10 Tips You Need To Know For Successful Running While On Vacation
Off on a family vacation this summer?
You can still train.
Yep, not only is it possible, but it can be the kick we need to rekindle our passion for running again.
Some of my best runs and races have occurred on vacation. I’ve run a 35k trail race in Australia, a half marathon in Palm Springs, a 10k in the Adirondacks, and many others along the way. I’ve run along the beach, in the mountains, and on beautiful river paths throughout Europe.
There’s no better way to take in the sights, in my opinion.
At the same time, I am very cognizant of the fact that time alone and away with my family is special and I don’t want to infringe upon that.
After all, my husband and kids don’t want to spend their vacation time waiting for me to finish a run or a race. I believe I’ve found that happy medium—that magic formula where we all get the vacation we want and I still get the runs I want.
As with planning your summer racing season, I believe running during vacation requires some forethought. Think far enough ahead about the timing of your vacation in relation to your races, the location of your vacation and the types of runs you’d like to do, and what you will be doing on that vacation.
Knowing all these things in advance will help you map out the right approach to keep everyone happy.
That said, today I am going to be sharing 10 of my favorite vacation hacks for getting your training done during your summer vacations, without it impeding those precious moments with your family and friends.
How Do You Stay Fit on Vacation?
Every runner (even elites) have trouble motivating themselves to get out the door and run when we are busy, tired, or just fed up.
But compared to the summer, those days are easy. How do you keep yourself on track when there are endless summer activities to enjoy, and the relentless heat means we can’t even enjoy our weekend to sleep in. Surely it is easier to just skip today, and get our fitness back when we get home?
Yes, that would be easier, but you will also regret it later.
Here are the 10 best hacks for getting out there this summer, so you go into the fall feeling confident, appreciative of the cooler weather, and most of all, proud that you made it through those brutal summer days!
Be willing to get up early
This is kind of vacation 101 if you ask me.
Of course I’d love to sleep in on vacation but I also want to run and do it without disturbing family plans. I set the alarm early and make sure my running is over by the time the rest of the family is starting to stir.
This is made easier by the fact that for summer vacations, at least, the sun is up early and I don’t therefore don’t need to be uncomfortable or worry that I might get lost (too much!).
Plus, in the summer heat, that early run makes loads of sense.
Get your long run in before you go
Another logical one, I think.
I think it would be a bit self absorbed to spend two to three hours out on a run while my family waits for me to return to carry on with the day.
So I do some run swapping in advance of the trip.
If we’re taking a Saturday to Saturday trip, for instance, I’ll run long on the Friday before we leave and then again on the Sunday after we return.
The remainder of my runs on the trip are therefore shorter and easier to fit in.
Let go of the track work
You want to do speed work while on vacation?
Great! But don’t spend extra time trying to find or driving to and from a track.
Plan a workout that can be done on the road—there are plenty of options for this—and free up some time. You won’t be any worse for the wear and you might even gain something by attempting speed on varying terrain.
Plan a cutback week
This is another great option for keeping the necessary run time minimal while away with the family.
Map out a few longer/tougher weeks in advance of your trip and then schedule in a down week for vacation time.
That way you are both giving your body the rest it needs and keeping the schedule open for the family.
Plan a race right after the trip
Just as with the down week, having to taper while on vacation is a great way to combine your love of racing with your trip.
Bonus—if you’re a runner who gets anxious during a taper, you’ll have somewhere to direct that extra energy.
Find a race
Along those lines, if you can find a race that is convenient to your trip and your family, by all means do it.
When we were in Australia, one of our plans was to explore the Blue Mountains. I searched around to find local races and discovered the 35k trail race I mentioned.
While I ran the race, my husband and kids did a really fun hike. Afterward, we spent the day in the mountains taking in some of the local scenery and small towns.
The best part is that I was tapering in the days leading up to the race, freeing up time, and then recovering after. I had no pressure to fit in runs of any real distance post race.
Vacations provide plenty of opportunity to try new and different sports, particularly those that are family friendly.
When we travel to one of our favorite spots in the Adirondacks there’s very little sitting around. We kayak, stand up paddleboard, swim, hike, and even play tennis.
I love shaking things up and having the chance to do it with my husband and kids.
Do you have a runner in the family besides you?
Use this time to run together.
My daughter and I love to share the miles so I’ll often run a few and then circle back to pick her up and take her along with me. We get to enjoy each other’s company and see some new sights at the same time.
Split your runs or speed things up
Time is of the essence when running on vacation so if you have plans for a day, consider splitting your run in two.
Do a short one before you head out and then another short one when you return.
Another option is to throw a little speed into what might have otherwise been an easy day.
A tempo run is a great way to shorten up the time you’ll be out on the road while still getting in some solid training.
Let it go
Finally, there is always the option of just letting the runs go if you prefer.
A week of lighter/shorter runs or even no runs at all is truly a feasible option if you are one of those runners who is consistent with training at other times of the year.
After all, the purpose of a vacation is to get away from the normal routines and recharge your batteries. Your body might thank you for the rest.
What’s the bottom line?
As you can see, running and vacation can easily go hand in hand. A few tweaks here or there and you are good to go.
Just keep in mind that the priority is on family time—this is one week where running should move to the back burner.
Your family will thank you, your running won’t suffer, and you might just get some amazing experiences.