Running While on Vacation


I’ve always found running while on vacation a challenge. As I mentally plan how I’m going to spend my days during an upcoming vacation to southeast Alaska I’ve started  thinking about how I’m going to fit a run in while I’m out of my routine and away from my running partners and my usual routes.

Whatever summer vacation means for you—visiting extended family, relaxing at the lake or enjoying an adventure in a part of the world you’ve never been—sometimes it can be hard to find time to run (or whatever form of exercise/recreation you choose). What—hard to find time while on vacation? That may seem like an oxymoron, but we get out of our routines and feel obligated to sightsee and spend time with friends and family while on vacation.

I’ve gone on many vacations where I have consumed valuable space in my suitcase for running shoes only to come home and realize that I never used them. Here are some tips that will make you feel good about packing your running shoes.

  • Sign up for a race. Destination races are a great way to compete in an event and see a new part of the world at the same time. But you don’t have to plan your trip around a half marathon, marathon or ultra. Check with the local Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to find a 5K or 10K in the town you are visiting. Do the race with your friends and family or get them to cheer for you while you run. I have already found a 5K in Ketchikan and I hope my son will run it with me.
  • Stay motivated by running with others. If you are traveling with others who run make a plan to meet at a certain time of day to run. Often it’s easier to run first thing in the morning so you can spend the rest of your day sightseeing or relaxing at the pool. I like morning running so I can eat whatever and whenever I want for the rest of the day. If you don’t have anyone to run with check with the local running club or specialty running store to find out when group runs are held. In addition to keeping you motivated, it will allow you to meet other people and find out the best running routes in the area.
  • Sightsee while running. Not everyone on your vacation will likely be a runner, but you can plan ahead and let everyone know that you want to spend an hour or so running a certain number of times while on vacation. This can mean seeing a part of a city you are visiting or nearby trail and noticing things and people you might not have otherwise seen. On a vacation in Hawaii a few years ago I spontaneously ran along a coastal ridge on my last day there and saw the most beautiful scenery of my entire trip. I was glad I didn’t skip my run that day.
  • Carve out time for yourself. Vacations can be stressful whether you are visiting extended family or are traveling with one companion. You may not always have a place to go for “me time” while staying with family or a tiny hotel room. Running is the perfect way to make time for you.
  • Multi-task. While on vacation with others it can be hard to take time to run, but there are ways to make everyone happy. Rent bikes for the kids and run along side them on a safe path. While on a hike, run ahead of your non-running companions for 10 minutes or longer, then turn back and meet up with them again. Repeat until you have run as long as you want and continue hiking with them.

If you’re able to run while you’re on vacation you will feel more relaxed, de-stressed and you’ll feel better about indulging in some good food.

Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you come home and have to unpack unused running shoes and clothes. Even if you don’t run for up to two weeks, you still retain the physical fitness you had before. Bon voyage.

Like this blog?  Chances are you’ll also like reading these:  Missoula Marathon 2011 – Bragging Rights to #5, Missoula Running Buddies, and When do you run? Be sure to leave comments in the Facebook Comment box below, and click the +1 button too–it’ll bring Missoula Marathon runners luck!

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Eva Dunn-Froebig is the executive director of Run Wild Missoula and has been running since the seventh grade. She moved to Missoula 12 years ago from upstate New York to attend the University of Montana’s Journalism School graduate program. Eva never dreamed that she would have a running-related job and feels lucky to be a participant in Missoula’s vibrant running community.