Running Vacations and Running While Traveling

I’ve long wanted to take a running vacation. As the only runner in my family though, it seems like something that would be hard to work out. Still, it’s an idea that I’d like to make happen.

Today, I found a website that stoked this fire even more. It’s an entire site dedicated to long-distance footpaths in Britain. There are descriptions, pictures, personal recaps of people’s walks, maps, and GPX files. It’s an amazingly complete resource for finding and planning long runs (or walks) in Britain.

Most similar sources I find about the US are all about hiking, camping, or other “outdoors” pursuits. I like that the focus of this site is on walking because it’s a perspective that makes more sense if I’m going to do multi-day runs. If you’ve read this site, you know that I love trail running. But, if I’m trying to get my family involved. Something geared a little more low-key than doing 5000ft of elevation in 5 miles is probably in order.

I’ll be taking quite a few trips soon, both vacations and work-related. That means I’ll be running in strange places. I really enjoy being a runner while traveling. It gives me a chance to see parts of the city that I might not otherwise visit as a tourist or just getting to work.

A few months ago, I was in San Francisco for work. I got up very early one day and ran from my hotel over the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It was a 13 mile run that, frankly, did me in a bit. However, I saw some amazing sites as the sun was coming up over the city.

A few weeks later, I was New York and spent a Saturday morning doing a 10k around the Central Park road loop. With all of the other runners, it felt like I was in the midst of a race. I had a few conversations with other runners. It was a great way to meet people and also get in a good run.

One thing I do when heading to a new place for work or vacation is to look at Strava’s heat maps near where I will be. It helps me spot places that other runners do a lot of miles in. I can then plan some routes and sync them to my watch for easy navigation. It makes me feel a bit more comfortable than just heading out onto the roads with no plan. I’ve done that and I ended up on a highway siding that was miserable.

So, there are two thoughts here about running while traveling. First, it’d be nice to travel just to run or primarily to do a long run or something like a staged run. Many of these longer footpaths have services that can carry your luggage to the next stop. That would help it be more comfortable for everyone. Second, making sure that I plan runs while traveling for work or with the family keeps my training in order and also lets me see parts of the city I might otherwise skip. It creates the opportunity for some great experiences.

In another post, I might share some tips about how to include runs in your travel schedule.

What ways have you planned a running vacation? How did you include family members that don’t run? How do you find places to run when visiting a new city?

Author: Alex Ezell

A person who runs, reads, and writes. They pay me to build software but I'd rather be doing any of those other three things.

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