Here are some blunt thoughts, in ugly cacophony order:

Stretching once you get to where you are going. I would advise doing 3 stretches, preferably once you arrive at hotel and immediately upon waking up… I prefer to see athletes stretch in “supersets,” meaning do stretch A, stretch B, stretch C, then take full rest after, then do a second full superset.

Stretch A is the hamstring stretch. Sit on ground, stretch one leg out, and reach for your toes, keeping leg flat. Hold for 20-30+s, then repeat with other leg.

Stretch B is the hip-flexor stretch, arguably the most important for any cyclist or runner. Sit in a chair, put right ankle on left knee. Keep back straight, hinge at the hips, and lean forward. You’ll really feel the stretch in an isolated area, hitting your IT band and hip flexor. Hold for 20-30+s, then rest a moment, then repeat with the other leg.

Stretch C is a standing calf stretch. Stand in front of a counter, step forward with one leg, keep rear heel on the ground, and lean into the counter… Again, hold stretch for 20-30+s, then repeat with other leg.

These are the golden stretches, most bang-for-your-buck…

Can always do a complete foam roller stretch at hotel, too… Or one of those sticks, self-massage after the stretching – very viable and beneficial. A rolling pin that you pack is also a very rad tool to have…

Self-massage is popular. You can massage your legs, working your way from upper-leg and down, with your hands. Better yet, in the airplane seat, use a rounded object, something hard, to self-massage, to break up the muscles and loosen them…

During the flight, athlete can flex muscles, then relax. Like, “flex” the quads, hard. Hold for 10s, rest 10s. Do this 10 times, full rest, then a second full set. Repeat this for the hammies (FLEX the muscle), and the calves… You will be increasing blood flow to the area, stimulating the lymphatic system to flush lactate, toxins, and free radicals.

After this exercise, athlete can shake the legs loose for a bit, a good warmdown, just subtly moving legs, keeping blood flow going, keeping muscles loose and relaxed…

Highly recommend a light 30-40min spin at hotel, to loosen the legs and burn some calories, get the metabolism churning again… If not available, then hit the streets (or halls) and walk at sub-brisk pace, shaking the legs loose… Also, even though stairs are death for any fit cyclist, here they are your friend—perhaps do a light circuit when you crest a flight of stairs 4-5 times, slowly, using your femur and feeling it leverage you up each step – no speed here, just naturally rising up the steps, flexing the muscles in your legs as you need them, wake them up a bit…

Running in place in the hotel is also an option, if the athlete is a runner, but I actually think walking and stairs, in conjunction with massive travel and time-zone jumps, is the better play.

Breathing exercises are also a great idea, arguably near the top of the list… Perhaps best to do above-mentioned exercises mid-flight, or early if rest is planned. Then breathing exercises… It’s just proven that deep breathing helps your lungs work better and more effectively, which is a duh, transports more oxygen to the blood, which increases performance… More oxygen to the heart, more blood circulating throughout the body, relieving any congestion or stress… Also, with flight and stress, digestive system

might go awry – with deep breathing, the lower abdomen is engage to help bowel movements happen right away… Deep breathing also calms the nervous system – heavy flight-travel never most peaceful place to be, and if you have a huge race coming up, can’t let nervous energy derail you… Deep breathing reduces muscle tension, can ultimately increase flexibility and overall strength… And, even though writing this all in a heap, deep breathing just makes you feel better – mentally, emotionally. Stress is reduced, endorphins are released that promote natural highs and, ultimately, easy sleep. I mean, no better way to do a flight than to do the aforementioned “activities,” then sleep, right? One of the best ways to increase athletic performance is to ensure you get more sleep, and getting good sleep here will relax you, truly help you focus and sharpen your attention, recharge you, help you recovery (fact that body produces more HGH when you get full sleep cycle).

Sample breathing is to learn to breath with your abdomen or diaphragm, belly breathing… As you breathe in, your gut expands, and as you exhale, your abdomen retracts… Breathe deeply in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then breathe out through mouth… Good to repeat in 3-5min increments, then normal breathing, then resume 2-4 times…

But with heavy stress, would be good to implement breathing exercises both on flight and once you arrive at hotel – this is a huge point I am stressing.

Also, with so much travel, leaping to entirely new time-zones, your body might get backed up digestive-wise, some gastric distress. Best here to eat light, foods low-glycemic, pre-flight, and aim to fill up on water, the most magical thing on earth. Water will fill you up and keep you from eating poorly while traveling. Once at hotel, best to have dinner as early as you can and keep it very clean – a meat and a veggie, or a salad with some protein. Best to have foods that are loaded with fiber so the foods will go through you quickly in clean manner – you will be emptied out by the morning, but topped up with glycogen… With travel, a go-to meal is natural oatmeal with cinnamon and/or water/almond milk, and a banana. Tried and true perfect meal. The oatmeal is clean on the stomach and low-glycemic, filling, and the banana is a great source of carbohydrate – a superior mix.

But, I say all of this: less is more. Water on the plane, then clean foods at the hotel and in the morning… The body will feel run-down and a little jetlagged, and we need to avoid any potential snags to help ensure you will perform at optimal level.

Which brings me to final point: doing all of this, even if it’s just 1% loss, the travel and jet-lag WILL affect you in a way. I advise being realistic and thinking safety first – if you’re a super-aggressive starter, perhaps best to pull back on the reins a bit, be a touch more conservative, and see how you feel. You can lose the race in the first 2 minutes if you over-extend and fully blow-up, but a more conservative start will help you get your bearing, feel your legs out, and hopefully if things start to click, you can go on to race fully to your potential and be inspired to race at high-level because you’ve done all these micro-steps along the way to make it happen…

As I always say, success is not one or two big done right. Success is doing a million things right – this is what makes big things happen. Always remember that…

Add compression socks.

Training Article By: Kenneth Lundgren | Saturday, March 28th, 2015