Why You Need a Running Vacation

Two runners taking a selfie with a smartphone during a run

Runcations are the new (best) way to explore

Everyone loves a good vacation, but it’s not always easy to keep up with your running schedule while traveling. You’re in unfamiliar territory with no idea where to go. Maybe you’re tired from jet lag or maybe you just feel a little “off” from a change in your diet.

Ever considered a running-focused vacation? Whether it’s signing up for a destination race, running retreat or a multi-day adventure run package, a “runcation” might be exactly what you need.


Destination races make it easy to explore a new place with an already-planned run. Simply find a race in a place you want to visit, and plan a trip around it.

Why choose a race:

  • Motivation. A race is just what you need to jumpstart your training in the weeks and months prior to your event.

  • Your friends want to come, too. You’ll have a buddy at the expo, someone to ride race shuttles with and someone to take photos with in your finisher medals. Plus, splitting the cost of hotel rooms and rental cars helps everyone out.

  • Contribute to a good cause, and maybe get some perks. Many races offer opportunities to raise money for a charity in preparation for the event. It adds meaning to the race, and often unlocks registration discounts and other incentives.

  • Celebrate your accomplishment. Many races have post-race festivities and events to help you celebrate. Plus, they usually offer travel tips to help you make the most of your destination.

A few destination races to check out:

Orcas Island 50 miler, marathon, half marathon (Orcas Island, WA)

Explore Moran State Park’s mountain lakes, singletrack trails and beautiful mountain views. The whole park is reserved for the race festival weekend, creating a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself at the race, then relax and explore the gorgeous island in the Pacific Northwest. The park offers camping, cabin rental and bunk housing accommodations.

Kauai Marathon and Half (Kauai, HI)

Run along a scenic coastline with views of stunning beaches, volcanic peaks and lush rainforests in Hawaii. Both road races start and finish in the picturesque Poipu resort community. Enjoy a finisher’s party with live entertainment and well-earned refreshments to celebrate your race.

Rock n Roll Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)

Whether you’re an elite looking for a fast field, or someone who wants a PR and a good party, Vegas delivers.You will run through the bright lights, and listen to musical entertainment all along the way through either a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon. Want to get married (or renew your vows) in a hurry? You can do it along the 5K course, too. Seriously. It’s Vegas.


Want to run in a beautiful place while feeling inspired, rested and nourished? A running retreat is the trip for you! Most running retreats include wholistic schedules with scenic runs, inspirational workshops, yoga and delicious, nutritious meals. They’re also a place to go if you want to rub shoulders with the pros, many of whom host retreats like this.

Why a running retreat:

  • Leave your stress behind and simply run, relax and focus on rejuvenation.
  • Come away with fresh ideas to train smarter and recover better.
  • Expand your running network. Retreats are often limited to small groups, which opens the opportunity to create deep connections with other attendees.
  • Find more flow in running to bring back to your everyday life.

Retreats to check out:

Trail Sisters Run With Her (Boulder, CO)

Run With Her is a female-only retreat with guided runs on Boulder trails. Workshops focus on injury prevention, nutrition and wilderness awareness. It includes yoga sessions designed for runners, and catered meals by Boulder’s number one athlete chef, Kelly Newlon. Accommodations are in the rustic, yet modern Boulder A-Lodge, with excellent trail access. Plus, the group prides itself on an inclusive and non-intimidating environment for learning and relationship building.

Running with the Bruces (Flagstaff, AZ)

The four-day running camp in Flagstaff is hosted by professional runners and couple Stephanie and Ben Bruce. Learn from the experts about optimizing your nutrition, recovery and mental game in training and racing. Run on beautiful trails in Flagstaff, with a day trip to Sedona. Accommodations are in a local hotel, and meals are mostly on your own. The camp is open to runners of all levels, age 21 and up.

Run Wild Running Retreat (Multiple locations across the globe)

Running Wild Retreats provides a retreat blended with a running vacation for various levels and abilities. Experience a mix of exploration in nature and the city. The company offers retreats all over the world including Iceland, Spain, Italy and the Southwestern US. While most of the retreats are for women, a few co-ed options exist.


Want to go someplace amazing and simply run day after day while someone follows you with your gear? Try a guided tour to experience a running adventure while someone else does the planning.

Why a multi-day running adventure package:

  • Forget about PRs and top performances. Take in the beauty of your surroundings and the joy of traveling on foot.
  • Get to know your destination in a more authentic way from the perspective of a local guide.
  • No planning stress or time spent figuring out where to go.
  • Bring what you want (after all, trip hosts carry it all!).
  • Escape the crowds, and explore territory you likely would never have found yourself.
  • Bond with travel partners by taking on a challenge together.

Running adventure packages to explore:

Rogue Expeditions (Multiple areas, South Africa)

Explore South Africa while running on singletrack trails and dirt roads with sweeping mountain views, colorful coastlines and no shortage of wildlife. After running, try a new adventure like kayaking on the river or taking a safari. The package includes meals, eight nights of stays in hotels and guesthouses and guided runs from six to 20 miles with a group of 10 to 12 people.

Run the World Adventures (Multiple villages, Guatemala)

Explore Guatemala as you run from village to village with incredible views more than 5000 feet above sea level. After morning runs, explore Mayan Culture in historic sites. Go paddling on a local lake, learn to make tortillas by hand, relax with a massage and sit in a wood-fired hot tub. Travel dates are flexible, and accommodations are in hotels. 55 miles of running over six days.

Wine Country Trekking (Sausalito to Point Reyes, California)

This five-day experience offers three days of planned running from one destination to the next while staying in premier lodging and exploring charming towns. Cover nine to 10 miles per day, and enjoy options for fine dining in restaurants each night. Start in the historic village of Sausalito, and run across the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to the village of Muir Beach. Descend into Muir Woods National Monument to run through the magical Redwood Forest, then down the Dipsea Trail. Get transported to Limantour Beach for a final run/hike through national park, and into the small historic town of Olema. Relax in a rustic lodge and enjoy an organic artisan meal from local farms.

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.