On a recent trip to North Carolina, I was reminded how easily travel can affect my running routine—my hydration, nutrition and sleep were all affected simply by being in a new place. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, I also had to think more carefully about when, where and how I would run. Foolishly, I did little to plan ahead, and wound up running alone, on a rather boring stretch of road.
Here are some resources I should have utilized:
The Running Blog Family
A simple post on my blog about my travel plans *before* the trip would have garnered at least one response from a runner who lived near the city I was visiting. I lost the chance to not only meet up with another RBF member, but to also get inside information on where to run. If you don’t have a blog, there are various online running forums that could provide the same type of local connection.
Local Running Club
An internet search for running clubs in the area, or a call to a local running store will probably generate at least one contact name. Some running stores host weekly runs, so be sure to ask!
If you are traveling to visit non-running friends/family, be sure to ask them if they know any runners: from work, neighbors, church, gym, etc. Even if this person doesn’t run with you, they can give you advice about where to run.
If you are staying in a hotel, the staff can usually point you in the right direction for access to an interesting running route. For example, a couple of years ago while vacationing in Florida, the front desk staff directed me to a road that ran parallel to the ocean. I had an unforgettable run, watching the waves crash on to the beach as seagulls swooping down to grab a snack.
Most hotels also have at least one treadmill in their “fitness center” which will be useful if you discover that your lodgings are in a less-than-desirable part of town.
Plot Your Own Route
Use Web sites like MapMyRun.com or gmap-pedometer.com to plot out your own course. (Consider reviewing your route with someone from the area to make sure the roads still exist and are in “safe” areas.)
Can’t stand the thought of running inside but not crazy about running on unfamiliar roads or trails? Or perhaps you have a speed workout planned? Then be sure to find out the location of the local track—middle school, high school, university.
Local Gym/Fitness Center
If all else fails, there is always the local gym and the trusty treadmill (or indoor track). While this may not be the most fun option, if you are uncomfortable running with strangers or have limited time available, this will insure that your run happens.
Finally, Just Relax!
Unless you are in the middle of training for a big race or major event, give yourself permission to be flexible with your running while you are away from home. Travel doesn’t have to disrupt our schedules but we can also try new things while we are away from home—run barefoot on the beach, go kayaking, go swimming, or skip the taxi and walk around to explore!