I have to admit, I use to balk at the idea of any exercise on vacation. And while I still think that periods of rest are critical to any exercise program, I've started to include some exercise on my vacations.
Last August, my husband and I planned a weekend trip to Cleveland. This trip also happened to be a few weeks before the Montour Trail Half Marathon. I had picked the Montour Trail Half Marathon to run my best time because it is flat by Pittsburgh standards. Keeping up with my running was critical. Traveling and training for long distance races can be challenging; but since joining the Pittsburgh Fleet Feet Running Group I've realized that running is a great way to also sightsee. I decided to try this approach when I'm visiting new places. Here are some tips to developing a training run in a new city.
1. To develop a training run, I first search for a marathon/half marathon course for the city I will be visiting. I do this because races like to highlight the best features of their city. For Cleveland I used the Rock and Roll Half Marathon course. This course went past Jacob's Field, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Browns Stadium.
2. I use Google Maps to map out my route. Using the half marathon course as my guide, I lay out my desired mileage. I also include any landmarks that I want to see.
3. I use street view on Google to check out the course I've mapped. Keep in mind, that roads are closed for the half marathon course I've selected. For my training run, I won't have the luxury of closed roads; so I use street view to see if the streets I've selected have sidewalks.
5. Next I'll develop a bailout plan. Yes, that's right, I'll think of a way to bail out of my run if things aren't going according to plan. Sometimes when I'm traveling, unexpected things can cause a run to be much harder than I expect. (For example, underestimating the effect of high humidity on my running in Cancun.) This might include developing a run that loops around my hotel, so I can finish early. Or if you are doing an out and back run, you can turn around sooner than planned.
6. Bring a running buddy. For me, I'm lucky enough to have my husband join me on the run. When you're in an unfamiliar city it's good to have a buddy with you.
Using these steps, I developed a six mile route for our trip to Cleveland. The run went well with the exception of getting lost for a little bit. (Which is one of the reasons I recommend the buddy system.) It was a great way to sightsee and cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Running can also bring new discoveries like an interesting place to eat, or a great coffeehouse or an unexpected view of the city. I hope to incorporate a long, scenic run on my next trip. Seeing a new city makes the miles go by quickly, and sure beats the hotel treadmill.
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.