Last week I was lucky enough to travel to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia for work. My initial thought was “EXCELLENT” – I always love traveling overseas, and while Australia is basically New Zealand with better weather and worse accents its still a lot of fun. My second thoughts though were, damn what am I going to be doing about my training. Obviously cycling was going to be out, so it was going to be a week of running while I was attending a conference as well. But how was I going to get the most out of my training for the week, while still enjoying the experience. I did manage to continue my training and came up with the following tips to help you if you travel and run.
- Take your running kit with you. Yes I know this seems a bit obvious, but if you don’t take your kit, you won’t be able to run, when you wake up and see it there watching you accusingly its a lot harder to blow off that days run. Also don’t forget any preventative stuff you use – knee braces, anti-chafing cream etc. It doesn’t take up much room so there’s really no excuse.
- Check the weather. You’ve decided to take your running gear, now its time to check the weather where you’re going to. It might be a cool 15C where you are running at the moment, but if its 26C where you’re going to then you’ll need to pack slightly differently. This is even more important if you are moving between seasons, there’s no point in packing your summer running kit if you’re heading to the opposite hemisphere’s winter. Check if it is usually raining at the time you are going so that you can decide if you’re going to take a rain jacket or not, make sure you check how much rain they typically have as well – a light summer shower will need a different approach to a tropical downpour.
- Take enough shirts/socks. So you’ve put your shoes in your bag and have a pair of socks, shorts and a shirt in there as well. Thats great if you’re only going to be away for a week or so, but if you’re planning on running more than a couple of times you’ll want more than one top and a pair of socks for each day you plan to run. Getting clothing laundered in hotels is expensive and hand washing is good for a day or so but eventually you need to put them into a washing machine. Taking extra clothes just makes things easier.
- Plan your schedule. This ties into the point above, if you’re running every day or every other day or even just once a week for a multi week trip, unless you know roughly how often you are going to run you won’t know what you need to pack. Planning should also cover how long/far you intend to run. Unless you are on some major training program that demands constant improvement then I would recommend not changing your program much, travel can mess with your body and you can be struggling with jet-lag as well, adding extra distance to those factors is a recipe for disaster. You may be able to achieve it but it won’t be as much fun and recovery will probably be longer, which just means that you won’t have as much time to explore your new surroundings.
- Get local knowledge. If you’re staying in a hotel then this is quite easy, ask the hotel receptionist or concierge if they have a running map. If they dont tell them that you are looking to go for a run and do they have a local map so they can show you some areas where you can run. Make sure you get this information as soon as you arrive – then you have no excuse not to go for a run.
- Work around your schedule. If you normally run when you wake up then that can work really well, especially if time zones mean that you’re waking up earlier than the rest of the local population. It can be great going for a run and then getting back in time to have a shower or swim before breakfast. Conversely if you’re awake late at night and feel safe then going for a run later at night can also work. I did both while I was away and both runs were excellent in their own way.
- Chill out and enjoy the scenery. Running in a strange city is a great way to see the sights and watch the city’s pulse as the locals go about their daily business. Don’t forget to take photos if you see something particularly awesome or interesting and also take note of any good looking cafe’s and restaurants that you want to come back to later.
- Enjoy yourself. You’re away from home, whether for work or on holiday, so don’t get stressed if you don’t seem to be running as well as your normally do. Changes in diet, sleep patterns, temperature and weather can all affect how you run and there is no point to be gained by getting upset that you’re not running as well as you think you should be. The fact that you’re running means that you will be maintaining conditioning and you may even see an improvement in performance when you return home even if you don’t feel like you have had the best runs ever.
So there you have it, my tips for running when you are traveling. If you have any tips to add please add them in the comments section.