So you’re a few days away from that well-deserved break and you’ve decided to pack your training gear with the full intention of fitting in a couple of runs while you’re away.
You deserve a pat on the back just for having such good intentions, especially when your focus for the coming days should be on much-needed R&R!
But exercising while on holiday can be fun, productive and extremely satisfying. Here are my Virtual Runner top ten tips for getting out of your flip flops and into your trainers!
- Run to explore – As soon as I arrive at a holiday destination, I have a burning desire to find out what my new surroundings have to offer. There is no better way to explore the sights and sounds than going for a long walk or a jog.
- Stay safe – Before you set off, it’s important to seek advice from a trusted source (hotel/resort staff, holiday rep etc) about the locality, where is best to run and any areas to avoid.
- It’s all about ‘your’ base – Store details about where you’re staying (either a hotel/resort business card or a handwritten note) safely in a pocket. This will make getting back to base so much easier if you get lost, especially if you’re in a foreign country.
- Stay connected – Running with a smartphone is not everyone’s cup of tea but it really is advisable when you’re exercising in a new destination. You’ll be able to contact your fellow holidaymakers should you get into any difficulties.
- Hey Google – The best way to avoid getting lost is to plan your route using a smartphone map app, and keep it open. You don’t need to worry about ‘running’ up a huge phone bill, either. Apps like Google Maps allow you to download maps and access them offline.
- Don’t have a meltdown – The timing of your run is everything, especially if you’ve headed for a sunny clime. Pick a time of day when temperatures are comfortable to run in. One of my friends once decided to go running in Spain during siesta time, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s. The shocked looks from locals as he laboured in the sun suggested he was loco!
- You may not be on safari, but… – It’s probably best to double check with a trusted source whether any of the local wildlife could pose problems (stray dogs, for example). In most cases, this won’t be a concern, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Stay hydrated and protected – If you’re running in warm conditions, take on plenty of fluid before heading out and keep a bottle of water with you. It goes without saying you should also apply plenty of sun screen, even if conditions are overcast.
- Head for the beach – There’s no better place to be when you’re by the coast and running on the beach will not only offer spectacular views, it will also burn more calories.
- No matter what, relax – You’re on holiday, a time to chill and recuperate, so even if the desire to lie by the pool overcomes the urge to run, don’t be too hard on yourself, or feel guilty. Recovery is just about as important as training, so whatever you decide to do, your body will benefit. Just remember if you do get your running shoes on, you will feel doubly proud for doing so!