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Finding a rhythm and staying consistent are important aspects of a successful fitness plan, but what happens when life gets in the way?  With a half marathon this weekend and two ultras next month looming, getting in a groove of running and cross training has been a priority for me.  Another essential priority is my job, and a string of four business trips in the past five weeks has been a test of my creativity and time management skills.  These are some of the tricks I’ve used to get me through this busy time.

1. Pack ahead – I’m sure this brings a smile to Taylor’s face.  Before leaving for a trip I make sure to pack enough to get me through one workout a day for the time I’ll be gone.  I mentioned my essentials for traveling in an earlier post and I won’t rehash, but the basics include running shoes, exercise clothes, and fuel for before and after.

I stay positive knowing that this is my morning run back home.

I stay positive knowing that this is my morning run back home.

2. Scout out your surroundings – I may or may not be guilty of booking my hotels based on fitness amenities and proximity to accessible running, but when accommodations are out of your control, learn the lay of the land and determine where you could exercise.  When I traveled to Portland this week, I was fortunate to stay right next to a 24 Hour Fitness, and took full advantage by swimming on a day that had the potential to lack movement altogether.

3. Break away from the screen – How much time do you spend staring at a screen during the day?  Whether it’s checking a phone or working a desk job, many of us are connected for most of our waking hours.  Stop playing Farmville, stop sending me requests to join your farm, and spend 15-20 minutes walking around, worst case.  If you’re feeling motivated, I can promise that 20 minutes of rigorous running at 85% effort will be more than enough to get your daily fix.

4. Guest passes are your friend – Check to see if there are any gyms in striking distance from where you’re staying.  Many gyms offer free guest passes and others charge a small fee for day use – it’s better than nothing, and some companies will allow employees to expense the guest fees.

5. Motivate others around you – I’ve found that more often than not, I’m on business trips with colleagues – not all of whom are active.  That’s fine – I don’t preach the merits of fitness unless specifically asked, but I am quick to tell others who I travel with that I enjoy early sleep, morning exercise, clean eating and frequent water consumption; business trips are a major departure from my day-to-day.  I’ve also found that by vocalizing my basic wants and needs is well received, and sometimes others will take a break to exercise instead of succumbing to the group-think mentality.  It never hurts to speak up.

6. Stay positive – For most people, a busy patch is normal, and more importantly – temporary.  Don’t lose sight of your long term goals despite the short term challenges.