How to deal with weeks of work travel during marathon training?

I have entered my first marathon in April 2014 and have started a 16 week RW training plan as I know I have a good few weeks of work travel during autumn/winter and also a two week holiday to Australia where it may be up to 40C. I am pretty good at keeping up the runs when I travel but often they can only be up to 10km max as I will be in meetings all day with dinner events in the evenings. If I maintain the frequency of runs will this still keep my training on track?


  • Hey plodder.  I certainly know the difficulty of trying to fit training around work travel.  If you've got family, like me, it's also difficult when you get home because you've been away and they need your time too.

    There's no magic bullet...  but you just have to be inventive.  Maybe get up at 6am to get in a 90 minute run once in a while.   And if one of your dinner events is with colleagues rather than customers, I'll sometimes explain truthfully that I need an evening run, and perhaps agree to meet for a beer after they've eaten.  Just do what you can.

    It's certainly early to be starting a 16 week plan!! There must be 28-30 weeks to go. 

    When it comes to marathons, I'm not long enogh in the tooth to answer your final question. I'm just about to do my second. 

    But from that personal experience and from reading, I'd make two comments.  First.. I know you're planning for some bad weeks... but I'd steer clear of a formal plan for now.  It will just end up being too strung out, unfocused and demotivating. The marathon's 7 months away.  Just build up a bit of endurance for now... or do some cross country.

    Maybe start it 21 weeks before.  And hopefully you can come close to completing the 16 weeks in that time...  and yes, I think if you can sneak in a few 3-6 mile runs in the 'bad' weeks, that will stop you sliding backwards and allow you to bridge the gap to the next 'proper' week of the training programme.  Good luck... and enjoy Australia - take your running stuff if you absolutely must, but probably better to have a break.


  • Get up super early and run while everyone else is still asleep. I've done it several times on business trips. The bonus is you will be full of energy when everyone else is just getting going. This requires you to go to bed early though.


  • As Ruuny Knows suggests, making time for yourself if you can will be invaluable, and I'd suggest searching out local running clubs too. 

  • Find out if there are any local pay as you go gyms or try aqua running in a pool?

  • Don't stress too much. Try and get your long runs in at the weekend and be innovative about what you can do during the week. Try and use hotels with a gym and don't be afraid to tell your colleagues that you're going for a run and will meet up later. Use the gym early in the morning or as soon as you get back from work.

    I don't know the culture at your work, but most companies I've worked with have been understanding enough especially as most these days try and promote employee health.

    Failing that, try and find clients with an interest in running and let them be your excuse ( worked for me once or twice)!

  • Thanks for the comments. I do generally get up early (often around 5am) to get the runs in but they generally are only up to 10km as need to have time to make myself look presentable and have a decent breakfast before meetings/conference start about 8.30am. 

    Anyone know good routes in Brussels? I am there for nearly a week in November. I generally am happier with cities with rivers as then I can never get lost on my run!

  • Hi,

    When I was working in Brussels I used to run around the Parc due Cinquantenaire near the eu parliament. I was concerned with getting lost so I just ran round the out side keeping the park on my left. When I got used to the area I started running through the park and mixing up the laps. Lots of runners in the park for company.
  • I work away 2-3 weeks at a time and only option is a treadmill (offshore) and I also work 12hrs + . I adjust my training plan so I focus on long runs/endurance phase when I am at home with a higher %age of mileage coming from LSR. Then when I am away I will basically do shorter faster runs around 10k mark, intervals and progressive runs. If I can I will do a longer run up to 10 miles (about as long as I can bear on a treaddie). Seems to work for me. Takes more planning but its the only way I can manage, training plans are really only just a guide.

  • I have similar work trips to deal with. For me, running has been a great way to actually see the places I'm staying in rather than just the walls of the conference room or hotel room or wherever.

    Creativity in planning routes and finding time is the key though! (Actually I often capitalise on the time difference in the first week or so and do runs when everyone else is asleep but when my body is still wide awake, but usually my trips are to the US where I wake up incredibly early anyway).

    Multiple runs in a day might help, if it gets impossible to fit in long runs in one go. Not quite the same, but better than nothing.

    For finding routes, I love this site: and print out the route guides to take with me, as a sort of bible! Can recommend some of the Stockholm and Berlin routes in particular image and he has a Brussels route and some Australia routes. is pretty good too.

  • Annajo - thanks for the link! There looks like a good route from Avenue Louise in Brussels which I am staying just off. Might try one of the Sydney routes when I am there too image.

    Split runs is a good idea too although it is often to get away in the evenings from the break off discussions. I too think a morning run is a great way to see somewhere when you are on business; my favourites so far have been Grenoble and Budapest.

  • I've been to Sydney a couple of times in Dec or Jan and always managed a few runs outside, need to get up early though. But so worth it for the views! The other option for keeping the fitness levels up there is swimming in some of the awesome outdoor pools. 

  • Weeks of work requires some kind of vacation rest which can relax the mind and body as well.I have find out the best travel options through the where many athlete can enjoy the vacations and rest the body in good way.
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