I am a bit of a hypocrite in writing this. My intention was to go out on my vacation last week, bring along my gear, do a couple “on the road” runs through interesting and unfamiliar landscapes, and report back here with some quasi-useful advice on how to “git’er-dun” while out travelling. Instead, I got sick and not only did I miss my running opportunties as I hobbled around the province on a near-zero energy vacation march, I didn’t even have the motivation to write the blog post about it.
But I’m back. I’m feeling much improved. I’ve been out for a couple solid runs since returning (albeit back at home) and I already made my five-point list. So, the (slightly delayed) “week of lists” continues with some tips on getting out running while your out exploring the world.
1 = Map Routes Ahead
Technology here in 2012 is amazing for runners. We have so many tools at our finger-tips that to ignore them for their planning potential would be a monumental mistake. The bounty of mapping software available online — tools like RunningMap.com or any “google maps pedometer” tool — let you zoom into your upcoming destination and not only plot out some of your own routes nearby a hotel (or wherever you’re staying) but often let you search out local routes saved by other users. We carry so much tech with us when we travel that I just save these for later reference, but printing off a few potential routes along your travel path will get you one step further to the front door of your hotel.
2 = Find a Vacation Race or Group
Even better than building your own route is to join someone else’s. All across Canada, for example, you’ll find various Running Room stores (no affiliation — I’ve just been running with them for five years now and think it’s a great program) with their Wednesday evening or Sunday morning runs. I’m sure other running stores have similar gigs going on — and probably websites to help you locate that information. Even better, travelling in the summer and over a weekend, you can almost always find a local race. In Edmonton we have hundreds of races each year. I could run a race every weekend. And travelling? Well, not only do you get your run in, but you’d probably get a souvenir shirt as well.
3 = Share Your Schedule and Plan an Activity for Your Travel Companions
Unless you’re travelling alone, you’ll likely have some other folks with you. Slipping on your shoes and disappearing for a couple hours might even help with the long-lasting harmony of otherwise close-quarters travelling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be nice and at the very least (a) let others know well in advance of your running plans, and (b) come up with a few suggestions for what they could do while you’re out and about. In fact, giving travelling companions an alternate activity tends to have the bonus effect of ensuring they don’t feel like they’re giving you the shaft visiting some local attraction without you while you’re busy running. Plus make it a good enough alternative, and they’ll be kicking you out the door to make sure they don’t miss their thing.
4 = Don’t Be Afraid of Treadmills
I hate treadmills. No… really. I’ve tried running on a treadmill a few times — often for a couple sporadic months of wannabe training — and always it has been an epic failure. I could never get into it the same way that I get into the whole feet-on-asphalt genre of running. But not only does nearly every hotel I’ve stay at in recent memory have a treadmill, they are almost always free to use and a hop, skip and a jump from where you’re sleeping. So, my travelling (for work or pleasure) rule is that a run or two on a treadmill is a small price to pay for just getting a run in. Also, I can watch TV.
5 = Realize Your Routine is Already Broken
If you are a struggling runner-of-routine like me, charting your progress, logging your clicks, and measuring every metric of your training, going on vacation can seem to be a nightmare to this schedule. Nothing makes sense. You get up at weird times, you eat at strange points in the day, and you’re bedtime routine is completely out of whack. And, I’m sorry to tell you (if you haven’t already figured this out) this disruption is virtually unavoidable. So… embrace it. Deal with it. Get over it. Your routine is broken the minute you do up the zipper on your suitcase… all you can do it just make sure you pack your shoes.