I just got back from a nearly two-week-long vacation, and it was the first trip in at least a decade for which I didn’t pack my running shoes. And it was a really good trip, full of new parks, streets, and trails just waiting to be explored by this injured runner. GAAAAH!
I’m still jealous of the hill repeats my boyfriend did in Glasgow through Kelvingrove Park, the snowy trails he ran in Aberfeldy, which lead him to waterfalls and a hidden statue of the poet Robert Burns, and my brother-in-law’s pre-lunch run through bright and sunny Delft.
Fortunately, I got some amazing sights of snowy Edinburgh from the almost-top of the Scott Monument…
breathtaking views of Scottish lochs from a rented car…
saw a huge chunk of Amsterdam from a tram (I really did love the accidental tram trip, Meg!) and by walking briskly in the cold…
and sped through Delft on a borrowed bike.
I certainly made the best out of a bad situation and loved every minute of this unbelievable vacation, even without running shoes.
So what’s the big deal about running on vacation, you ask?
I’ve talked about running as a way to assess storm damage, and running on vacation is similar. You run because you have some miles to get in, but also because you’re eager to see some very unique sights. Running allows you to cover more ground than just a leisurely walking tour, but more slowly than speeding by in a car. Runners can also cut through alleys and other places forbidden to cars and bikes.
Some of my favorite memories and pictures from trips are the ones from runs, usually in the morning before the town wakes up.
In New Orleans, it was the empty streets in the mornings during Mardi Gras and the eerie cemetery we jogged through (a bit hesitantly).
Christmastime in Boston included a run through the Freedom Trail before a Boston Pops concert.
During a friend’s wedding in Maine, it was an early morning run through Acadia National Park that got me some last-minute hills before my first marathon.
Running exploration on vacation can also be taken to a really fun extreme: get to know the area by planning an entire trip around a race. I’ve used this to justify trips a few times, my favorite being a vacation to Switzerland in 2011, centered around the SwissAlpine Half Marathon.
Can’t wait to get out and explore a new city in my running shoes! What have you enjoyed about running on vacation?