Plan Ahead to Get Your Run in On Vacation

A woman runs on a trail next to a river

When you’re on a roll with your training, you don’t want travel to get in the way of your progress. Running on vacation is a perfect way to explore a new area, burn off extra calories from eating out and take time away for yourself.

The key to running on vacation is to plan ahead. Here are some things to consider before you go away.

A group of runners stretches before a workout

Be flexible

You won’t have the convenience of home (adherence to your usual schedule, access to your favorite trail or track), and that’s OK. Decide to run (with schedule modifications if needed), and you will feel much better about your choices. If you have a running coach, inform her of your plans and ask about modified workouts that you can do anywhere.

If you don’t have a coach, take a look at your schedule and your location, and decide on the days that make sense to do a longer run, a speed workout or some other specific training. Fill in the other days as you can, and allow yourself to take some time off, or active recovery as needed.

Perhaps a long walk on the beach or around the city is the perfect way to exercise while giving yourself a breather from your normal training. You won’t lose fitness from a few modifications. When you can get a run in, use it as a pleasant escape and means of seeing a new place on your own two feet. Take the pressure off and you will have more fun.

Inform your travel companions that running is a priority

Whether you are traveling with family, friends or colleagues, make sure they know that you need to schedule some time to run.

Give yourself more time than you think you need to accommodate for wrong turns or stopping to take photos. Everyone needs time to meet their own needs on vacation. Perhaps your fellow travelers will appreciate a break in the schedule as well and use it for their own personal needs.

Search out places to go ahead of time.

While this time is important to you, be courteous of your fellow travelers. As much as possible, figure out where you want to go before you get there so you don’t spend an hour looking up running paths when you could already be out the door.

Pick lodging in good running areas.

You may not have control of your lodging, but if you do, choose it with running in mind.

If there are two hotels to choose from and one is right off of the greenway, pick the one that will make running quick and convenient. You will be much more likely to get your runs in if a trail is easily accessible.

If your lodging has a gym, the treadmill is a great option if the weather is bad, time is tight or the area is difficult to run in.

A runner wears a pair of goodr sunglasses during a summer workout

Schedule your run into the day, and when possible, do it first thing

You’re more likely to get your run in if you do it before the rest of the day begins. When traveling you are likely to eat things that won’t agree with your system or walk around all day to exhaustion. Do your run first thing, and it will be a non-issue.

Set yourself up for success. Bring the essentials.

It goes without saying that you need to pack running shoes and athletic clothes if you plan to run. Even if you pack light, make sure you don’t skimp on the things you need to have a comfortable run.

If you’re at the beach, protect yourself from the sun; bring a hat, running sunglasses and sunscreen. If coffee is a personal pre-run requirement, set up the coffee pot the night before. Stick to your daily routine as much as you can on vacation, and you will likely feel much better.

Don’t wear your running shoes for everything else

Even if you have the best running shoes in the world, don’t make them your all-purpose shoes. Give your feet (and your shoes) a break by switching out walking and running shoes on your trip.

Variety feels good on your body and your shoes need time to dry out and decompress. What’s more, a different climate can bring unexpected changes in the way familiar fabrics feel on your body. If you live in the desert and travel to a humid location you may be surprised how long your shoes or clothes take to dry. Give your body and your gear a break. Variety is your friend.

Have fun!

You’re on vacation! Relax. Running is important, but so is rest. Plan ahead to run when you can, but if the day gets too busy or weather spoils your plans, don’t sweat it. Enjoy your time away and try again tomorrow. A missed run or two isn’t the end of the world.

By Kate Schwartz. Schwartz has been running competitively for 20 years, and she currently runs with the Asheville Running Collective. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband, Alex, and their cat, Clementine.

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