One of my favorite ways of exploring a new location while on vacation is by running. You get a feel for the area, find new things to do, and restaurants to try out. Not only that, but the change of scenery is a breath of fresh air. Some may nix the runs while on vacation, but for me I like to keep my morning miles. It is essential for my sanity amid chaos that traveling with kids can be. Here are my go-to tips for running on vacation.
Rise and Grind
This may seem like the obvious, but some like to SLEEP in on vacation. With young kids that get up early anyways, I choose to rise and grind! I usually head out before the family is up for the day. Even better, sometimes, they’re still asleep when I get back to enjoy a post-run coffee looking out at the beach (in my case). Running in the morning energizes my day, and I find I’m more productive and active.
Tip: I set out my running gear the night before so I don’t wake the kids rummaging through my bag.
Add it in the schedule:
Add the run into the schedule. Some may not be interested in running or working out on vacation, but for most serious runners, that is part of the vacation. We look up state parks and running trails to try out in the area. My husband will hike with the kids while I run (or vice versa). This is a way for us to get in activity while exploring the new surroundings. The change of scenery and location is a welcome distraction from the usual loops I run. I find I want to run longer!
Safety first: Although it’s fun to explore a new town while running, the worst thing that can happen is getting lost, especially in an unfamiliar city. To avoid this, run an out-and-back course to start. If you really don’t feel safe, there’s usually a gym treadmill as an option.
Tip: Properly fuel pre-and post-run. There is nothing worse than not being fueled enough for the conditions (hot and humid weather).
Minutes over Miles:
Given that you’re running on new terrain, in unfamiliar territory, and possibly with a change of temperature, it’s best to run by minutes vs. miles. If it normally takes you 45 minutes to do 6 miles, then run the 45 minutes.
For example: running on a sandy beach is much slower than a bike path. I did a lot of beach running this trip so most my runs were timed efforts.
In my opinion, vacation is also a time to not stress about the miles and the workouts. I usually don’t have a set training schedule during this time. You’re on vacation after all, and for us that means non-stop activity. I don’t have the desire to wear myself out from a hard run. I set out to do a run that isn’t daunting but also enough to get out and enjoy the area. If I have a race coming up, I may add a couple strides post-run or a little Fartlek in the mix, but I don’t let the running rule the vacation!
I hope this inspired you to look at vacation running as a fun, invigorating experience. I look at my runs as a nice moment for myself for the day.
Published: April 2018
Laura Pifer, Mom on a Run
3 x High School National Champion (2 Track 1 XC) and former H.S. National Recorder holder (5k 16:29) from Bingham H.S. She was part of the University of Colorado’s National Championship team. Post collegiate she has run a recent 4:36 mile and enjoys competing in 5k & 10k road races. She is currently a mother, business owner and athlete.