How to Run on Your Vacation (for normal people)
Do you consider yourself someone who enjoys running?
Earlier this year, REI published an article in its CO-OP Journal called “How to Run on Your Vacation.” Enjoying a good run while exploring other cities, I was interested to see what they had to say, but then laughed out loud when they profiled two ultra-marathoners who were part of an Adidas trail-running team. I’m sure they chose these athletes to inspire others. But most of us aren’t elite athletes – we just want to stretch our legs & get in some miles while exploring a new place.
My vacation running has taken two routes (pun intended!): formal races & unstructured runs.
When I was running half-marathons, I thought it would be great to mix up the experience by doing one in each state. I even got myself this fun, chalkboard medal board to track the races across the United States.
Over time, I felt constrained by the distance – not always having the time to invest in the miles. And let’s be real – I wasn’t doing these races to win. I was doing them to have fun. So I changed my approach & at times, lessened the miles. Within the past couple of years, I ran the 8-mile Aloha Race in Honolulu, the 10K Cooper Bridge Run in Charleston & a 15K Hot Chocolate in St. Louis. And my legs felt fresher afterwards to keep that exploring going.
Regardless of the distance, here are a few running tips for these formal, out-of-town races:
Plan to arrive with plenty of time to unpack your bag, confirm that you’ve got everything you need for race day & hit the expo. I realized that I left my running bra at home the day before the Acadia half. Holy hell, that could’ve been a rude awakening if I figured that out the next morning.
Seek out reservations with a couple of months notice. Big races will cause local lodging & even awesome restaurants to fill up early. Get the jump on where you’ll stay & eat the night before to reduce stress & hangry-ness. Bonus points for accommodations that have a hot tub & laundry for race-day recovery & de-stinking.
Check out the course map to familiarize yourself with support stations, big hills & fun places for pics.
Grab race day snacks at a local grocery. Don’t count on lodging to have the bagels, bananas or fuel you’ll need before taking on your race.
While I still enjoy filling in my chalkboard with each new race medal, sometimes a race isn’t in the cards. No race is scheduled, it’s too freaking expensive, you don’t want to get up at the ass-crack of dawn. Sheesh! Sometimes you just want to do your own thing. My brother & I started to do this thing we call JustMe5K. We make our own race bib, plot a route with amazing sites & then hit the best pancake joint in town afterwards. Here’s some pics & a route map from a recent JustMe5K that I did in Seattle. Want to do more than 5K? Have at it, champion! Want to do less? Hey, it’s your run & you’re still getting out there. High five, non-elite athletes! Cheers to a fabulous vacation!