Vacation Running: How to Enjoy a New City on the Run
While many girls pack multiple pairs of heels and cute shoes for vacation, I make room for my running shoes. Vacation running is a must for me on any trip, whether it’s going home for the holidays or abroad. I’ve had many wonderful experiences – and only a few bad! – and look at vacation running as much more than getting a workout in; it’s an interactive way to discover the world around you!
Here are my 4 tips to have a safe and successful run in a new city:
Even an hour flight or 5 hour drive is going to change your weather conditions. I like to check in on where I’m traveling to the whole week before to see what the highs and lows are at different times so I know how I’ll want to dress for a run. Remember, you’ll want to dress like it’s 15-20 degrees warmer than it is so you don’t overheat.
Running in Istanbul!
The longer the trip, the higher chance of things changing. Pack an extra layer or rain jacket in case of pop-up storms or temperature drops you didn’t anticipate. Running gear now is so fashionable, you most likely have a number of pieces that can work for a run or sightseeing. Pack as many options that you can that will serve as both.
Map it Out
Before you go, check out the area you are staying on Map My Run to create your own routes and look at saved routes of others. I like to check the neighborhood I am staying in as well as hot tourist spots that could make for a solid sightseeing run.
My favorite route in DC, where I would stay for conferences once a year, was a 5 mile route that took me by Arlington Cemetery, the WWII Memorial, and the Lincoln Monument. I had gotten my workout in and seen some major sites all before our 9am meeting!
You can map your own route to check distances between locations, and look at other users’ runs to get ideas of good routes. If you are very unfamiliar with an area I definitely recommend zooming in and using the map feature to get an idea of the landscape. You don’t want to be on a run and it turns out your route by the river is actually a parking lot. Don’t forget your camera to capture the views!
Meet the Locals
If you’re flying solo, or in one city for an extended period of time, check out local running groups. Many stores – like Fleet Feet, Nike, and Lululemon – offer weeknight and weekend morning group runs for free that anyone can join. This way you’re not only meeting new people and getting a better sense of the running community there, you’re not having to plan your route.
If you prefer to run alone, ask the front desk if they know good places to run, or mention it when meeting new people. We were at a dinner in Hawaii on our honeymoon and I got to talking with our waiter about running and he tipped me off on a beach spot I shouldn’t miss and told me how to get there from our hotel.
San Fransisco run
When running in an unfamiliar place, safety becomes an even higher priority. No one knows you there and you don’t have a firm grasp on your surroundings. This would be that bad experience I was talking about. In Mexico, I went on what was explained to me as a cul-de-sac looped neighborhood.
In truth, it was, but it wasn’t a perfect circle and there were a number of offshoots and landscaping obscuring the correct path. Needless to say, my 3-4 mile run turned into an hour and a half hike in the hot sun and ended with an understanding cabbie who let me pay him when he dropped me at the house we were staying (which I am embarrassed to say, didn’t know the address of).
Take your phone, some cash, and the address of your hotel incase any number of things happen.
Lake Jackson, GA run
Above all, keep it light and fun! Vacation running is more vacation than running (unless you’re training for an event which I totally understand!) so don’t feel bad for being a tourist, stopping to take photos as you go. This is a way to explore more of the city in less time and have the endorphins flowing as you go. Plus, it instantly makes you look and feel like a local!