You already know that I am a huge fan of running when going out of town. To me, it’s the best way to see a new area, appreciate it in ways you can’t during the busiest times of day, and to be honest, it feels almost intimate.
Intimate? Yes! Because there is something special about running on normally busy roads when things have quieted down a bit. You see things about a street or a town you aren’t able to see at any other times. The guard has been put down.
But, not everyone is as comfortable as I am, and I get that. It can be nerve wracking to run in a city that you’re unfamiliar with.
Recently, a friend posted her fear of running while out of town on a Facebook group wall that we’re both members of. And people immediately began to chime in with suggestions. At the same time, others began agreeing with her. They all wanted to run when out of town but fear kept them on the hotel treadmill.
It doesn’t have to be scary, remember it’s about facing your fears and doing it anyway. You just have to know the right way to go about it. Which is why, today is all about:
The Top 10 Rules For Running While Out Of Town
1. Find Local Run Clubs
Before leaving your house, check out Facebook and Meetup.com to see if there are any run clubs in the area. Contact them and ask what their schedule is to see if you can jump in with them.
When I thought I was going to be in Philadelphia for Christmas, I reached out and found a local run club that is near my in-laws. Though the trip didn’t happen, I have stayed in touch with them so that the next time I am there, I have a group to run with.
2. Ask The Hotel
Ask the front desk of the hotel if they recommend any running routes. Many hotels even have maps printed out for runners with distances ranging from 3 miles up to 10 miles.
Some hotels even have running groups that leave from the lobby.
It doesn’t hurt to ask!
3. Look At A Map
Running Valley Forge – My MIL navigated me on bike while I ran!
When you’re some place unfamiliar, I don’t suggest just lacing up your shoes and hitting the roads. The last thing you want to do is get lost, which can happen when you make a route as you go.
Not a good idea. At all.
Look at a map to get a sense of where you are and a loop or out and back of what you want to do. Memorize the roads, or even write down the route to take with you.
Of course there are some great apps as well such as MapMyRun that makes this really easy!
4. Stay On Main Roads
Going with above, plan a route that stays to the main roads. Going off the beaten path can take you places you may not feel safe.
Stick to roads that have descent traffic and other runners/walkers/bikers to keep you company. If you see others out and about then you immediately feel safe and confident in your decision.
While in New York, I made sure to stick to the big avenues, knowing that if I veered off, I wouldn’t know with certainty where I was going.
5. Trust Your Instincts
If you ever feel unsafe, don’t keep going. Turn around and get back to a “safety zone”.
If your gut is telling you that you shouldn’t be there, then you shouldn’t. If you can hear your mom’s voice in your head telling you that you know better, then listen to her.
When in Baltimore, I decided to go down a side road when running by myself. I felt completely comfortable until I came to an area where there was a homeless person on every corner. After 2 corners, I turned back.
6. Carry A Phone
This isn’t the time to test out your new iPod shuffle in place of carrying your phone.
Sure, it can be heavy and annoying to have to hold on to but you’ll be thankful you did. It’s an instant security blanket.
When home, I never run with my phone out of fear of it getting wet or dropped. But when out of town, you’ll find it in my hand or on my arm (if I remember to bring the arm band).
Plus, it’s great for when you want to stop for pictures!
7. Tell Someone.
If you don’t tell anyone you’re running, who is going to know to check in on you?
Even if that person isn’t with you on your trip, still let SOMEONE know your plans. What time are you going? How far are you planning? If you are able, even telling them where you’re going is a good idea!
To me, I find peace in knowing that someone is aware I am out on the roads.
8. Don’t Treat It Like A Training Event
You’re not out there to get a PR. You’re out there to get some movement in on your trip and to see the sites. Go out and enjoy it.
Breath deep, smile and say “good morning” as you go past others, and take it for what it is: a new experience.
Save the real training for when you get home. Instead appreciate each mile!
9. Go After The Sun Is Up
If it’s possible, start your run while the sun is coming up over the horizon.
Remember, you’re not used to the area and when it’s dark you can’t see cracks in the sidewalk, potholes, etc that could potentially cause a hiccup.
Additionally, when it’s pitch back outside, how are you going to enjoy your running tour? You won’t be able to see any of the cool things around you!
My favorite morning vacation run was Siesta Keys, Fl 2 summers ago. The sun was coming up over the little boat harbor, dew was caught in spiderwebs making them look like amazing pieces of jewelry. It was simple gorgeous.
10. Don’t Be Afraid Of Bloggers
If you read a blog and you know a blogger lives in the area that you’re going to visit, don’t be shy. Shoot him/her an email asking if they would be interested in giving you a running tour of the city.
If they’re free, they will do it! Personally, I love showing people Charleston! So if you ever find yourself here, let me know!
The worst thing they can say is “no”, right? And we all love to run with friends, makes the miles pass!
Vacation time has started, and while I am a believer that vacation rest is important, I do 100% recommend staying active. Running/jogging is just one way to do it! Of course the #1 rule of running on vacation is to be safe.
If you’re not in a safe area, then stick to the treadmill or choose a safer option for getting some movement in!
Are you going on vacation any time soon? Where?
I don’t think our next planned trip is until June when we will be going to Savannah for FitBloggin!