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How I ran an 80km week while on holidays

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Recently, I wrote a blog about how to keep your training up while on holidays. Most of my holiday running in the last few years has been post marathon, so it was mostly done for recovery and to keep a bit of fitness up.

During one previous marathon build up, I went on a trip to Cairns, and struggled to train while I was there.

Last week, while spending a week in Queensland for the Commonwealth Games, I was determined to get it right. I’ve been consistent with my training so far this year, and with a few big events coming up, I didn’t want to go backwards.

It wasn’t perfect, and 80km in a week is on the lower end of what I’m used to. But given I was on holidays, it was a pretty good effort. So here is how I fit my training in around my holiday.

Monday – 10km recovery run

This was the easiest run to do all week. It wasn’t a typical recovery run, our flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast the day before meant I didn’t do a Sunday long run. But I like to maintain consistency as much as possible, so we went out for a recovery on Monday as usual.

The hotel we were staying at was close to Kirra parkrun, which we did last year, and on the course of the Kurrawa to Duranbah 50km relay, which we did in 2016, so finding a place to run was very easy. Both courses include a path along the beach, so we went out along that towards Tweed Heads for 5km, then turned back.

The day before, we went to an afternoon session of athletics, meaning we were home in time to make a 6:15am start possible, before it got too hot.

Tuesday AM – 5km tempo with warm up and cool down

This was tough. If I was at home, I probably would have tried to run a bit further. But getting home after midnight from the athletics meant it was well after 7am when I was able to drag myself out of bed, and hot by the time I started running at 7:40am. I debated back and forth what to do while I was warming up, but eventually went with the easiest option and took advantage of staying right next to Kirra parkrun. The course is helpfully marked at each kilometre and turnaround, so I followed those to do a freedom parkrun. I struggled in the heat, and allowed myself a quick water stop at 4km, then pushed through. When I finished, I was briefly annoyed at the stop, but decided to let it go because it was so hot. If there was anything I learnt from the Cairns experience, it was to adjust training for weather conditions I wasn’t used to.

Tuesday PM – 8km recovery

This time I definitely needed the recovery! Usually I would have done this run on Wednesday morning, but we had a 6:15am pick up at our hotel in Noosa for a day trip to Fraser Island. I seriously doubted we would feel like running after we got back, so the only way to get the recovery in was doing it on Tuesday night. We asked at our hotel where would be a good place to run. The girl at reception gave us a map and tried to recommend the flattest places to go. We used the run as an opportunity to get dinner, running to the supermarket, and as an excuse to walk up the last part of the hill to the hotel, because the shopping bags were so heavy!

Wednesday – rest, relax and have fun!

Thursday – 21km mid week long run

If there was one run I really wanted to make sure I did on this trip, it was my mid week long run. I have been doing roughly 20km on a Thursday morning for a few months, and wanted to maintain it (since I’m all about consistency!). To plan where to go, we looked up the Noosa parkrun course, and worked out how to run there and back from our hotel. It would be about 22km.

Once again, a late night watching the Comm Games athletics (on tv) meant a late start – running by 7:40am. It was already hot, and I knew it would be a struggle. Luckily, there was a lot of shade.

Similar to Tuesday, this run wasn’t exactly what I would have done at home. We had a lot of stops – for directions, for water, to take photos. But we did 21km, and ran up most of the hill to the hotel, and I counted that as win.

Friday – 10km recovery

For this run, we again took advantage of the abundance of local race routes. A quick look at Strava and the Noosa Tri website told us that the course was very close to where we were staying. We actually ran part of it during our recovery on Tuesday. We set out on Friday morning, not early enough, and before long were feeling the heat. If there is one benefit of struggling through a week of running in Queensland, it’s that I have felt much stronger this week back in Sydney! We cut the tri course slightly short and stuck to our pattern of skipping the run up the hill to the hotel, stopping for ice cream instead.

Saturday – shortened long run including South Bank parkrun

A Sunday long run wasn’t going to be possible. Staying in Brisbane, we had to be on a 5am train to watch the Commonwealth Games marathon. My plan was to run 20km on Saturday including South Bank parkrun. It was easy enough to work out where to run, across the bridge from our hotel to the parkrun start, then add some extra by running along the river. We got back from the athletics session the night before well after midnight, so by the time we got up there wasn’t much time for running before parkrun. I ended up doing 15km including the parkrun, meaning I’d have to run again on Sunday to get 80km in the for week.

Sunday – 30min recovery

After an epic morning watching the Comm Games marathons, we got back to our hotel around lunch time. It was way too hot to run then, and the main priority was a nap. I didn’t need to go far to reach my 80km goal, and eventually went out around 5:15pm, when it was getting dark and the nearby botanic gardens were all in shade. I followed part of the parkrun course we had run the day before, doing a few laps of the gardens before deciding I’d had enough.

82km week done!

Monday – 9km recovery

Okay, technically this doesn’t count to the week, but I’m including it because it gave us the opportunity to do one of my favourite holiday runs – a sightseeing run! We ran through Brisbane’s West End, to the house my husband first stayed when he moved to Australia, and did a lap of the Gabba, before going back to the hotel through the Botanic Gardens. It was a great way to end the trip.

The main things I learnt from a week of holiday training were the importance of flexibility and the importance of adapting sessions to the different weather conditions. We had to change plans a few times to fit things in, but I’m confident I did enough to stay on track for the races coming up this winter.

Running the Noosa parkrun course
Using a parkrun course as part of a long run on holidays in Noosa

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