In the holiday season, travel becomes inevitable for some of our ranks, which can make keeping in running shape somewhat challenging. Schedule changes, location challenges and social obligations all conspire to make getting in the miles a bit tougher than normal. But there are always ways around these challenges if you are determined enough to make it happen. Here, then, are my tips for surviving and even enjoying, your running miles on the go:
- It doesn’t have to be perfect — before addressing ways to get in all your desired training over the holidays, I want to first say that if ever there was a time when it’s ok to slack a little, this is it. Most of us have just come off long seasons of racing and now is the perfect time to cut back and recharge the batteries before staring to ramp up again in January. So cut yourself some slack in December and if you don’t get it all in, let it go. Sometimes a little rest is good for the body and mind.
- Know your schedule ahead of time — When we travel to visit family, it usually involves two different locations, one rural and one suburban. The rural spot is not my favorite place to run—it’s desolate, there are no shoulders on the roads and in general, the drivers aren’t runner friendly. At this stop on the trip, I schedule in my shorter runs so I’m spending less time logging miles in a not-so-perfect locale. I save my longer runs for the suburban location where I can feel comfortable on the paved pathways and enjoy myself. Scout out your destination ahead of time and know what you’ll be facing. If it’s not the ideal spot for mileage, plan to get the long run in before you leave or after you return and slot your shorter runs in at the travel locale.
- Scout out local gyms — sometimes travel just plain old isn’t runner friendly. Say you have to stay at a hotel near a highway; not your best spot for a run. Check into local gyms and see if you can get a guest pass. Some time on the treadmill might be your best option when in a spot like this.
- Check for local running clubs — many towns have thriving run clubs with group runs on the schedule. Do an Internet search and see if there’s one where you’re headed. If so, join up with the group for a run. It’s always fun to meet other runners and learn new routes when on the road.
- Check for local races — If you have the time in your schedule, there’s nothing better than running a short, casual race in a different location. I almost always scout running calendars ahead of time if I’m going to travel. I love the experience of racing somewhere new and with different runners. It might even be a chance to get your extended family involved, either running with you or cheering you on.
Whatever the case may be, I’m a firm believer that running doesn’t have to stop just because you’re on the road. There are plenty of creative ways to get the miles in and have a great time doing it. Enjoy and happy holidays!