If you are new to the Right Fits- welcome! Did you hear about the Right Fits via my interview with Twin Cities in Motion? Yay!
So to fill you in, I’m a Minneapolis girl on a temporary assignment in Singapore for work. I am training for the Tokyo marathon while I am here.
I am by no means an expert traveler, but I do feel like I recovered pretty quickly from the jet lag from traveling 24 hours and adjusting to a 14 hour time difference between Minneapolis and Singapore.
Based on my experience, I would like to share some tips for adjusting from jet lag. I have a lot of friends back home who are running international marathons in 2015 (and I will be too- Tokyo 2/22/15) so I hope some of my tips help you during your future travels.
Tip 1. Sleep on the plane.
This is vital. For me, this meant bringing a cozy sweatshirt to use as an extra pillow. It meant paying up for economy plus for leg room (or business class if you can afford it!) Sleep also means a pair of noise-cancelling headphones like mine from BOSE.
These are a traveler’s lifesaver in my opinion. I can block out the world and sleep quite well wearing these.
I am not against trying a sleeping medication, though I actually didn’t do so on my trip from the US; many people swear by these.
Tip 2. Don’t drink alcohol.
I know. Its very tempting to have a glass of wine (or two, or three) with your meals since its free on international flights, but it really helps if you don’t. Now, I’m not going to lie. I DID have a glass or two along the 24 hour journey, but I realize that there was no point really. It only dehydrated me.
Tip 3. BUT DRINK SO MUCH WATER.
Now, I know that this can interrupt tip #1. How can you sleep if you’re getting up to pee every hour? However, I think the benefits of hydration outweigh sleep. I bring a full Nalgene and an extra bottle or two that I buy at the airport and then I drink water every time its offered as well. I go a little crazy, but that dry airplane air really dehydrates me.
Tip 4: Fake it until you make it.
When you arrive at your destination, pretend you are on the right time. By this I mean go to bed in your destination at a normal bedtime even if you’re not tired. Just lay there and be bored. MAYBE read a book, but do not work on your computer or watch TV. I arrived in Singapore around 1 am. I went right to bed even though I wasn’t tired.
Tip 5: AND THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL . Get up and go for a run.
I strongly feel that getting up every morning to run has helped me adjust quickly.
Even though I didn’t arrive in Singapore until late, I still set my alarm and got up early to go for a run even if it meant compromising my sleep the first night. Sure, by the end of that first day, I was so ready for bed, but I made it until around 9 pm and then crashed.
The next morning- same 5 am alarm and a run. By that night, I was sleeping pretty soundly, with only a brief wake-up.
Tip 6: If you do wake-up in the middle of the night, don’t look at your phone!
This was really hard for me not to do, mostly because due to the time difference, my family and friends were emailing and texting during my night. I was using my phone as my alarm so it was hard not to see the texts. I turned off the notifications during my night and just used the alarm function.
Another huge benefit of running right away when I arrived was the ability to explore and discover my surroundings. There’s so much to be gained from that first early morning run: the feeling of accomplishment afterwards, the detox from the plane food, the opportunity to shake out your legs, and a chance to explore your new surroundings! There is another person from our Minneapolis office who is here in Singapore for work. He is not a runner and I feel like he hasn’t explored at all. A big part of the difference between our experiences so far has been that I have been able to see so much by running. I understand the layout of the land pretty well, whereas he has been sticking much closer to the apartment. Running has really helped me explore while I’m here.
How long will it take to adjust?
Some researchers say that it may take up to five days to fully adjust to a new time zone. I think I was basically fully adjusted by the third day and I strongly feel that the morning exercise played a HUGE part in my adjustment.
Tip 7: Don’t expect the runs to be easy…
Lauren Fleshman did a post on her blog about jet leg where she said you can’t expect the same running paces as you adjust. I know that it took my body awhile to feel normal when running here. I thought it was just the heat and humidity but I bet part of it was my circadian rhythm was way off as well. I have noticed even now it takes me a mile or so to get “warmed-up” and settle into my normal easy pace. Go easy on yourself those first few days. Don’t expect the same paces you hit back home to be there right away.
Any other tips for adjusting to a significant time difference? Please share!
I would love to hear more advice for my trip back to the U.S. as well as my future trip to Tokyo.