Hit the Road: Fitting in Your Running While Traveling

Your bags are packed, but do you have a travel running plan? img frankensteined by SR’s Cinnamon

It’s that time of year when so many people are hitting the road, whether it’s for year-end business, vacation or trips home for the holidays.  As I have mentioned in my logs the past couple of weeks, I recently snuck away for a mini beach getaway (and a family visit, too).  The good news is that while I was gone I managed to stay on track with my training, which isn’t always easy.

As runners, one question that always comes to mind when making travel plans: how to fit our runs in while away from home.

Find Your Route

First, let’s address the logistics…. where will you run?

Map it out! Plan your route before you go. You can search for existing routes or make your own using sites like MapMyRun. (If you have a smart phone, some sites will enable sharing with your phone’s apps so you can do turn-by-turn navigation.)

Ask the locals. Inquire at your hotel or with friends or family about good local running routes. Even if the folks you’re visiting aren’t runners themselves, they may be able to direct you to some well-known routes or trails, or tell you areas that you should avoid.

 …Or meet some locals. A local running group, that is! If you have a speed work session or long run planned during your travels or if you just want some company, consider hooking up with a local running group, like Salty and Cinnamon did when they visited PA. Road Runners Club of America and Running in the USA both have directories of clubs listed on their web sites, but a good ol’ fashioned Google or Facebook search will work, too. If you’re coming up empty, try searching for local running stores in your destination city and give them a call! Chances are they’ll be glad to connect you to some local group run opportunities.

LOVE Park in Philadelphia (JFK Plaza), just NW...
LOVE Park in Philadelphia (JFK Plaza), just NW of City Hall, showing Franklin Parkway in the background leading up to the Art Museum, the LOVE sculpture, fountain, park, etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Go sightseeing! Running can be an awesome way to get acquainted with a place. This is your chance to check out some local landmarks. Some cities even have guided running tours!


Find the (Right) Time

Of course, fitting in your runs is about more the when than the where. While making your running plan of attack, make sure to consider your other time commitments, and remember why you took the trip in the first place.

Communication is key. Particularly if you’re traveling with or visiting non-runners, let them know about your running plans. If last time you missed out on a big family breakfast because you were finishing up your run, this time see what everyone else’s plans are and maybe run beforehand. You can always take a nap later!

Be flexible. Keep in mind that you may need to change up your running plans or move days around to fit workouts into your traveling agenda. If you have a 4 a.m. flight, that’s probably not the best day to get in your long run. Likewise, especially over the holidays, roll with the punches and schedule your runs around any commitments that you have, instead of letting your runs dictate the schedule for everyone. A little flexibility will go a long way.

How do you fit in your running schedule while you’re on the road?

Southern transplant who loves 90s boy bands, outdoor adventures and college basketball, although not necessarily in that order. Recovering running perfectionist.

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  1. I once ran around the Minneapolis airport during a 3-hour layover. The place is HUGE and it was early in the morning, so it wasn’t too crowded. I actually packed running clothes, shoes, and some shower wipes in my carry on so I could get the run in without being totally offensive on my next flight. Best long layover ever.

  2. Be flexible it the biggest one for me.

    When I am home on stay-cation, it is super easy to fit runs in (unless it includes the treadmill). I find myself with extra time so bring it on!

    BUT if my family has spent vacation time and money to travel, it is harder to interrupt the fun to get in a run because we are staying at hotels and no doubt planning jam-packed days. When that happens, my tips are to get up early and make sure you fit your runs and shower time in well before planned family time begins. If you have something super long on tap, let everyone know the when and how long. But try to avoid that if possible if you are cutting into precious family time. If you are on vacation, it is family fun time, not training time. Take it in.

    1. Great points! I have switched my runs for the next two days so I will do the long one at home before heading out for the holidays, thus only needing to get in 40 or so minutes on Saturday morning.

      I think it also depends on what kind of activities you have on your daily agenda. You can do a longer run if you’re headed to the beach or visiting indoors versus if you will be, say, backpacking for 8 hours!