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Running on Vacation

So… you’ve managed to get started on a running training program, and then you go on vacation- where you’re away from your routine, your familiar places to run and maybe even your running partners too.  What to do?  Run!  Your running routine doesn’t have to suffer just because you’re traveling.  And you just might be surprised what a change of pace can do for your motivation!

Think of running on vacation as a chance to do a little more sightseeing than planned.  I like to get up early in the morning (perfect for hot summer vacations) before my family has a chance to object to my plan for a run.  And you’ll be able to observe some neat sites around town as businesses are getting ready to open for the day and people begin to emerge.

For a vacation near the ocean, try running on the beach!   It will be a tougher workout for you than running on pavement, so take it a little slower than usual.  Run on wet sand, and look for a flat (not sloping) beach to keep your ankles and knees free from possible injury.  And if it isn’t your cup of tea, at least find a path that runs alongside the coast so you can enjoy the view and sounds of crashing waves as you run.  Oh yeah- wear sunscreen!  Rays near the coast can be much more intense.

A few possible barriers:
*It doesn’t feel like a safe area: always make sure when you’re running in a new place, it is visible to people at all times, there are people around, and it’s light outside.  If you aren’t positive about safety, don’t do it.  Use an indoor treadmill at the hotel, or buy a day/week pass at the local gym.
*The weather: If you’re running in a mild, dry climate at sea level, and you find yourself visiting a hot and humid city in the mountains, be very careful about how much you try to run in this very different environment.  Take it easy.  Your breathing will be different.  Make sure you stay hydrated (maybe more than usual).
*Busy schedule: A short run is better than no run at all.  Period!
*Kids: A tip from Dara Michalski of Cookin’ Canuck- Consider bike rentals for the kids so they can join you on your run.  It’s fun for them, and you’re getting your run in too!

Pack a bag especially for your running gear: Include your ipod, running sunglasses, running shoes, running socks, running hat, light pullover and enough clothing to get you through a few workouts.  You can always bring a little detergent to rinse out your clothes in your hotel room and re-use them if you need to.

If you’re staying put for a week or so, consider buying a temporary membership at a local gym.  Most gyms offer day passes too.  And of course, the majority of hotels have some semblance of a gym to use.  Take advantage of it!

Go to for help with finding the appropriate running route in an unfamiliar city.  Choose from thousands of routes all over the world created by runners!

And if you’re really a serious runner, go to and workout during a long layover!  Seriously, there are gyms at airports all over the USA and Canada.

Most of all, you want to ENJOY your vacation and relax.  Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t run every day.  Do what you feel comfortable with, and plan to get back into the routine when you return home.

Do you have tips for running and/or exercising on vacation?

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Written by Lori Lange

Lori Lange

Lori spends her days developing recipes and photographing food for and She cooks from her kitchen (and runs!) in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and child- and she is at work on her first cookbook: The Recipe Girl Cookbook, which will be published by Wiley in Spring 2013.

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bridget {bake at 350} - July 19, 2012 - 9:35 am

Lori….these are GREAT tips! I have some traveling coming up and was feeling a little nervous about letting my running slide. Now I feel like it will be FUN!

Dara - July 19, 2012 - 11:19 am

These are really great tips, Lori. MapMyRun is definitely a great app for tracking the distance on unfamiliar routes, but I had not idea they had pre-set routes already entered by other runners. I’ll have to check that out.

Kim - July 19, 2012 - 4:14 pm

Thanks for the great tips! This helps a lot, I’m going on vacation in August.

Christine - July 19, 2012 - 8:35 pm

Great travel tips. When traveling, my husband and I always take our running/workout clothes. Even when we go on a cruise. There will always be a gym or running route somewhere.

Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta - July 19, 2012 - 9:25 pm

Ooh, I have the MapMyWalk app and love it, I’ll have to check out MapMyRun. These are all great tips, I actually had no idea there were gyms in airports!

I think keeping up with the running and working out on vacation would help me feel less guilty about vacation food which means I’d enjoy it even more!

Shawn @ I Wash...You Dry - July 20, 2012 - 11:10 am

I love running on vacation. I was able to get out on my last vacation and run through my mother-in-law’s neighborhood. It was a great change of pace!

5 Things | - July 22, 2012 - 5:27 pm

[...] *And if you’re a runner… and you’re going on VACATION… don’t take a break from running while you’re there!  I wrote a post on the Red Faced Runner’s blog on how to keep up your running routine while you’re on vacation.  Check it out here: Running on Vacation [...]

5 Things | - July 22, 2012 - 5:27 pm

[...] *And if you’re a runner… and you’re going on VACATION… don’t take a break from running while you’re there!  I wrote a post on the Red Faced Runner’s blog on how to keep up your running routine while you’re on vacation.  Check it out here: Running on Vacation [...]

Kristen Doyle - July 22, 2012 - 7:00 pm

I’m totally going to have to check out that app! When we were in Park City I could have really used it!

Robyn | Add a Pinch - July 22, 2012 - 10:35 pm

Great tips, Lori! We have some traveling coming up and I’ve been mildly panicked about how to continue on successfully! These tips are golden!!!

Carolyn - July 23, 2012 - 4:58 am

I love running on vacation because it shakes up my routine. I get to see new houses and sights while I am running and I don’t feel so bored! Great tips!

Trina - July 23, 2012 - 8:21 pm

This is so true. When I had the privilege to travel to Japan this past February I ran several mornings as people were making ready for their day. Shop keepers cleaning the store front and monks getting ready for prayers. It was such a different view after the tourist arrived.

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