You know that feeling when you’re on a week-long vacation without a worry in the world? Your responsibilities dissolved the moment you stepped onto the plane, your work worries were left behind, and your running sneakers will still be there when you get back.
I’m a firm believer in vacations. Real vacations. The kind of vacation that is work-free, worry-free, and workout-free. There are times that I find myself on the road and away from home for weeks or months at a time and, if I stop running all together while I’m gone, oh boy! You bet that I can notice when I get home and lace up my sneakers.
If you’re a runner and you are country hopping in eastern Europe, drinking tequila sunrises on the beach in Mexico, or eating your way through France (also wine), you can’t completely ignore your running while you’re busy having all of that fun.
You just can’t. Don’t.
I’ve come up with a few tips to help keep you on track with your running while traveling.
The main thing that’s going to screw up your running plan is if you get to your destination without your running shoes. You could buy new shoes but every runner knows it’s not that easy. You need to work those babies in! If you’re like me at all, you’ll also need a good set of headphones. Maybe seven good sets of headphones depending on how many you tend to lose or break (guilty!).
Another thing to consider when packing is the climate and terrain at your destination. City running in the winter is much different than trail running in the summer.
Chances are, if you’re traveling in or around a city or town, you’re going to be able to find a gym with a treadmill or an indoor track so check out the area online before you arrive. It wouldn’t hurt to reach out to a few gyms or recreation centers to find out how to get there, how to pay, or even just to know a name before showing up. If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s a win-win! There’s a good chance you’ll have access to a gym there.
Research Running Areas
If indoor tracks and treadmills don’t appeal to you, check out the outdoorsy section on the town website or simply Google for tracks in the area. There are a few websites, like Map My Run, that you can use to scope out some running trails that others have logged and saved.
Websites like MeetUp could also come in handy for finding other runners in the area who keen on some group training.
Download A Running App
No one wants to look back on their log of runs and say, “Oh right. I didn’t run for two months because I was too busy eating pasta every day in Italy”. Okay, I kind of want to say the pasta bit… but with logged runs as well!
Running apps are a great way to keep yourself motivated and dedicated to your running. I use Nike Run Club which is a free app that tracks how many kilometers I run, how long it takes, and keeps track of my average pace per kilometer. This is especially helpful when you’re working on your speed.
Be Kind To Yourself
Yes, I just gave four other ways to make sure you are prepared and motivated to run during travel and now I’m going to backtrack a little bit. I said at the beginning that I was a firm believer in work-free, worry-free, workout-free vacations and I mean it! Be nice to yourself!
Are you only gone a week? Is this your only vacation all year? Have you been working your ass off for months and the idea of skipping that mid-day margarita because you have to go running later kills you a little bit on the inside?
Maybe, in situations like that, just… screw it. You know?