taking a sailing vacation


My husband and I are getting ready to set sail shortly for a 10 day sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. While it sounds amazing, it is coming just at the beginning of my triathlete’s intensive training season. As you can imagine, there was much debate in our household over being able to do this trip at all with our friends and still be able to train for this season’s triathlons.

taking a sailing vacation

In my mind, there was no debate. I was not going to let him deny me this opportunity to go sailing in the Caribbean with good friends, just so he could train for a race. Seriously, I would go and hire crew to replace him and let him stay home. Hmmmm, perhaps that’s what I should have done. Time will tell…

So, faced with this dilemma, we were forced to address how to maintain triathlon training on vacation when it is REALLY difficult to do any training at all. We’ve written about how to survive vacations with a triathlete and generally, with a bit of effort and some compromise, getting in a good workout can be accomplished. This vacation is different, however. We will literally be on a sailboat most of the time with no access to a gym, maybe a road bike a few days, and while we certainly have access to a huge body of water, I’m not sure he’ll actually be able to do laps.

triathlon training on vacation

So, how do you get in workouts, but not just any workouts – we’re talking triathletes here – when your vacation location is less than cooperative? Since he agreed to go on the trip, I felt a bit of responsibility to help him get his training in and relieve some of his anxiety.

So, I started doing online research and then went to the only person I knew who could help; my husband’s coach. Between Matt, myself, and my triathlete, we managed to come up with a plan. Granted, the focus will be on a different type of workout, more strength training, but we all agree it will tide him over and since he’s been at this for a LONG time, he shouldn’t lose any progress…


Think paddle boarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. We will have easy access to at least the first two and this should provide an all around workout, with especially good upper body and core strength training. Active snorkeling will also give him a bit of a lower body workout with some heavy fin kicking involved. Plus, he undoubtedly will be able to get SOME laps in and we’re thinking at minimum, around the boat.

triathlon training on vacation


He will be doing some quick bursts of aerobic activity like running in place, using the stairs on the boat, or jumping jacks followed by push-ups or planks, even using the walls. On the sailboat, however, maintaining balance could become an issue, but hey, that only adds to the core workout! When we go ashore, he can get in a quick run while we’re shopping or having lunch or when we go exploring, we’ll rent some road bikes and while we’re taking a leisurely ride, he can zip ahead of us to get in more of a workout.

Exercise Bands

These will make for a great workout in a small space and are easy to transport. Plus, he can do most of the same exercises he does at home. Heck, I may even use these.

Mat Exercises

How tough will this be – putting a towel on the deck of a sailboat in the Caribbean and doing a series of ab crunches, bicycle crunches, planks, lunges, and tricep dips to name a few. He can throw in some mat pilates, including the famous “hundreds”, again for core work. Some yoga stretches will also be thrown into the mix.


We’re not sure if the TRX will work on our sailboat, but since it is easy to transport and lightweight, we’re going to bring it along. I found a great site, Zero to Cruising, that showed just how well TRX can work on board. I hope so, as it provides a great workout and he uses this at home.

At least I don’t have to worry about him having to get up early to workout and having to go to bed early to accomplish this and annoy his fellow travelers in the process. I think we’re all going to be in the same boat, both figuratively and literally! Spending a day in the sun PLUS being active should wipe all of us out. And, I know I don’t have to worry about him shrugging off a workout because it’s too much of a hassle…you know those motivated triathletes…

Be sure to follow my trip coming up in a few weeks. Check back on both the Triwivesclub and Momsgoodeats.

how to train for a triathlon on a sailboat

Have you taken a similar vacation where maintaining triathlon training proved to be a challenge? We’d love to hear how you worked out.