in the islands, I found myself on the treadmill very early in the morning most of the time. But you're right there are tons of other ways to be quite active on a cruise.

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    1. Yes, training on vacation really does not need to be a chore.

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  2. I was training for the Wine and Dine half when we went on our cruise last September :) It definitely made for fun training while on the ship. Getting up early was absolutely the key to having the track and the gym before it got too crowded. And I enjoyed doing the stretching classes after my run. I also enjoyed being able to jump into the pool or the ocean later in the day. Plus, the beautiful views definitely did not hurt.

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    1. Yes, jumping in the pool afterwards was fun too. I forgot to mention that.

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  3. I love your pre planning and all of the workouts you did while cruising, Pam! Running on cruise ships is one of my favorite things to do! I agree with you...it also helps with the post afternoon treats, too!! :)

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    1. Thanks Karen. Cruising does make for a really fun vacation.

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  4. Nice gyms at hotels and on ships always helps with keeping motivation for training going while traveling. We're staying at the Polynesian (our first time!) during our week long Disney trip in August, and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the New Balance trails and fitness center at the Grand Floridian while we're there. While it will be temping to skip out on my workouts and sit by the pool instead, I know with a little dedication that I'll be able to stay on track with my workouts.

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    1. Oh the Polynesian is my favorite Disney hotel Kathryn. You will enjoy that so much. Plus, the rooms are really large which will be helpful since you will have 3 instead of 2 in your room! :)

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  5. I have never been on a cruise! It sounds like you have a great plan in place. I do look forward to working out on vacation because I don't feel rushed like I do during the work week :)

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    1. I think it can be motivating to workout in new places too.

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  6. When I traveled this summer I definitely took advantage of the gym at the resort (first time I ever did that) and then was pleased to see some of the same weight machines on the cruise ship that I used at PT.
    Your cave exploring sounds interesting!

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    1. I loved the cave visit. The Virgin Gorda Cave and Baths are listed in the book, "1000 places to see before you die." I'm so glad we had the opportunity to visit them.

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  7. On all the cruises I have been on I just love taking advantage of the tracks on them, well I don't know if they are really called tracks, but the runner in me calls them that. They are usually on one of the middle decks outside and you can run around the ship as many times as you want.
    Although one ship I was on also had one on the upper deck, but it was only possible to use early morning before everyone else came out to the pool deck areas.
    How fun, I bet you had such an amazing time on the trip. Love all the places you got to visit, I'd totally be up for touring caves too, were they really cool looking?

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    1. The caves were actually right next to the beach and yes, they were fabulous. They are listed in the book, "1000 places to see before you die.". I;m trying to check off as many things in that book as possible.

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  8. I like to continue training on vacation. When we were in the Virgin Island, I ran every morning before my husband got up. I saw the locals in the town square, the humongous boar that walked the streets, and the chickens that roam everywhere! It was fun. Exploring those caves sound awesome! It's been 13 years since we've cruised! It's time.

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  9. I have been on a couple cruises and we had so much fun doing all the activities they had. It's also a great time to take a little bit of a break and do some other activities.

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  10. I've never been on a cruise. Even tho I know the ship is huge, I hate the idea of being confined. I like to explore!

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  11. It's been quite some time since my last cruise, unfortunately, but one thing I always do is run around the promenade deck (nothing quite like running on a moving ship, even the big ones!) and never take the elevators or eat at the buffets.

    Ah, Miami. The time I went out for a run on our anniversary and almost got killed in a thunderstorm. Just a slight exaggeration!

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  12. I went on an Alaskan cruise last summer and ran on the jogging deck. It was really fun! I've been to the Caribbean, but not on cruise. I should add that to my bucket list.

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  13. When we went on our cruise I got some runs in on the ships track. It's totally possible! Looks like a great trip!!

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