7 Ways to Get Your Running In When You Travel

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Sticking with a training plan while traveling can seem impossible. There are often long days stuck at the airport or in a car. There are irregular meals. There are often one or more people you are traveling with that have zero interest in running.

Whether it is a family vacation to the beach, a week-long cruise, a jaunt to a world-class city, or a business trip, travel is arguably one of the most disruptive things to a runner aside from injury.

Even the best planned trips can often go awry and runners will need to expect to make adjustments as they go.

In the last few years, I have traveled a lot to races, but I have also spent time away from home in various scenarios that are not always conducive to running.

However, I have yet to travel anywhere in the last five years without sneaking a run in because I do these seven things:

1) Pack to run

It seems fairly obvious that you will need running gear to run in, but are you strategizing correctly? I always pack enough to do the maximum number of runs I think I can squeeze in. There are zero excuses if I claim I didn’t have clean shorts.

I also like to pack one set of clothes in my carry-on or side pouch so that I can do a short run as soon as I arrive at a destination. At the very least, it is super accessible for the next morning.

2) Plan a cutback week

Unless you are headed to a place with a serious amount of downtime and great places to run, rearrange your training plan to run reduced mileage during your time away. You’ll be able to feel a little more relaxed and have more time to spend with your family or friends. If I can plan it correctly, I like to do a long run a day or two before I travel.

3) Less structured workouts

Four-x-1 mile repeats might become just a 7 mile run while on vacation. It is possible to do structured workouts while on vacation, but sometimes it is nice to just run without pressure.

I traveled to Arizona a few years ago and the elevation made every run difficult. So instead of trying to hit paces I was used to at home, I just enjoyed a reduced pace at the same mileage. Everything was status quo once I returned back to the lowlands.

4) Find your people

Being around other runners creates accountability. I try to seek out anyone who I might know in a city or local area to meet up for a run. If you are traveling to a remotely decent-sized city, check out the local running store for the possibility of a group run.

5) Run around the clock

When traveling for work, even though I am not an early morning runner, I always get up with the sun to tackle my run before the day gets started because I know there will be late meetings and dinners.

On vacation, I practice “run while the people rest.” This can mean a morning run while vacationing with just the husband, an afternoon run while the in-laws take an afternoon break, or an evening run after the kids go to bed.

6) Scope out run routes

I use a number of different things to help me find the best routes while traveling. Local runners are the best bet, but if they aren’t available, I often use apps like Strava or MapMyRun to find popular routes.

Many waterfronts and parks have at least a few miles of runnable terrain. I typically try to find a few viable options before leaving so I am ready to run when I arrive.

7) Get creative and suck it up

There are some circumstances that make running tough on vacation. I once stayed in an area that had no shoulder on a busy road so I ended up doing big loops around the parking lot to get my miles in.

I have also run countless miles on a cruise ship treadmill because running ashore presented no safe options. Often these experience can make you truly appreciate your humble regular route at home.

What are your tips for running while traveling?

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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