Similar to a post I wrote about on Walking the Last Mile, this post is about getting to know the area you are staying on your travel and making the most of your trip.
When traveling, running (Or Walking) is an activity that many people gravitate to as it is quite easy, doesn’t require a lot of additional gear, and can be done nearly anywhere, anytime. All you need is a decent pair of running or walking shoes, and the appropriate clothing for the climate in the local you will be in.
As I have written about in several previous posts, Preparation will be required to make the most of your trip. It really doesn’t take a lot of additional work to make the most of your trip, but just a small bit of effort can reap large benefits to your training.
So, how do you prepare?
Research your location and look for local parks, trails, or even running or walking clubs.
One of the first things you’ll want to research as you prepare is the expected Weather at your destination. We all know that weather can be extremely unpredictable and forecasts unreliable, but at least know the basics. Will it be warm enough that you can run in shorts and T-shirt? Or is it the beginning of the cold season and you’ll need some warmer running gear.
What about a hat and gloves? If it’s full on Winter in your destination and you still want to run outdoors (I personally prefer to run outside when it’s cold) then you’ll need the appropriate gear for this. Cold weather running clothing is pretty lightweight these days and a hat and pair of gloves can make the trip much more pleasant.
This is a tip I learned from personal experience. I have taken more than one trip over my years of business travel and had a few let’s stay unpleasant runs due to my lack of preparation.
On the flip side of this, I have had many great runs in freezing weather and pouring rain, all because I was prepared.
With the right gear, and some careful planing, running outside in nearly any weather is possible.
Once you have a good idea of what gear you need to bring, now you should start to consider what route or routes you can take.
My first and favorite option is running in local parks!
Nearly every city in the world has local parks. Many of these parks of have walking and or running paths. Do a quick bit of research and see how near or far these parks are from your hotel? Even better, if you haven’t booked your hotel yet, look for one close to the park or trail that you want to explore!
Mapping and GPS technology today is fantastic and something that we can use as Fitness enthusiasts to help us achieve our goals.
In addition to using technology, I always go ‘old school’ and ask the hotel staff. Either call them ahead of time, or ask upon checking in. Do they know of any great local running routes, trails, or groups. Sometimes you can even get lucky (As happened to me once in Paris) and the person you are asking is a runner and will know some great routes.
As an aside, this happened to me in Paris one time, the guy at the front desk of my hotel was local and a runner. He offered to let me join him on a local run in the evening sometime. I gladly accepted and had a fantastic evening run through Paris and round the base of the Eifel Tower! 🙂
There are numerous apps that can help you locate Parks and Trails, just a few minutes of preparation and research can help you find a fabulous route to take and one where you can possibly learn a bit about the area you’re in.
In addition to the apps that can help you find local Parks and Trails, there are numerous running apps out there that will allow you to research and area, look for pre-defined routes (Most of these are Crowdsourced), and download them to your phone. There are a few that will even work ‘offline’ so you don’t need to incur an expensive Data charge while traveling. Some of the apps will even provide voice navigation with turn by turn directions as you run!
My favorite of the running apps (At the moment as I use several different ones) is RunGo.
Another very important consideration that you need to take into account is the safety of the area you will be in.
Every city, no matter how safe and popular, has certain areas that can be a little more dangerous than others. When traveling, make sure you take a few minutes out of your preparation and research to focus on the safety of the area you’ll be in.
Don’t get too paranoid with this, but do make certain that you take your safety into account in your research.
Local Running Clubs
There’s nothing better for motivation and local knowledge than connecting with running friends or meeting up with a group run in the area. A quick bit of research can help you identify if there is a club or meet up in the area you’ll be and if it’s possible to join them for a run.
This is a great way to meet new friends, learn new routes and keep your motivation up.
Let others know where you are!
If you do go out alone in an unfamiliar locale, be safe and let others know where and when you’ll be. This can be as simple as telling the staff at the hotel, or the concierge where you’ll be and when to expect you back.
Most running apps and phones will also allow you to share your location with friends and family. Use the live-tracking feature of the apps, both as a motivator to your followers and as a precaution for your own safety.
Running while on travel is a fantastic way to help you main your fitness routine, learn about the local area where you’ll and possibly even make some new friends.
It needn’t be difficult, just a little preparation, creativity and diligence.