Running While Traveling: The Series

Introducing a new series called: Running While Traveling

As I travel I’ll be making posts on where to run, favorite paths, and tips and tricks to the particular city. I’ll be sure to include running routes, recommendations and things to see. I’ve kicked off the series with…..

Long story short – I travel extensively. My brother’s a pilot (he’s single ladies!) and my fiancé works for an airline. So I do get some flight perks. In addition, I personally have always loved travel and intertwined it into my work. For my Master’s I focused on Global Health and have spent summers living in Ecuador. In present time, I find myself on an airplane at least once a month and like to keep up my training no matter where I am.

View of Mt. Hood right outside of Portland, Oregon

Why go on a run while on vacation or on a work trip? This is an excellent question. There are definitely times and places to strictly not work out. Life is about way more than getting a run in! For example, these are times I don’t run: day trips, romantic getaways, work trips where I’m working sunset to sundown, locations where safety is an important consideration.

For these posts, I’ll be focusing on the positives, the places and occasions to get out there and get a run in. Reasons I like to get a run in on the road:

  • I try my best to stick to a training schedule when I’m training specifically for an upcoming race
  • Going on a run is hands down my favorite way to explore a city!
  • Running is part of a fitness minded lifestyle – with frequent travel it’s great to maintain fitness habits and to not fall into a trap of having a ‘treat yourself’ mindset everywhere you go
  • I like to think of getting a workout in as my normal routine and skipping a workout as the ‘non normal’ – this helps mentally to stay fit and to acknowledge that this is part of who I want to be, a healthy individual
  • Life is about balance and staying healthy balances out the indulgences of new foods and long bouts of sitting while on flights, trains, etc
  • After a long flight my legs get very antsy to move and stretch

Let’s get into some general guidance for going on a run in a new city. This doesn’t have to be for a vacation – if work is sending you to Dallas for a conference you might want to get a run in! Any place that is new to you can use some forethought and reminders.

  1. Plan your route before you head out the door. It will be unfamiliar territory and the best thing to do is have a plan. This includes the rough distance you would like to cover, the average amount of time this takes you. I always allot a buffer amount of extra time needed to complete a workout. You never know when you’ll take a wrong turn and need to go back a block, you might slow down due to elevation changes you were unaware of, or if you are like me, you might find a bagel shop on your way back that you just have to try
  2. Account for the weather – it will likely be different that you are used to. Check not only the temperature but also the humidity level
  3. Check the elevation – not only of the starting point but also the elevation changes along the route. It might be surprisingly hilly! Or a happy surprise that a beach town will have lower elevation than your typical running route at home
  4. Hydrate. If you’re away from home, most likely you are not in a typical daily routine. Hydration cannot be forgotten. If you’ve had a long flight you might be extra dehydrated. The rule of thumb is to check your restroom usage for that non-yellow color 😉
  5. Safety – see below
View of a random lake flying into Managua, Nicaragua

Safety: this one is perhaps the biggest and most difficult to assess in a general blog post. I don’t run where I don’t feel safe. People have different comfort levels and there are a variety of factors to keep in mind:

  • Where you are – I’ve gone on runs in rural developing countries and have felt safer than in bustling major cities. A good gauge is to think about if there are locals that go on a run in the culture/location. If there are other people exercising, you won’t stick out. If you’re the only one, it’s not ideal
    • City Example: People run in Chicago all over the place. It’s a running city! In contrast, Mexico City is another large bustling metropolis, but you don’t see people running down the streets. I’ve traveled a lot to Mexico City and not once have I gone on a run
  • I tend to only run in new locations when there is sunlight
  • I refrain from wearing spandex in new locations – unless I’m on the beach. New locations call for my old baggie T-shirts and checking that I’m not drawing attention to myself
  • Take into consideration your size and general perception to a stranger. I am a female standing at 5 foot 1 inch and 100 pounds. I don’t play around in acknowledging that I am very much an easy target. Past experiences have made me even more cautious. Be honest with yourself and don’t take chances
  • Don’t cary anything you don’t need! An easy way to feel better about any potential pickpocketing or robbery is to have absolutely nothing on you. I’ll usually keep an ID or key in a hidden pocket. But there is no need for money in excess of what could purchase a ticket back to the hotel or a bagel on the way back
  • Have confidence! Think about it – a confident person getting a workout in alongside where a local might be doing the same, has no reason for fear. You are succeeding in being an active individual who cares about your health. You’ve got this!

Please feel free to shoot me any questions – I’d love to help out any way I can. Throughout this series, for each location I’ll be sure to include some favorite things. Going on a run is my absolute favorite way to explore a new city – it provides a perspective that just can’t be beat. If you’re planning a trip or are unsure about going for a run somewhere – please reach out. I’d love to help. Safety is important. It’s also important to have confidence, be who you are as an individual, and be able to go for a run if you like. The world is a grand place and we are so lucky to be a part of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *