Written by Lauren MacDonald
Running while traveling
I travel relatively often for my job; I’m away from home at least a week every month. When I’m on a business trip or even a vacation, I find that it can be hard to find the motivation, time, energy or inclination to run. But I’ve begun to gather a few tips and tricks that make running while traveling just a little easier.
Since most travelers tend to only pack an overhead bag nowadays, space is at a premium in your bag. Packing running clothes for every day will only frustrate you and is most likely unnecessary. When I’m traveling, I bring 1-3 sets of running clothes with me and my lightest pair of sneakers. There are times I will be gone for more than a week and I’ve still found just 3 sets of clothing to be adequate. I’m always careful to lay out clothes immediately after I run in them to let them air dry so that I can use them again (either later in the week or even the next day). While you might not smell the best, it’s better than over packing and being charged a checked bag fee!
Avoid workouts and long runs—explore instead
Whenever possible, avoid workouts and long runs. I am usually able to work my training schedule so that all I really have to do when I’m traveling is get out there. If you have to do a workout (or a long run), it requires a lot more planning and I’ve yet to have a good workout when traveling. Instead, when I’m traveling, I try to use my runs to explore the city I’m in. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend running down alleyways, but using a run as a way to see more of the city is enjoyable and will motivate you.
Ask the locals
Some hotels (Westin, Loews, just to name a few) actually have suggested running routes for their guests. Even if the hotel, you’re staying in doesn’t have a recommended route, it can’t hurt to ask the concierge, front desk person, your waiter at dinner or anyone else you might run into. Us runners are friendly, if you ask around, you’re sure to find someone who can suggest something! If all else fails, crowd source from social media—a Facebook friend may have visited before or have relatives in the area who can recommend a great path or trail for you.
Visit a local running store
There are Fleet Feet stores ALL OVER the United States so check and see if there's one in the town you're visiting. And, if there’s no Fleet Feet nearby, a quick google search might lead you to another specialty running store. Many stores, just like Fleet Feet, have free runs that they lead from their stores or nearby landmarks. When I lived in DC, the local Fleet Feet had a map of the Rock Creek Park trails that we would give out to visitors—with instructions on how to access them! Just like your waiter or concierge, the employees at the store might be able to give you a tip or two on some great routes nearby.
Running while traveling can be difficult, but despite the difficulties, it can also be immensely rewarding when you discover a new area and see a city from a different perspective. Plus, the best part about running is that we can do it anywhere, even while on the road.
Lauren MacDonald recently moved back to the Syracuse area. She was a local runner in high school.