For runners, holidays come with a dilemma - to run or not. There are many reasons not to run on holiday. For one, it’s a holiday, and for many people that means time off, relaxing and doing the bare minimum. If you usually follow a pretty gruelling training regime, it can also be a good time to take a rest week and let your body recover. However, running on holiday can also be one of the best parts of the journey. It gives you the opportunity to explore and see the sights in a different way, doing an activity normally reserved for the locals. If you’re getting bored with your usual training routes and schedules, it’s a good way to reignite your passion for the sport. One thing that stops many from running on holiday is the effort that it takes. You have to pack extra clothes, wake up early and work out where to run. If that’s the case for you, we have compiled some tips to make running on holiday as easy and stress free as possible.
Before packing your running gear, you should research the destination to see what sort of running you’re going to be doing. Are you going to a beach town, with long runs along the sand or flat runs along the coast? Are you going to a busy city, a city with parks, or one with narrow, hilly streets? Or are you going somewhere with access to trails and runs through nature? What is the weather like? What is the altitude? These are just some of the things to consider when preparing for your trip. Running on holiday can be a great time to explore new types of runs that you aren’t used to at home. If you’re from a flat city and are holidaying in the mountains, make the most of it by exploring the new environment. However, the destination will also affect what you pack. Make sure you have suitable shoes and clothing for the terrain. Bear in mind also that in your new circumstances you may not be able to run the same pace or distance you do at home. It can take the body time to adjust to new surroundings, especially after travelling long distances. Manage your expectations and enjoy the holiday run for the new experience it brings, rather than beating yourself up for not keeping up with your training plan.
When to Run
Fitting a run in on holiday can be difficult, especially if you have a lot of other plans. I would suggest running early in the morning for several reasons. Mornings tend to be quieter so you will avoid traffic and crowds that could disrupt your run. If you’re in a hot country, the morning is the best time to avoid the extreme sun. If you’re with family or friends, it’s also a good time to get your run in without disrupting your day together. You can get back in time to enjoy breakfast together and you may even have spotted a few nice sights to return to later.
Find local runners
The best way to run in foreign lands is to do as the locals do. You could do this by researching routes online or asking at your hotel. You could also find a local running shop or club and get some advice there. If there is a race in town you could take part and feel the atmosphere of the local running community. If you want to combine running with local insights and sightseeing, you should check if there are any running tours in the area. Go! Running Tours offer running tours in over 60 cities across the globe, with local guides showing the main attractions and hidden treasures of their cities.
Running in unfamiliar circumstances can throw up some complications that you don’t experience at home. However, with a little preparation you should be able to avoid any disasters. Step one - don’t get lost. Luckily, this is getting easier all the time. If you have roaming internet on your phone then bring it along and keep an eye on it. Make sure to save the name of your hotel so you can easily find your way back. If you’re without internet, then create your route on Google Maps when you have some Wifi and save it for offline use. If you’re not bringing a phone with you and you don’t speak the local language, write down the name of the hotel and bring it with you so you can ask for directions back.
It’s also important to take weather conditions into account. If you’re in a hot country make sure you are well hydrated before you set out and be sure to bring enough water with you. You should also apply sunscreen and wear a cap and sunglasses to protect you from the sun. In colder climes, wear layers, gloves and a hat, and be wary of icy conditions.
Finally, it’s important to know if the area you plan to run in is suitable for running. Ask at the hotel for advice on where to go and where to avoid. That way you’ll avoid running into trouble in less friendly neighbourhoods or having to deal with areas with heavy traffic or unsuitable roads.
Whatever your goals when running on holiday, remember to take it easy, explore, and, most importantly, have fun!
This article was written by avid runner and Marketing Manager at Go! Running Tours, Michael Sowney.