Navigating Austin’s October Events as an Athlete

By Carrie Barrett – October 1, 2014
photo by Weston Carls

I've got good news and bad news. The good news: It's October, and Mother Nature has finally released her stranglehold of heat and humidity, making this one of Austin’s most perfect months for being outside on hills, trails, and tree-lined streets. Mornings are cooler, middays are downright pleasant, and even happy hours can, once again, be spent outside on decks and patios. 

Then, there's the bad news. It seems that everyone else has also figured this out, because October is also the month that brings hundreds of thousands of potential new residents (eeek!) who descend upon town for events: Formula One racing (Oct. 31–Nov 2), ACL Music Festival (Oct. 3–5, 10–12), and University of Texas football games. It's a dream come true for sports and music lovers around the world—and for those into being seen, this is your month. 

I can complain all I want while it's happening, but I'll be among the throngs (or even “thongs” in this town) riding my bike down to Zilker to check out some music. You may even see me get my horns up for a game or two. My advice for those who fret these disruptions to routine? Embrace them. These high-profile events make Austin what it is: alive, healthy, young, vibrant, and so dang cool. So plan to shake up that fitness routine and find creative ways to incorporate health and fitness into October’s events. Yeah, you may have to get creative, but creativity is another vein that makes this city pump with vitality. With this in mind, here are five creative ways to be a part of the action and still keep up that fitness regime. 

Hipster Reference? Drop and Gimme Five Burpees 

You may look a little bizarre at ACL, but that's what being at a music festival is all about, right? People may even think you're doing some interpretive dance to Lorde's “Royals.” You'll gain some serious muscles because I'm convinced burpees are the hardest exercise on the planet (next to pull-ups). 

Ride a Bike 

This one is a no-brainer for those events in town that don't have nearly enough space for car parking. There are bike racks as far as the eye can see outside ACL’s main gates, and Austin B-Cycles are increasing the number of stations, even installing some that are temporary and mobile on the UT campus and at other event locations. You’ll get a great workout as you head to the event on that commuter bike, and you'll look like the ultimate hipster. (Oops. Drop and give me five burpees). 

Cycling to the F1 races may prove a little more difficult and not nearly as cool as landing a private helicopter on the infield, but you will have burned some serious calories. Just make sure to bring earplugs and dismount before accidentally riding onto the track. While COTA does hold cycling and running races, this isn't one of them. 

Start Hydrating Now 

October is an ultra-marathon month of activities, so it's vital to be properly hydrating. I'm not saying you're going to overindulge in alcoholic beverages at any of these events, but let's face it; you might. Seriously—keep water at hand, and consume plenty of it on those dry, hot days. Drinks can go down as fast as an F1 car on a straight. Take it slow, and stay hydrated. 

Fartleks from Stage to Stage 

I suppose if you're going to be doing burpees at ACL, you may as well work in some fartleks, too. Heck, I think they even schedule the lineups so that you have to run from one stage to the next. Be careful of lawn chairs, festive flagpoles, and the thousands of people who don't care that you're trying to get 30 seconds in heart rate Zone 4. Get really creative and wear a pedometer or FitBit to see how many steps you can take in a day at Zilker Park. Heck—wear a heart rate monitor to see which artists give the best workout of the day. My money is on Eminem! 

Create a Home Routine

This may be a great time to pull out that treadmill or exercise bike that has been collecting dust. I have TRX bands that have been hanging in my bedroom door for a year; I walk by them every day. The plan was to do pull-ups and core work every time I entered my bedroom, but now I hardly even notice them (much less use them). There are a million things to do from the comfort of home. Pop in the old P90x DVDs or download yoga routines online. If you've got chairs, you can do tricep dips, step-ups, and push-ups. You don't need a single weight or piece of equipment to get in a total body workout from the comfort and silence of home. Plus, you don't have to come face to face with a hipster if you don't want to (oops—I did it again. Another hipster reference. Now, drop and give me five burpees, which can also be done at home whenever you want).

Be kind to those who are visiting, vow to stay healthy, and have a wonderful October in Austin. And, if F1, two weekends of ACL, Longhorn football, and—oh, yes—Halloween aren’t enough entertainment, just remember that the Fun, Fun Fun Music Festival and Wanderlust Yoga Festival will be here in November. 


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