Coach Mike Mead

June 2012

Running while on the Road

Last month I spent a lot of time on the road traveling to track meets and conference meetings. Returning from one of my trips, I got to thinking. With summer approaching, many folks go off on vacation. If they are runners, they will likely not take a break from running. There are challenges when you are away from your familiar training surroundings and daily routine. What follows are some things to consider when you are away from home and want to maintain some consistency in your training.

As I have stated in previous writings, I prefer to run in the mornings. When I travel, I particularly love running in the mornings. It allows me the time to take in the local sites and get a lay of the land without having to deal with all of the normal hustle and bustle one finds during the day.

I usually try to scope out local trails or parks that might be nearby. Hitting the local spots in the mornings means not dealing with as much traffic as you’ll contend with later in the day and could just slow up your run if you are in an area with many intersections to cross. You can cover more ground getting out early.

A few years ago, I made a trip to San Diego. I stayed in the old town area that allowed me on one morning to run to Balboa Park and back while another morning I found a trail that took me all the way out to a beach park on the Pacific Ocean.

My most recent trip took me to Hilton Head Island. I ran on the beach the two mornings I was there. Beach running in the summer can be challenging, mainly because of heat, humidity, and wind. To get the most enjoyment of the run and scenery, get out early. The temperatures will be cooler and the tide is usually low in the mornings. When you hit the beach, determine if there is wind or a breeze. If so, run with the wind behind you to start so that if you are going out and back, you have a head wind to make you feel a little cooler on your return. You might also consider the location of the sun, too, in case you may need sunglasses.

The best advance running in the mornings while on vacation is that it does not disrupt your training or your plans. About 10 years ago, I went with family on a bus tour out west to places like Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and Devils Tower. Each morning I got out early to get my run so that I could maintain our tight tour schedule. This allowed me to see some additional sites not on the tour.

If you are not the morning type, you can take advance of the longer summer days with an early evening run after the heat of the day. Depending on the locale, you may be able to find some quiet spots to run, unless you are looking to meet up with local runners.

If you end up planning to go out for a run in unfamiliar areas, be sure to get an area map and layout a rough route to run so you do not get too lost. If you tend to be directionally-impaired, take your Smartphone with you to find your way back. If you are staying at a hotel, ask the front desk or the concierge if they have maps of local routes or trails.

You can maintain your daily running routine and enjoy your vacation if you are willing to be adventuresome.