Traveling over the holidays - what to do?

I’m looking for suggestions in the SYSTM plans or workouts to try to maintain my fitness when I’m away from my bike and KICKR trainer for 8 days traveling to visit family over Christmas.

I’m right in the middle of my All Purpose plan, and I’ll be away during half of an “on” week and half of a recovery week.

I might have access to an exercise bike, but no guarantees. Even if I do, it’s tricky to adjust the power and it’s not well suited to tougher workouts (seat, pedals, etc.).

Thanks SYSTM (nee Sufferfest) community!

@mdmnd9294 When I travel I generally run on the treadmill at a hotel as a replacement for my regular workout. Sometimes it is sprint intervals and sometimes more of an endurance run depending on the workout that I will be missing. You could probably do something similar on the spin bike if you don’t want to run. Also perhaps something like cadence builds or some high torque, low cadence drills might work okay on the bike.

The other thing I do when traveling is more weight work and yoga. It is a good time to practice things like single leg squats.


Priorities, man! If you can’t take your set up with you, don’t go! Family is for couchlandrians!

Just kidding. If you have you have access to a bike, use it. Or just take a some walks with your family and don’t worry about it. Your fitness will be fine. I just had a week off training of any sort after having four wisdom teeth extracted (after 40 years of putting it off). It took me three days to get back to where I was.



I have the luxury of having family in warmer parts of California so time away from SYSTM is just time out on the road (though it’s kind of an argument because there’s only one car in the household that can take my bike).

I took a week off to get over a cough/cold and yesterday’s 50k Zwift “fun ride” was pretty brutal.


That’s what I’m trying to avoid, backsliding to much that it’s struggle to get back to where I was.

I’m going from Ohio to New England, and flying to get there, so sadly bringing equipment is typically not on option.

Thank you for recording a podcast just to answer my question! :wink: ! In fact I think this holiday episode downloaded to phone today. Looks like a little patience on my part would have been wise.

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I recently traveled for business for 11 days. Being away from the bike for the long was definitely a concern. I did not want to lose hard earned fitness. I found it to be a good opportunity to cross train. I did some very high paced hiking on hilly terrain where I was able to achieve endurance workouts of similar intensity (ave HR ~155, max HR ~180). I think doing something different for a few days actually had benefit for me. It made me feel “fresher and more enthusiastic” to ride once I returned from my trip.

Also on the trip, I had access to a hotel fitness room exercise bike. Of course, the fit was awful and the ride rides were miserable and resulted in some post ride discomfort such as sore hip flexors but nothing serious. But still…better than nothing. Using the phone app and HR monitor, I was able to complete Sufferfest rides based on HR since I could not record power. The ride display graph can be set to target HR rather than power. I was able to capture the effort data on Strava even though distance and power were not recorded.


Oh that’s a great idea, training by HR.

I have access to a Peloton and would just need to figure out pedals (all I have are SpeedPlays). But wasn’t sure how to get a good workout in outside of a Peloton session.


“And Just Like That…”

Just do 2 or 3 really long, really hard rides before you leave.

Enjoy being able to get away to your family (not everyone is allowed these days), if you don’t get any training in, so be it (it’s just 1 week in the off-season, it doesn’t matter). Consider it a recovery week.


I had a similar week away (sans bike) over Thanksgiving and used it as a “training camp” for SYSTM core and strength workouts. I also took a couple of spin classes (first in years) and measured HR for those. If you can get on the exercise bike, perhaps add a 30 min Zone 1-2 session at the end of your strength and yoga work. No need to go full tilt on the bike, particularly if you have just done a bunch of one-legged squats…

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I’ve tried a couple of variations of all these options. What i have found to be the best balance (for me anyway) between keeping an enjoyable level of activity, maintaining fitness and also making time and allowances for other priorities is to completely hit pause on whatever training i’m doing and turn the vacation into a mini training camp for something else, some other element of athleticism. Like i’ll use the rowing machine, do a bodyweight circuit with burpees, do yoga, stretching, core, strength, running. I pick modalities, workouts and timing bsed on what works best for me during that week based on my time available, recovery time and available equipment, not necessarily what’s the best “substitute” for a planned workout. E.g., trying to replicate Cobbler on my parents’ 1980s exercise bike would be miserable, but doing 30/30s followed by sets of burpees is not bad at all.

Tl;Dr, trying to follow a plan religiously but with substitutes during travel has never worked with me, but hitting pause on the plan and doing my own thing for a week or two has, and it doesn’t take that long to get back up to speed when you get back, especially when the racing season is still so many months away.


Thanks for all of the suggestions! They really ran the gamut. I think I will spend time walking with my family, and focus on strength and yoga training. If I make it to exercise bike a few times, that’ll be great but I’m not gonna stress over it. Thanks for reminding me it’s ok to focus on spending time with my family! Happy holidays, everyone!


sounds like an awesome plan.

i’m gonna do bodyweight strength routine and burpees today, maybe go running tomorrow.

If i had a race i wanted to do well at coming up soon (i.e. few weeks), then i’d probably be a lot more prescriptive, but season is far off so i’m just gonna stay active, get myself appropriately tired and not stress.


Sounds like the community offered plenty of options, I’ll add one more. Band workouts are great for strength and endurance, helps to get the glutes and quads firing together, a deceptively tough workout, and easy to pack whist traveling. Dr. Tim Woo of SoCal Bike PT has a good program if interested. I bought a set of bands from Letsfit, offered on Amazon, they’re quality bands.