Traveling gives you the opportunity to see a whole different part of the world, expanding your horizons and enriching your life experiences.
If you are a runner, you can also use your runs as a great way to explore your new destination and take in the sites that only the locals make it to see.
But, how do you find good running routes when you are traveling abroad or within your own country in an unfamiliar area? What are the best ways to find out where to run when you are on vacation?
In this article, we will discuss some of the benefits of maintaining your running routine when you are traveling for work or pleasure and how to find running routes when you are traveling abroad or in a different area in your home country.
We will look at the following:
- Should I Run On Vacation?
- Is It Better to Run On a Treadmill Or Outdoors While Traveling?
- Benefits of Running While Traveling
- How to Find Running Routes When You’re Traveling
Let’s get started!
Should I Run On Vacation?
In most cases, depending on the length of your vacation, your particular training goals, and the activities you will be doing on your vacation, it is best to plan on getting in at least a couple of runs while you are traveling.
Running while traveling is particularly important if you are amidst a training cycle for a race and have workouts to follow on your training schedule or if you are going to be traveling for a long time.
In either of these cases, taking off your entire trip from your running routine may set you back in terms of your fitness and progress towards your running goals.
On the other hand, if you have just finished a big training cycle or run a race, or are taking an active vacation that involves lots of walking, hiking, or cycling, you may find that taking time off from running and just enjoying the other activities or relative rest is a great way to allow your body to recover.
It can also re-invigorate your passion and motivation to run so that when you get back home after your travels, you are all the more physically and mentally rested and refreshed, and ready to train.
Similarly, if you are just on a very short business trip and you don’t think you’ll have time to get out to run, you may just want to pack a pair of running shoes and hit the hotel gym treadmill or just take the time off and focus on your work obligations.
Is It Better to Run On a Treadmill Or Outdoors While Traveling?
Depending on where you are traveling, you may find that it is safest, easiest, and most convenient to make use of a treadmill in the hotel gym where you are staying or look into getting a day pass at a local gym or fitness facility.
Doing a treadmill workout is better than trying to find a running route outdoors in your new destination when you are running in an area that may be dangerous or does not have suitable sidewalks or parks for running that are set apart from traffic.
Similarly, if you have a really packed schedule, such as if you are attending a business conference, and your only opportunities to run while traveling would be in the very early morning or late at night when it is dark outside, it is often wise to hit the treadmill at the hotel to optimize your safety.
Another situation in which you may be best served by running on a treadmill during your vacation is if you have a specific workout that you need to replicate on your training schedule in preparation for a race.
If you are unable to find a local track or a running route that will work for your intended workout, you will be able to better replicate your programmed workout on a treadmill.
For example, if you have a hill workout on your training schedule, but you are traveling somewhere where everything is completely flat, it will make it nearly impossible to get that workout done outdoors.
The one workaround here is that if you really want to run outdoors on vacation and you aren’t going to be gone for very long, you may be able to shuffle around some of your workouts in your training week.
You can switch some sessions around so that you do your structured workout at home before or after your trip and just focus on distance runs or tempo runs while running on vacation to give you more flexibility.
Finally, the other scenario in which it may be better to run on a treadmill vs outdoors when traveling is if you are visiting a location it has a very different climate than what you are used to.
For example, if you are heading to a tropical environment and you normally live in a northern latitude, doing a hard running workout or long run in the heat and humidity can put too much thermal strain on your body.
You will likely get a better and healthier workout running on a treadmill rather than trying to find a shady place to run while traveling.
Benefits of Running While Traveling
There are several benefits to running while traveling, including the following:
- Consistency is key with running, so if you take off all of the days of your vacation from training, you may miss some fitness, and/or it will be more difficult to resume training when you return if you are on a long trip.
- Running can help you decompress if you are on a busy family vacation or doing some stressful business travel. If you are used to running regularly, the body craves the consistent release of endorphins and the physical and mental health benefits of running, so you will feel better if you keep up with your running routine.
- Running is a great way to explore your new destination on foot. You can cover more ground in an efficient manner relative to walking, and you may be able to see areas that tourists don’t normally frequent, giving you a better “real feel“ for living in whatever country, city, or region in which you are traveling.
- You may be able to meet up with other local runners and learn about what it’s like to run in your travel destination, which is always fun for people who love the sport and ethos of running as a whole.
- If you are using running to help lose or manage your weight, running on vacation will help burn more calories to keep you on target with your weight goals, enabling you to enjoy even more of the local cuisine “guilt-free “
(Note that you should never feel like you have to “earn“ your calories; the body needs calories as fuel, and even if you are unable to run on vacation, you should absolutely feel free to enjoy any and all foods that you want to try.)
How to Find Running Routes When You’re Traveling
So, how do you find the best places to run when you are traveling abroad or on a vacation in an unfamiliar area?
Here are some tips to find running routes while traveling:
- Look up a local running club or running store and contact the group to see if there will be organized group runs during your trip or if there are tips to find running routes.
- Look at course maps of races that take place in the area. Remember that there won’t be road closures if you replicate the race course alone.
- Find local parks, bike paths, or waterways with paths along them because there will be fewer road crossings and a vehicle or traffic.
- Use All Trails, MapMyRun, RunGo, Strava Routes (available with Strava pro), On The Go Map, Komoot, or Garmin Connect.
- Ask the concierge at your hotel.
- Look on forums like Reddit or post a question yourself.
- Ask for running route recommendations on online running groups, such as Facebook running groups for running podcasts.
- Sign up for a sightseeing running tour.
- Check out the Google-recommended running routes in whatever city you are visiting.
- Crowdsource on your social media accounts and ask if any of your friends/followers have lived or run where you are traveling to.
If you can’t get out for a run while you are traveling or you want to supplement your vacation running routes with some cardio right in your hotel room, check out our guide to the best hotel room workouts here.