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Running On Vacation

Around this time of year, many of us go on vacation, which begs the question: Do I continue my usual running schedule?  The simple answer is that there really is no right or wrong answer.  It’s your vacation, your schedule, and it’s entirely up to you!  Running while on vacation can be an exciting way to see new places, enhance your trip and liven up your running… but vacation is also a good time to relax and take a break from running if you so choose!

If you decide to continue your training on vacation, here are a few tips to make the most of it:

First, try to get your run in early in the morning. Everyone knows summer months are much warmer, and if you’re vacationing at places like the beach, the sun can be exceptionally stronger.  Beat the heat by getting your run in early, and be sure to use sunglasses, sunscreen and carry water with you.  If you’re vacationing in a touristy area, getting your run in early will help you avoid crowds. Places like boardwalks or famous streets tend to have a lot less people early in the morning.  No one wants to spend their run weaving between crowds of people who are leisurely strolling.  Also, running early in the morning won’t hold up the rest of your day.  I’m sure you picked your vacation destination because you had plenty of things you wanted to see and do there.  Don’t let your run hold up your plans!

     Second, try to run in different places each day of your trip.  Running the same route each day might be easier if you don’t know the area, but finding a different place each day can really enhance your experience.  Running the same route can be boring and monotonous, and no one wants to be bored on vacation.  Changing up your route means your might find places you would like to visit again later in the day with your family, or you may pass a restaurant you want to try during your trip.  One year, while vacationing in the Outer Banks, I ran around the Wright Brother’s Monument one day, giant sand dunes at Jockey Ridge State Park the next and then I ran some awesome trails at the Nags Head Nature Preserve the next day. If you’re struggling to find interesting places to run, don’t forget that a great resource on all things running is a local running store! The staff there may have great ideas for things to see and places to run while you’re there, making your trip even better.

     Third, don’t worry about running your usual mileage.  Vacations are also about rest and relaxation, so it’s perfectly fine to take days off or shorten your runs.  Some vacation destinations, like Disney World, are so busy that you may not even have a chance to run.  Just enjoy your experience and don’t worry about it, you can get back to your training soon.  One year, I ran a marathon the day before we left for a week at the beach.  I decided afterwards to leave my running shoes at home and take a rest week.  It was nice letting my body recover and relax, and I was eager to start training again when we got home.

     Sometimes your vacation may be entirely based on a particular race you are running.  A lot of races, particularly marathons, tend to be vacation destinations.  This is a great way to see a new place you may have not thought to visit if it weren’t for the race.  My advice on these trips is to arrive just a day or two before the race and plan to have more time to relax and enjoy your vacation after the race.  This will keep you in the same training routine leading up to the race, and you can enjoy your vacation afterwards without having to focus on the race itself.

     No matter what you decide, I hope you have a wonderful vacation! Enjoy every minute, doing whatever you choose to do! 

About the author: A.J. is the Store Manager at AppRunCo – Altoona. He lives in Altoona and has been a competitive runner for over 20 years.