Chris McCormack’s 12 top tips for the travelling triathlete

Two-time Ironman world champ shares his advice on fitting training into travel, and dealing with the stresses that all triathletes face when going long-haul

Chris McCormack on a MaccaX training ride

As a globe-trotting pro triathlete whose annual itinerary ranges from small islands in the Caribbean to Newport Pagnell, Australia’s Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack has learned a LOT about keeping sane when travelling.


Here he shares his top tips on fitting enough training into your schedule and staying in the best frame of mind when you’re always on the move…


If you’re obsessive about hitting miles and doing all your sessions, travel is going to kill you. Let your training targets go.


Running is the best bang-for-your-buck exercise. When I arrive at a hotel I’ll always go for a 30-40min jog.


Know where you’re going. Travel becomes more of a burden if you don’t plan accordingly. As professionals, we have to know our whereabouts because of drug testing.


Be realistic. You won’t embark on a three-hour ride straight after a 10-hour flight. By the time you’ve unpacked and built your bike, fatigue has set in. You don’t really know the roads and it’s just creating more stress.


Don’t use a heavy travel schedule as a crutch to blame a poor race on. Embrace it and look at the positives. It’s a chance for extra running or swimming, and get back into your routine when you’re back home.


I try not to eat any food served on the plane. I just take my own stuff and drink water, and if I’m travelling more and training less, I eat less than normal.


Use treadmills and indoor bike machines. People say they can’t train on those things but I’ll happily plonk myself on one of them and watch TV for an hour.


A jog is the best way to see a city and it’s also how I rediscovered my love for running.


Be mentally flexible. If you’re not, you’ll suffer more from the guilt attached to not training than any loss in fitness or form.


Prepare for jet lag prior to flying. I adjust my sleep patterns for the destination before I leave and run when I land, as it stops the delayed feeling of fatigue.


Arrive one day earlier for every hour of time difference. It’s not always possible, but that was my strategy when I raced abroad.


Take a road bike. It’s easier to pack than a TT bike!

(All images: JB, Specialized)


What’s your top tip for travelling as a triathlete? Let us know in the comments below!