Moving to Europe has provided me with plenty of travel opportunities. I’ve taken many trips with friends and countless ones with my boyfriend, but every now and then I crave a solo adventure. Recently I headed north from Spain to explore Prague.
When I made this decision, I felt the usual excitement that precedes solo travels and immediately got to work planning my itinerary. It included things I would not usually do if I were traveling with others, things like trail running!
Spoiler alert! When all is said and done I left thinking, EVERYONE MUST ALWAYS TAKE THE GUIDED RUN TOUR WHEN TRAVELING!
Back to the beginning!
Deep in a Pinterest rabbit hole, I stumbled upon BIKO Adventures, a company that gives running tours of Prague. Originally offering bike tours of the city and its surroundings, the company extended its services to running and trail running tours.
Running is something I love to do while traveling. It’s a way to shake up the usual routine. I love taking in the sights at odd, early hours when the tourists are sparse, and I love feeling connected to my environment through my favorite sport.
Normally I run within the city I am visiting, but trail running during a visit to a major European city? Sign me up!
I enthusiastically emailed Filippo, the owner of the company, and he informed me that the majority of their running tour customers are women! Represent, ladies of the world!
As a solo traveler with no Czech running buddies, my tour was private, although you can book tours for groups. My guide was a fellow American expat who had fallen in love with Europe and ultra-running. The option of having a guided trail tour of Prague was perfect for me. Though I love solo adventures, I’m not totally comfortable exploring trails of a foreign city on my own. The tour gave me an opportunity to have some agency over my fear of trail running alone in a new city!
I asked the BIKO staff about their other female clients. Like me, the women prefer guided tours to feel safer. Filippo also told me that their female clients are almost always native English speakers, hailing from Australia, Great Britain, and obviously, the USA. He added that Dutch, Scandinavian, and German women also dominate the trail running scene in Prague.
If you’re getting ready for a solo adventure, here are some of the awesome things about a trail tour and tips from my Czech experience!
Perks of taking a guided running tour
You won’t get lost. I doubt I would have been able to smoothly navigate through the roughly nine mile trail circuit we did, from park to park.
My guide knew everything about the city and knew the trails well enough to give me a heads up about everything from shade to hills.
You get a history lesson. The purpose of a guided tour is to learn something about the location that you didn’t know before. In my case, I saw sculptures and architecture that I would not have seen on my own, and I learned some Czech history from my guide. He also gave me tips on which local beers to try after the run!
Train on the go. That’s already the beauty of running, that you can do it anywhere. My trail tour provided a challenging long run in a new location while I was on vacation!
Cover a lot of ground in little time. We explored six parks surrounding the city of Prague within two hours.
Tips for guided tours
Don’t overestimate your fitness. I was under the impression that I could run three or four times a week and pop into a trail 10K like it was NBD. I was wrong. And while this was just a casual run with lots of photo-ops, it wasn’t easy on the ego.
Make sure you have time for it. This sounds obvious, and as I was traveling solo, I was not in a time crunch. But I had to factor time to travel to and from running locations, and in the end the run took longer than estimated (see tip 1).
By the time I got back to my Airbnb I was ready to crash. I soldiered on with a snack and lots of water, showered, rested for a few, and headed out for Czech beer and a feast.
Make sure you have enough fuel for before and after. I had yogurt and fruit waiting in my room, but I did not fuel enough for the run itself.
Don’t treat it too casually. Prepare for the tour like a race. Prepare your hydration, fuel, and gear.
Make sure your guide speaks English or use it as an opportunity to have a language lesson. If your guide does not speak English, do your homework and at least be confident you know the basics of their language.
If you’re looking for a new adventure on your next vacation, I suggest googling trail tours near you! It will give you a different perspective of your destination, expose you to the nature unique to that location, and maybe you’ll make new friends!
Have you ever been on a guided running tour?