Business Travel and Triathlon Training: Manhattan and Houston

One of the perks of the job in advertising is the ability to travel. I have traveled across the country for focus groups, in-home interviews, ethnographies, concept testing, meetings, and conferences and love to check out new places and especially the food. One of my other favorite things to do is train in a new city as well. I love waking up early, lacing up my runners, and getting lost for an hour or two in a new place. Training for endurance sports is a tough thing to work into any schedule, but it becomes even more difficult when you are on the road.

I have spent the last two weekends in New York and Houston and worked hard to still find time to train. I have decided to share a little bit about how I go about finding places to train and even people to train with.

As a member of USMS (United States Masters Swimming), I always go to the “places to swim” link on the USMS website and see if there is a Master’s program I can workout with and at the very least, find a nearby pool to go pay for lap swim time.

The next thing I do is search for a triathlon club in the area and find out their training schedule. If there is a big group run, track workout, or road ride on any of the days that I am around, I try to join along. Almost every club is happy to have a visitor for a day as long as you are respectful and don’t make bonehead moves in the peloton.

If there isn’t a tri club, I’ll look online for a running club, and I always look up local bike shops that might be able to rent me a bike or give me info on a group ride taking place while I am in town. If you are anything like me, you like just being in bike shops and looking at new gear, so finding a good local shop is hardly a burden.

My latest thing is to pick up a water bottle or two from the shops I visit when I am out of town so I can bring home a local souvenir. When recently visiting New York, I brought home a couple of SBR bottles and while in Texas, picked up a couple bottles from a shop in Houston called Bike Barn. The 160 mile drive to Austin was very tempting in order to visit Mellow Johnny’s and pick up a souvenir or two, but our hectic work schedule was enough for me to resist the temptation.

On the New York trip, I made sure I was able to go for a run in Central Park. Central park is surrounded by a winding, undulating road roughly 10 kilometers long that is sprawling with runners and cyclists getting a workout in before heading to work. I took a cab to the South end of the park, did the 6.2 mile loop around the park and then took a second loop that wound in and out of the various trails and bridle paths that snake throughout the park.

I didn’t get the chance to swim while in New York but if I go back, I will definitely go for a swim at the pool in Central Park or the pool on the Hudson River at the Chelsea Piers Sports Center. I have heard the view through the floor to ceiling windows surrounding the pool is amazing.

Off to Texas.

Were I to visit Houston again, I would be sure to stay at the Houstonian which has a world-class fitness club including anoutdoor olympic pool. The beef I have with the Houstonian is that they wouldn’t let me in! I tried to go there for a 3,000 yard swim and a spin class but I was stopped at the front desk and told “MEMBERS ONLY!”

As annoyed as I was with that treatment, I will stay make sure I stay there next time because I REALLY want to use that pool. Luckily I had a backup plan and headed to FIT Athletic Club just a few miles away. For 20 bucks they let me use all the facilities for as long as I wanted. While there I took a 2 mile warmup run on a treadmill, a one hour spin class, and followed it up with a 2 mile transition run on the treadmill at a torturous 6:15/mile pace. The FIT Athletic Club was actually very nice with the exception that it didn’t have a pool, but the spin class instructor (I believe her name was mary) was one of the best I have ever had, and the place had fresh towels which is more than I can say for my local 24 Hour Fitness.

Here is a quick list of my must haves for any business trip. And remember, you can pack light, you aren’t going to race a triathlon, just looking for quick efficient and fun ways to workout.

Swim: swimsuit, goggles, cap (leave your paddles, fins, and other junk at home

Bike: Helmet, Glasses, Gloves, Shoes, pedals, bottle, and spandex (if you plan on attending a spin class, remember that most spin bikes only accept the small SPD mountain bike cleats… unless you are at the almighty Equinox Gym pedals that accept both). Also, remember to contact bike shops ahead of time about renting or demoing a bike as they often may not be able to help you out on very short notice.

Run: Running shoes, shorts, shirt/tank

And for all three: sunscreen and your watch (Garmin preferred ;)) so your not lost or late for business (the real reason you are there!)

Working out while traveling is tough but very doable, so get out there and explore a new place, meet new people, and be energized for whatever kind of boring conference or trade show it is that you might have to attend.

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2 Responses to Business Travel and Triathlon Training: Manhattan and Houston

  1. Mike G says:

    Wait, so are you saying that i am not supposed to pretend like i am on vacation and eat and drink everything in reach. Great post. Thanks senor

    • Skyler says:

      Were this blog called Saatchi Eats, you would have seen a completely different story. New York was also about pizza, hot dogs, gyro, Korean BBQ, and Italian, while Houston was about steak, BBQ, Tex Mex and room service. I like to make sure I have plenty to burn off when working out 🙂

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