Traveling runners don’t always get enough credit for how challenging it is to run while they’re on the road. For someone who runs regularly, and travels pretty often, there’s a few things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to running while traveling.
Run early. The easiest way to guarantee that you’ll get your run in is to run early. It also means you’ll miss the usual foot traffic, in case you’re running in a big city and you’re less likely to feel self-conscious about running in a new place.
The best first route is out-and-back. We’re not always lucky with our destination and, sometimes, it just requires a bit of research to find the actual running routes.
Try OpenStreet Maps – their map legend shows byways, footways, pathways, primary and secondary roads, residential areas, parks – pretty much everything you might want to know when plotting your route.
If you’re going somewhere more remote, Bing Maps is actually better than Google Maps. To look up some running routes, WalkJogRun might be helpful – you can filter by distance and type of activity as well.
When you’re strapped for time, it’s good practice to run out for a certain distance and then just backtrack on the return. It’s an excuse to explore on foot, but you’re also less likely to get lost. Take as few turns as possible and just remember the way you came. You can always look up places in a map after your first run, because you’ll have your bearings.
Run easy or run short. You’re more likely to stick to your running schedule if you don’t overcommit yourself while traveling. Take advantage of those easy runs. You’ll enjoy it more since you’re running somewhere new and there’s probably a lot to explore.
Ask the locals. This one doesn’t always go perfectly well (language barriers make it tricky), but it’s worth a shot. You might be surprised to find that there’s a trail that winds around the city, a path that only the locals know, or a shortcut to a better area for running. Like this one in Montenegro, which starts in someone’s backyard…
Run when it rains. It’s the last thing you’d want to do. It’s hard to argue with staying in but, every city is different when it’s raining. You’d probably want to steer clear of torrential downpours but if it’s light rain, it’s usually worth it.
Pack for layering. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, bring a top and bottom baselayer. We’ve all been there. Packed shorts and it’s too cold out. Packed tights and there’s suddenly a heatwave. Layering is your friend. Add or remove layers as needed.
What sort of things do you normally worry about when you run while traveling? Feel free to share below!