Roaming Runners: 5 Tips for Training While Traveling

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I get the travel bug every six months, without fail. It’s a severe condition with a myriad of symptoms, and it begins with hours of wide-eyed browsing on National Geographic’s travel photography page. Next comes the search for the latest and greatest way to get (more) free airline miles. Then the flight perusing, and finally, the vacation request at work. Once my ticket is booked, the fever breaks and I’m on the road to a full recovery (at least, for a few months….).

But what I rarely think about is how traveling affects my running game, until of course, after the trip. However, I’ve learned from my past regrets, and I want to share with you how I’ve been able to keep travels from reversing months of steadfast and strenuous training. How exactly does one see the world and stay in shape at the same time? Here are five tips to keep your body moving while traveling.


1. Remember the benefits

Mental preparation is key. As you embark on your trip, be cognizant of the benefits you reap from faithful training. The “I’m out of my routine, I just want to chill, and it won’t really hurt to take two weeks off….” is an easy mindset to slip into. Taking a small break is not a bad thing, but weeks of missing out on the rewards of exercise (such as staying in shape, boosted daily energy, improved sleep, and mental refreshment) isn’t worth it.

2. Start on Day 1Day1

Getting up early on the first day to squeeze in a few miles might feel like death, but it is so important. Not only is this a great cure for jet lag, but starting off on the right foot with a training schedule will set a good tone for the entire trip. Don’t worry if the run feels difficult or slow. Your body is adjusting to a new time zone and place, and the important thing is that you got out there and put in the work.

3. Be Flexible

While sticking with a schedule is preferred, running while traveling requires flexibility. Daily plans often shift during a work trip or vacation, but don’t skip your workout just because it may not be exactly what you planned. Be willing to adjust your route on the fly, or run at a different time of day than you normally would. If you don’t have time to fit in your usual 10 miles, go with 5 instead. It’s better than nothing!

4. Pack Smart

There are a few hard and fast rules to follow as you pack:

lifestyleA) Do NOT forget your shoes. A runner without shoes is about as good as a traveler without his passport. Helpless, miserable, and definitely immobile.

B) Pack clothes that can double as casual travel wear and running apparel. Lucky for you, “lifestyle” running gear is trending for both men and women, so finding pieces that serve this purpose is quite achievable.

jacketC) Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack accordingly. You don’t want to be wearing split shorts in the snow or thermal tights in the tropics.

D) Bring a dirty laundry bag. It doesn’t have to be fancy (a trash bag will do). It just needs to keep your sweaty run smell off of your business suit. We all know that’s a mistake you do not want to make.

5. Be an Explorer

If you like killing two birds with one stone, this tip is for you. If there are sights you want to see on your trip, run there! A bit of extra homework goes a long way here; it’s easy to miss a beautiful trail, fantastic architecture or a famous area of town by a mere block if you’re new to the area.

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