|Kathy Kass has Extreme Wanderlust and has been blogging about travel and fitness on Will Run For Miles. She’s run over 112 marathons and swears by gratitude, karma and print dresses. Follow her travels and runs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Some people say that it is too much work to run on vacation, but others, like me, find running on vacation a true pleasure! Many of my best vacation days begin with me marveling at the great sights and scenery that I might never have seen had I not pushed myself out of my comfortable hotel room and gone out for that glorious run.
Tip: The distance does not have to be far, and the pace need not be fast. It’s neither a race nor a competition.
Indeed, some of my most memorable sightseeing I’ve done is with running shoes on my feet, such as in Vondel Park in Amsterdam:
Or a jog around a Shinjuku park in Tokyo:
Getting ready to run: vacation running does not take a lot of preparation, but there are definitely some things to take into consideration.
Bring weather-appropriate apparel.
Although I appreciate that many hotels now provide work-out gear, and it is certainly helpful in a pinch, I prefer to wear my own clothing. Obviously, if I am traveling to a warm, cold or rainy climate, I will pack for the expected weather. In addition to running shoes and clothing – I often bring a jacket (with lots of pockets). If the weather is warm, I remember to pack sunscreen and a visor. Sometimes I bring clothing I am ready to discard and leave them behind at the end of the trip. Except for the shoes, running gear can be lightweight and not take up a lot of room in a suitcase.
Plan but don’t plan too much
Tip: Remember this is supposed to be fun, not a chore.
Ask at the front desk of your hotel if they have a jogging map, or if they don’t have a map, ask for running suggestions. Quickly, you will find the runner-employee and she or he will be most eager to pull out a map and chart some running routes for you! Then, generally follow the suggested directions while allowing yourself the freedom to wander or get a little lost. If you have a smartphone, you may want to use Google Map or some other GPS systems for following a route, and also for seeing what sights are along the way. A jogging map like this is particularly helpful.
Tip: Use common sense and adapt to the circumstances
This may seem obvious, but if I am alone and exploring a place I don’t know, I need to err on the side of caution. I remember being at a hotel recently in Tampa, Florida and being told that there was a nice trail right near the hotel. But I was by myself and was fearful of what lurked in the woods. Of course, my fears might have been ridiculous, but I was alone and unwilling to chance it. Similarly, I was happy to learn that the hotel I was staying at in Athens was near a park. But, when I went there to run, I saw that it was totally run down and filled with vagrants. So, instead of running in the park, we walked for hours exploring the areas near our hotel. That was pretty cool too!
Know what’s important to you
Everyone has their own preferences and rituals. If you need to drink a sport drink, bring a powdered version of that with you on your trip or go to the local supermarket and buy some sport drink there. If you like to stretch before or after running, see if the hotel can lend you a yoga mat, or just put a sheet on the floor.
For me, it is important that I stay in a hotel that has in-room safe deposit boxes. I am more likely to go out for a solo run if I know there is a safe in my hotel room where I can leave my valuables when I am out running. Also, although I do not drink a lot of coffee, I do like one cup of strong coffee in the morning before I go out to exercise. I cherish the fact that many Radisson Hotels have Nespresso machines in guest rooms.
Do what you love – go out and discover!
For me, there is something magical about running next to water. I will never forget running along the Pacific Ocean when I was staying at the Radisson Decapolis Miraflores Hotel in Lima, Peru.
… or running along the Atlantic Ocean when I visited Capetown, South Africa and stayed at the lovely Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel.
Or running on the other side of the same Atlantic Ocean, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida…
When I stayed at the Radisson Blue Alcon Hotel in Prague in the Czech Republic, I went for an early morning run on the picturesque Charles Bridge over the Vlatava River hours before the bridge was filled with tourists. It was amazing!
On my last day in London, while staying at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, I went for a wonderful run along the Thames River.
Memories are Made
I often think of the saying “You’ve got to be in it to win it.” And that’s what life and running have brought me as I always happen upon more simply by getting out the door. It is always amazing to see what is on the other side of the door! In London, my friend Gina and I were staying at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street in Covent Garden. We went out for a run and happened upon a pre-London Marathon shakeout run led by none other than the most famous English marathon runner, Paula Radcliffe.
And when my boyfriend and I were out running near our hotel (the Radisson Blu Madrid Prado Hotel), we came upon a beautiful park with a thought-provoking photography exhibit concerning refugees.
Conclusion: go out and have fun. Create memories. Enjoy the moments. But remember to be back in time for breakfast.