Tales of a traveling trainer: Tips for running on the road
My calendar is a little booked these days. The last few months have seen a flurry of visits from friends and family, trips to the beach, flights to visit my parents and quick weekend getaways.
I’m not complaining – I’m quite grateful my summer has been filled with guests, entertainment and sunshine. And I’m blessed to have the means to travel. It’s just that often my voyages come at the expense of my marathon training.
Each time, I promise myself I will get up and go run before my 6:30 a.m. flight; I’ll carve out an hour or two to run when I have visitors in town; I’ll convince my traveling companions to incorporate running into the agenda. Alas, these things rarely happen.
Still, it’s not impossible to coordinate training and travel schedules. Here are a few tips when it comes to running while you’re on the road or entertaining guests.
Plan. This sounds obvious, but actually going out and running is much easier if you’ve planned which day you’ll do it, where and how long you have to run. Know which days you’ll have the energy to run and what time of day works best. And be prepared to get up early. That seems to be the best time for me to actually do my run and get out ahead of what can be busy days.
Also, if I’m in a new city, I try to research places that are runner-friendly such as trails or parks in the area.
Pack. Make sure you take your running shoes, socks, GPS watch and any other appropriate apparel when you’re traveling. Think about an extra layer too – just in case you’re visiting a chilly destination.
And be realistic – don’t take four running outfits if you’re only going to (truthfully) run once. No need to pack more than you’ll use. (Although I’ve never applied that to any other aspect of my packing technique – I’m away for three days? Better bring half my closet.)
Communicate expectations. I’m often guilty of this when I’m traveling or entertaining guests – I want to go out for a six-mile run, but my companions have a different idea of how the day should go. A museum visit, dinner reservations or “quality time” may overlap with the time I intended to run. It’s best to let your fellow nomads or visitors know what day and when you will be unavailable. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request – and it may even motivate others to get out and run with you!
Consider safety. If you’re in a new city, be mindful of safety always. Run in well-lit areas and consider recruiting a buddy.
Utilize hotels. Check if your hotel has a fitness center and a treadmill. No fitness center? Running stairs can be a good workout, too!
Make running part of the destination. Try a run-cation! There are tons of wonderful cities around the world that host races – so plan your trip around a race, or scope out if there are any 5Ks or 10Ks with available registrations scheduled for the time you may be there.
I’ve planned loads of trips around fun half-marathon races. I find it’s a wonderful way to see a city and log some training miles, too.
Do long runs before you depart. It’s OK to adjust your training schedule and push your long run to before or after you leave. I’d rather get in a long run a day or two before than not at all.
Be realistic and enjoy your vacation. Training for a marathon is a commitment and should be taken seriously, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not training exactly by the books. Run when you can, and remember to enjoy yourself.
I’ve had a few too many instances where I got down on myself for not running as many miles or days as I should have during a trip … but I enjoyed an experience instead. I’d rather have memories of that than logging treadmill miles in a dingy hotel by myself.
What tips do you have for traveling and training? Share them with me – and bon voyage!