How to Run on Vacation
We’ve all been there, on vacation or traveling for work but needed to get a few training runs in. Most of the time we just end up doing loops near the hotel or taking the elevator to the hotel gym for a tour of the weight room via treadmill. Having travelled quite a bit I’ve learned the best and worst ways to run while on vacation. When I started to travel, the majority of my runs were of the “worst” category, but as time has passed I have found some good ways to discover enjoyable runs in the area that I am visiting. Here are my top 5 tips for running on vacation and avoiding a 30 to 60-minute slog on the treadmill or pounding pavement on crowded streets… blah.
1) Make the Time/Plan Ahead
Be sure to plan ahead and make running a priority on your vacation. If you want some good runs you’ll have to do a little leg work, pun intended. Be sure to carve some time into your trip. Whether it is before the big meeting or while the kids are still sleeping, finding some time and planning it out ahead of time is the first step in getting your runs in.
2) Google Map It!
Once you have a run planned, Google maps or Map my Run are a runner’s best friend. First, take a look at the “satellite” view of the area around your hotel. Look for bodies of water to see if there are bike paths around. Next, zoom out and look for wooded areas, often times there are tranquil trails through these areas that can be very cathartic. You are often a short jog away from finding a mountain trail or picturesque view makes for a wonderful run.
3) Ask some Locals (or check a search engine…)
If your map-check is fruitless it is time to consult local runners, or at the very least a quick search of the city name and its bike/running paths. If you’re looking for locals, drop by the local running shop. They are definitely the best people to ask about trails, paths, and venues in general. A good question to start with is, “What is your favorite X-mile run in the area?” I have found a ton of great parks and trails this way that I would never have explored otherwise.
4) Find a Race
Again, search engines are your friend. Most running store Web sites should have some sort of race calendar, ours is great for Kentucky and southern Ohio! Search for shorter road races that coincide with your trip. If you need a 3 mile run on a Saturday, jump into that local 5k and make it a training run. This can be a great way to keep you motivated and help you avoid the dreadmill doldrums.
My favorite thing about new cities is exploring. It’s like an Easter egg hunt. You get to run around, quasi aimlessly, and find some interesting things. I will admit this method can be awesome or awful. Usually it is best used in combination with the Map option from #2! But when you get a hit, you feel pretty accomplished for discovering something sweet.
So now we’re ready! Next time you go on vacation run down the vacation checklist and get ready for a great run.