the road running
(Keeping Fit While Traveling)
By David A.
Vol. 54, 06-01-1997, pp 54(2)
See paragraph 13 for the bit about Hashing ***
lifestyle of an interal auditor presents a major
challenge to anyone trying to maintain a level of
fitness. Two major challenges must be addressed to
stay fit: locating a suitable place to work out and
coping with poor dietary options. As an avid runner
who has been confronted with these challenges myself,
let me offer these tips.
1. Plan ahead.
Make a phone call or two to find out about current
conditions at your destination so that you can
identify appropriate clothing for the climate. Also
check the Internet for a running club at your
destination before leaving home. You can e-mail the
club and ask for information on trails, races,
precautions, and weather. Most major cities have a
running club that is already on the Internet.
2. Be flexible.
If you're in a densely-populated urban setting, or in
a location where your safety is in doubt, you might
want to workout in the hotel if it has a treadmill,
or run steps in the stairwell, or
"cross-train" for the time you will be
there on whatever equipment the hotel has available.
The hotel may have a "stepper," or stair
machine, for example. While not a true substitute for
actual running, a stair machine provides a level of
strength training that only very severe hills can
3. Meet the
concierge. Ask if there are any jogging routes
documented from your hotel. The hotel may have
multiple routes with mileage indicated. The concierge
can also steer you away from questionable
neighborhoods. In Fort Worth, for example, I was
directed to a nice path along the Trinity River that
took me out of the downtown area very quickly. This
type of information can also usually be obtained from
the front desk or the bell captain.
questions. Perhaps the hotel has an arrangement with
a local health club allowing guests to use the
facility for free, or for a nominal charge. Some may
only have treadmills, but others will have indoor
tracks. On one occasion I traveled with a coworker
who was training for a marathon. Due to the heat and
high humidity we experienced on the south side of
Puerto Rico (Ponce), he decided to do his "long
day" on a treadmill at the hotel. His run that
day covered the equivalent of 18 miles, watching
himself in a mirror the whole time. While it may not
be the best option, a treadmill can be serviceable.
5. Be prepared.
When you head out to the streets, carry a piece of
hotel stationery with your name on it and your
driver's license. This combination will give you the
address if you get lost and provide valuable
information if you are involved in an unfortunate
incident, such as an accident or mugging. Leave your
room key at the front desk and don't put your room
number on the stationary. You might also consider
taking a $20 bill in case you need a taxi ride back
to the hotel.
6. Consider an
early morning run. If you must run downtown, this
provides the dual benefit of greater safety due to
reduced traffic congestion and also gets you out
before the air gets unhealthy.
7. Seek unusual
places to run. Light industrial parks make an
excellent running site, especially in the early
evening as businesses close. Another option is the
local high school track. These are usually open and
if practice is not being held, you will have the
place to yourself. Each of these also tend, by their
nature, to get you away from another running hazard:
essentials in your carry-on bag. If you leave your
running shoes, socks, and basic running apparel in
your checked bags, you run the risk of being
victimized by misdirected luggage.
9. Try to
arrive early at your destination. An early arrival
may allow you to get in your first run before your
job assignment starts making demands on your time. If
everything works against you, at least you will get
in one good run. But, if all goes well you will be
able to better optimize your time once the work
schedule gets hectic since you will have already
tended to your workout logistics.
10. Don't order
from the menu. Many restaurants will prepare chef
salads and fruit plates if asked. I've found room
service to be especially helpful in this regard. If
all else fails, order soup and salad from the
appetizer column of the menu as your entree.
your own supply of snack food. You might want to take
a private stash of favorite non-perishable foods with
you to some locations. When I recently spent a month
in China, I took three boxes of granola bars. As I
bought souvenirs, they filled the space created by my
dwindling "stash." Also, you might want to
find a grocery store at your destination where you
can buy some healthy snacks or fruit.
12. Watch the
water. Some individuals aren't as accustomed to
carrying bottled water as those in different pans of
the world. A lesson should be learned from our
friends across the world: even when the local
drinking water is safe, a traveler's system can be
"distressed" by unfamiliar water. Plan to
tote your own. As you travel to developing countries,
redouble your efforts to avoid the local water. Also
avoid ice in your drink and fresh vegetables that
have probably been washed in local water.
hashing. It is appropriate that this is the
thirteenth item on the list; some will view it an
unseemly activity, and the uninitiated may consider
their participation an unlucky venture. But if you're
a little on the rowdy side, in decent shape, and
tolerant of the indulgence of others, you might find
it fun to participate in a local hash.
"Hash House Harriers," hashing is an
informal group of " drinkers with a running
problem." They follow a paper or chalk trail,
which may go through town or the countryside, laid
out by other members of the group earlier in the day.
The hour or so race ends in a big party, called a
"down-down," sponsored by the "hash
master." My only experience with this
organization is in China, but it is a group with
worldwide representation and Internet sites.
There's a whole
world out there for the runner to discover, whether
on the job or on vacation. If I weren't a runner, I'd
never have experienced: a mountain-top view of the
Pearl River estuary in south China; a hillside
vineyard in southern Germany; a "perfect"
5K running path in Houston' s Memorial Park; the
serenity of Assisi, Italy, when the tourists are
asleep; the granite splendor of Aberdeen, Scotland;
the early morning stillness of the Gulf of Mexico in
St. Petersburg, Florida; and the natural beauty of
Lace 'em up!
Crowell, CISA, is Senior IT Audit Specialist for
Phillips Petroleum. E-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute of Internal Auditors