I may be a very lazy runner, and have many, many discipline issues, but running on holidays is not one of them.
I love the lack of time constraints, the fact I am probably in a new place I can explore and the fact I can just sit back and relax afterwards, instead of having to head into work or get dinner on the table. However, being on vacation does not mean you don’t need a plan of attack.
Last year I found myself 18km into a long run, at least 10k from our apartment, in the middle of a tropical downpour. It had been 28 degrees when I set out and it was now about 18, so I was now also cooooold.
The run was supposed to have been flat, based on what I’d seen driving along the road when I surveyed the route. Unfortunately the trail next to the road followed every hillock and valley nature had furnished the area with since the dawn of time. It had also started raining 20 minutes after I left home and gradually increased in intensity until I could barely see through my sunglasses. Which I no longer needed.
And oh, the chafing. Rain almost never gets rid of good old Bodyglide. But this wasn’t normal rain. This was tropical Queensland sheets-of-water rain. I’m-having-a-bath-standing-up rain.
It was just like this – except I was on a trail in the middle of nowhere
My back, toes and that weird spot under my right arm that always gets rubbed were wrinkly and red raw, and had begun to let me know just how raw, in no uncertain terms. It was time to pack it in.
Oh well, I thought, I’ll just call Dear Hubby, he can come get me.
Unfortunately DH was dodging work phone calls while relaxing by the pool and had turned off his phone. Half an hour later he finally rang me back. I’d managed to walk 2km in that time. I was not happy.
Obviously, planning will only get you so far. Well, a look at the BOM radar would have probably helped too. But I do plan. Usually.
I plan not only the type of holiday I have, but where I go, based on how run-friendly the place is. Except for skiing. That’s definitely not run friendly but who cares? It’s SKIING!!
The style of your holiday will make a big difference to how much running you can expect to fit in. A whistlestop tour of the major cities in Europe is not going to afford you the same opportunities to squeeze in a workout as a lazy holiday by the beach. So I guess it’s lucky that the latter is exactly what I’ve booked.
Queensland here I come!
You do need to be organised though. Just because you’re going to have plenty of free time doesn’t necessarily mean that time will be spent running. Holidays go quickly and are easily filled with even more enjoyable activities than running (hard to believe, but it’s true). My (completely non) foolproof ideas for getting a run in on holidays are:
1. Bring ALL your gear.
If you get creative enough with your luggage you should have room for extra running gear…
I know everyone has luggage restrictions, but skimping on your running stuff is not a good idea. Pile that gear in!
What? you don’t have a travel foam roll? This is how all runners pack for holidays. I swear I’m totally normal.
Bringing everything will mean you have no excuses not to run, and also, your gear will talk to you all week.
Your sneakers will say why did you pack me if you weren’t going to use me? And your hydration pack will say you’ve paid extra for this luggage, what a waste not to use it. Your favourite race shirt will yell Oi! You! Slacker! Go for a run!
Unpack it all and put it somewhere you can see every day. In my personal experience this will guarantee you at least one extra ‘guilt run’.
2. Plan out in advance when you will run.
Mornings are definitely best for me; I can get it out of the way and enjoy the rest of the day. In the next 7 days I plan to run almost every day. It doesn’t matter how far, I’ll just get up, get out and go. As many k’s as possible is what I want.
Try to arrange more smaller runs rather than a few big ones. They are less tiring, easier to squeeze in, and don’t loom large over your other activities.
Of course it is the holidays, so I am not setting anything in stone. If I miss one day, fine, but two…well, just watch it!
3. Consider the weather
It’s going to be between 25-30 degrees every day where I am headed (yay!)
But! Heat and humidity will slow me down, as would rain, snow, wild winds etc, depending on where you are headed. So be aware of this and dress for the zone you are visiting.
Ooh look – lucky there’s not going to be any frost!
Believe me, you do NOT want to run in tights and a t-shirt on a 25 degree day in Queensland (ummm, no, I didn’t find this out by personal experience, why do you ask?).
Your feet will sweat, you’ll overheat in less than 15 minutes and you will have all the energy of a sloth on Valium. Wear as little as you can decently get away with. If necessary don’t be decent at all.
4. Bring your preferred fuel
I am only going interstate on this holiday, but I am still taking my gels and Dextro tabs with me. It would be just my luck to find the local supermarket doesn’t stock them (in reality this is very unlikely because I think Queensland is like the national Triathlon state of Australia or something), but anyway, better safe than sorry.
5. Research where to run
This is actually how most runners plan their holidays
Before you go, get online and check out Google maps and other such websites to get an idea of the surrounds. Does your destination have any paths you can use? Are there quiet backroads or a nearby national park trail?
Ask your hotel manager, or holiday house rental agent if they have any suggestions, such as:
Are there any busy roads you should stay away from? Any dangerous areas you shouldn’t go into alone? Anywhere that’s got crappy phone reception? Have there been any recent floods, fires or roadworks that mean you should change the course you’re planning to take?
Once you’ve worked out a route, show someone where you’re going and make sure they know when you’ll be back.
6. Just do it.
Don’t waste your holidays umming and ahhhing over whether to get out on a run. Get up and do it and then enjoy the rest of your day. Decide how many runs are an acceptable amount and just get them in any way you can. You won’t regret it.