Before I left for my spring break vacation in Sarasota, Florida, I was a little worried this trip would interfere with my training. I am sure a lot of people have a similar anxiety about whether to run, how to pack, follow through, and enjoy running on vacation, so I thought I would share what I learned.
Commit: First you need to decide if you really want to run on vacation. If you want to take a vacation from running too, then commit to that. If you pack with good intentions but are not really committed, any obstacle can get between you and your run. This generally leads to negative and disappointed feelings about yourself.
Pack: Packing for a vacation is hard enough without worrying about what kind and how much running clothes to bring. How do you bring the right options without filling up your suitcase? Check the weather before you leave, but plan for unexpected changes. You are packing for the opportunity to run, so if you don’t have the right gear, you are less likely to take the opportunity. Depending on how long your trip is one or two warm and cool options is plenty. If you need to you can do laundry in the hotel, or do like me and just plan on stinking a little. Also when I pack, I try to bring my lightest pair of shoes to keep my bag light.
Follow Through: Planning ahead when you are going to run and perhaps someone that will hold you accountable for running are great ways to follow through with your intentions. On my vacation, I went with three other runners so we had agreed to run everyday.
Enjoying It: Get excited, the last thing you want on a vacation is to feel like you are doing chores. Remember one of the great things about running while traveling is the opportunity to see other parts of the world and switch up your normal running routine. Looking into local running groups for established running routes is a great idea to see some cool areas. In Florida we did some cool runs on bridges over the ocean that connect to different islands. We also went to a trail in Myakka State Park and had one of the coolest runs of our life. The scenery was like I had never seen before. The trail weaved through wooden and palm forests, swampy areas, fox grass and palm bush prairies. We were a little nervous by the armadillos scurrying by the side of the trail, thinking it was snakes, alligators, or Florida cougars (which my friend insisted they exist). It was a three hour excursion, but totally worth it.
Another aspect of enjoying your runs is to not do anything too out of the routine. We were all very intrigued and excited by running on the beach. We did an hour barefoot beach run, and the only way to describe the consequence was that it jacked up my calves. I was damaged for about a week. While it was enjoyable, I
definitely overdid it because I did not know anything about running barefoot on the beach. Not to mention, the sand exfoliated my feet in a bad way; they tingled and felt weird for days.
So all in all, get pumped about running on vacation. If you plan on taking every opportunity to run, on good routes, you can experience new places in one of the best ways possible. You’re training will really benefit from the change of routine and another week of consistency.