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Training, Travel

Running as Exploration

Wow, a five day break from blogging. Oops.

I spent part of my weekend in Baltimore at the #Fitbloggin conference, where I met some awesome people and learned all about how to make this blog a thousand times better than it currently is. I know you’re excited about this — my recent design overhaul was minor compared to what’s coming. More on what I learned about what I do and do want for this blog later, but first —

My tempo run through Baltimore:

Running in a new city can be both exciting and nervewracking. It’s an opportunity to explore and get a workout in (two birds, one stone), but it also requires a little bit more thought than running at home. So, here are some tips for running while traveling:

Plan ahead. While it may be tempting to just head out the hotel door and wander, go with a route in mind. It’s ok to deviate slightly if you need to window shop (guilty) or you want to watch the sun rise over the Washington Monument, but running randomly could land you in a part of town you’d really rather avoid. Local running groups usually post routes on their websites, or you can just Google “[name of city] running route.” Runner’s World also has a “Where to Run” feature on its website for lots of locations both in the US and abroad. Before you head out, ask a friend or the hotel concierge if your planned run is safe.

Stay flexible/don’t panic. People get lost. Detours happen. Be willing to make changes to your route.

Ask for help. Don’t be too proud to get directions from the gas station or a local passerby on the street. And be friendly with other runners you see out there! If you need something, they’re likely to be your best resource. Use good judgement on what your mother taught you about not talking to strangers though.

Carry the essentials. ID, cash, phone. In a new place, you never know when you might need to jump on the metro or make an unexpected pit stop or use GoogleMaps. I get myself into these situations a lot. I’m also guilty of forgetting to bring the above along as I hurry out the door. Do as I say, not as I do.

Follow your instincts. If you feel unsafe, there’s probably a good reason. Don’t ignore that.

Leave the iPod. It’s especially important in a new place to be aware of your surroundings, both for safety reasons and because you’ll notice more if you’re not focused on finding Mariah Carey ballads in your music library.

Tell someone. Make sure someone knows generally where you are going and how long you expect to be out.

For me, running is the absolute best way to explore a new place. It’s the reason I quickly learn directions and become comfortable with my surroundings. Do you make it a point to run when you travel? Any other tips for doing it safely?



4 thoughts on “Running as Exploration

  1. If I’m really unsure of the city I’ll map out my run on mapmyrun.com and leave it open for anyone to find if I go missing. Paranoid much?

    Posted by Liz | May 25, 2011, 4:23 PM
  2. I was just thinking that I missed your posts! I love exploring new cities on the run. Great tips to make that happen!

    Posted by amy | May 26, 2011, 9:28 AM
  3. I tend to stick with a basic out and back route in new places so it’s harder to get lost! Though it would probably be wise for me to do a bit more research about neighborhoods and routes like you suggested.

    Posted by Allison | May 26, 2011, 2:26 PM
  4. Ooooh, that’s so awesome that you went to fitbloggin! I wanted to go so bad! I love exploring new cities on runs…but it can be scary sometimes! But you definitely get to see way more of the city that you would never see driving around!

    Posted by Erin @ untilyoutri | May 26, 2011, 4:07 PM

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