Some simple steps taken before, during and after a flight to a new destination can help minimize any adverse effects of your travel.

Travel is an exciting part of your race season, however it can also pose challenges for athletes trying to stay race-ready. Long distance flights and changing time zones can cause conflicts in circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles, and for many athletes, this leads to jet lag. “Jet-lag” is a condition which results from alterations between the internal ”body clock” and external “time clock”. Symptoms can be quite varied, depending on the change of time zone, time of day, and individual differences, but common complaints include:

From the list of symptoms, one can easily see how jet lag can seriously hinder your athletic performance. Beyond the endurance and power needed in triathlon, the mental disturbances in concentration and fine motor skills cannot be overlooked.

How can we minimize these problems and have the athletes training or competing at an optimal level as soon as possible after flight travel? Some simple steps taken before, during and after a flight to a new destination can help minimize any adverse effects of your travel.

Pre-flight

On the flight

After arrival

Thank you to Lauren Babineau for her contribution to this article.

This article originally appeared on Trainingpeaks.com.

Lance Watson, LifeSport head coach, has trained a number of Ironman, Olympic and age-group Champions over the past 30 years. He enjoys coaching athletes of all levels.