Meet Dan: he is an experienced runner and today he shares his tips on how to manage running while treveling.
If you’re keen to travel the world as much as I am, there are obviously some important considerations worth taking into account before you begin your sojourn. You’ve probably already thought about the places you’d like to go visit, the must-see landmarks you don’t want to miss, where you’ll be staying, or even how you’re going to finance your worldwide travels. All of that goes without saying.
However, something that many world travellers should be doing — but likely aren’t — is to think about their health over the course of their travels. Sure, you want to savor the locals’ eats and drinks, but what are you planning to do for your fitness routine while you’re on the go? Not everywhere you go will have a state-of-the-art gym, and it’s unlikely that you’re going to travel somewhere with your favorite spin bike in your bag.
What’s an activity that you can do anywhere, at virtually any time (with safety precautions in mind, of course), and one that requires minimal equipment? In other words, what’s a perfect activity for you to maintain while you’re travelling?
The answer: running.
Below, I’ll provide some quick and easy tips for how you can manage your running habit while traveling.
Do some research
There is definitely some fun and added value to exploring your new locales by foot, but before venturing into the great unknown, it’ll behove you to do at least a tiny bit of research. More than anything, you’ll want to do this for your own safety. Ask the locals where you’re staying for some recommendations, and trust your gut. If something seems “off” to you, listen to your instincts and stay away.
Run a local race
Some people really enjoy making vacations out of far-flung races, but even if you didn’t plan your travels around one particular race, when you get to a new location, it’s worth asking around and researching online to see if there’s a race going on while you’re in town. Some places host races year-round, virtually every weekend, while other places only have 1 or 2 big signature events each year. Regardless, races are a lot of fun and typically promote a great environment, and it’d be a great way to meet locals and find out more about the place you’re visiting.
Follow the path
Once you’ve gotten your bearings in your new destination, let your feet do the talking and see where the roads take you. Of course, bear in mind your own safety, and don’t venture out in the middle of the night, but if you have some free time, go off the beaten path to see what’s around you. It’ll help you master your new surroundings, and you’ll likely find that you get a new appreciation for your home away from home.
Meet up with area runners
Check out the internet before you get to your new destination to see if there are any local running groups or clubs that meet up regularly. If so, correspond with them prior to your arrival to find out if you’d be able to jump in at one of their workouts or group runs. By their very nature, runners are typically extraordinarily accommodating and friendly individuals, and even if there’s a language barrier, I can all but guarantee that you’ll have fun traversing the roads and trails with your newly-found friends.
While running on a treadmill isn’t the most luxurious or glamorous way to run, runners everywhere will admit that it “gets the job done.” Particularly if you are traveling by yourself, if you’re in an area where you’re uncertain about your safety, or if you can’t run during daylight hours, hitting up a treadmill in a local hotel or gym is one way that you can ensure that you satisfy your mileage goals (and your safety). If you have detailed workouts to complete, taking to a treadmill can make nailing the workout much more manageable than figuring out how to do it in a foreign land.
Know the rules of the roads (or sidewalks)
One of the most important aspects of running while traveling is that the onus is on you, the visitor, to both know and heed the rules of the road/sidewalk where you’re traveling. It’ll be critical that you do everything you can to ensure your own safety abroad, and this includes even the most basic things like knowing local traffic rules and direction of travel. You may not be used to drivers being on the left, for example, or cars being on the right, but your ignorance don’t grant you a free pass when you’re running outdoors. You definitely don’t want to injure yourself (or someone else!) by your inattention to detail. While most places subscribe to the same red light/green light scenario, in many places, crosswalks are a luxury, stop signs are mere suggestions, and there are regular showdowns in traffic among pedestrians, vehicles, pedicabs, livestock, bicycles, mopeds, (and the list goes on). Make yourself into an informed runner and tourist before you go so you don’t fall victim to your own mistakes or stupidity.
Mix it up
Particularly if you are an endurance runner, it can be pretty tough to figure out ways to fit in a long distance run while you’re traveling. If you’re strapped for time or for distance, consider mixing up your runs into something shorter and more intense: think high intensity interval training (HIIT), sprints, or even speedwork, like tempo runs, mile repeats, half mile repeats, or quarters or 200m repeats. You can still manage to get in a solid workout and a satisfying sweat sesh, even if your mileage is significantly shorter than what you’d like, and as a bonus, you won’t be losing tons of travel and exploration time in the process.
Traveling and running are both super fun and accessible hobbies, and one need not negate the other. While it might be hard to figure out how to do a 20 miler when you’re thousands of miles away from home, it isn’t impossible to find ways to make running fit into your travel itinerary while you’re on the road. Provided you don’t mind being a little flexible, and having a good sense of adventure and humor about it, you’ll be able to knock out your miles on the road with ease.
About author: Dan Chabert
An entrepreneur and a husband, Dan hails from Copenhagen, Denmark. He loves to join ultramarathon races and travel to popular running destinations together with his wife. During regular days, he manages his websites, Runnerclick, That Sweet Gift, Monica’s Health Magazine and GearWeAre. Dan has also been featured in several popular running blogs across the world.
Feature photo credit: Whologwy, https://www.flickr.com/photos/hulagway/