After my recent trips through West-Europe I thought I would give you my tips on how to keep on schedule with your running while abroad.
Tip # 1: Pack Light
When I traveled to Barcelona I packed the smallest amount of workout gear I could. Chances are, you are only travelling with a carry-on so you do not want to take all of your cute tops and pants and skirts and shoes for working out. I brought one pair of sneakers, two pairs of shorts, two sports bras, two tops, workout socks and comfortable underwear. Generally speaking: I had two sets of clothes that would serve multiple sports. The sneakers were really what took up the greatest amount of space but you could definitely stuff them with socks or other small things in your luggage.
Tip # 2 : Basics Only
Basic colored sports-bra and double sided shorts by Nike.
This does not only apply to your everyday clothing. Since you are packing light, you will want to choose basics and not bright clothes that only match one of the sets of clothes you bring. I brought a pair of black tight shorts and a pair of Nike Tempo shorts because both work great for running but also lifting or whatever else you might want to do. Not only is it easier to mix and match the sets you bring but you will also avoid being recognised as the person that always wears the same clothes to the gym.
If you find any there are also workout clothes that are double sided. Some of them even have two different colors (Nike has some, for example).
Tip # 3: Bring Detergent
Since you are only bringing a limited amount of clothing you might want to wash them every night (or as often as needed). As I said above, I traveled to Barcelona for two weeks with two sets of workout gear. Whenever I finished my workouts, I washed the clothes.
You can often find small bottles or tubes of detergent specially made for hand-washing and travels. The one I found was ox-gall soap with a brush applicator – perfect for rubbing it into any spots. A simple hotel soap will do too, if you don`t want to pack liquids. Just throw the sweaty clothes into the sink filled with warm water and soap. Meanwhile, you can jump under the shower. When you are done, wash anything that needs extra care, rinse under clear water and wring it out. Then hang everything to dry over night. Towel bars work great, so do faucets for smaller items if space allows. Some people even bring a clothesline.
I didn`t only wash my workout gear, by the way, a stain in your favourite shirt? Throw it into the sink as well and it will be as good as new!
Brush applicator detergent
Tip # 4: Do Your Research Beforehand
There are sites such as Run The Planet
that offer you many routes all around the world. You can also do a keyword search in Google (e.g.: Running in Barcelona/Paris/…). If you are lucky, you will come across a blog or newspaper entry that can provide you with routes. If nothing helps, look for your accommodation on Google Maps
and search for any green spots or parks around the place. If you find a name, you could do another keyword search.
Some cities also have organised running groups that you could join for free or running tours of the city.
Tip # 5: Save The Routes
Before I left, I send screenshots of different maps as well as a map of the city to my phone. I searched for a few different options for when I might dislike a spot and made sure to have some mile-markers on the maps as well so that I could easily do any kind of workout when and wherever I wanted. If you calculate the routes online, you will already get the mile markers. A good site for this is the Gmap-Pedometer
or Dailymile, again.
Of course you could do all the research at your destination, but it saves you valuable vacation time if you take a few minutes beforehand.
Tip # 6: Bring a GPS Watch
I didn`t have one for my past travels but if you do, bring your Garmin or Timex or whatever brand watch it may be. You can just head straight out of the door and are good to go.
Tip # 7: Use the Treadmill
If the area around your accommodation does not seem safe, is very hilly or you do not want to head out for any other reasons you can always run on a treadmill instead. If you are lucky you are staying at a hotel with a gym but otherwise just note down a few gyms in the area while you are doing your research. Chances are that the hotel equipment is really lousy so it is better to be prepared.
Tip # 8: Be Creative
Don`t want to run on vacation? That`s fine. You can always skip a workout or rearrange your plan in order to fit your timetable. Maybe you can also take a chance and try out a new sport or just focus on something else. Use the gym, go swimming in the sea, walk around the city, do an impromptu workout on your room using your own imagination or perhaps a map such as the Nike Training Club
. Water bottles make for great dumbbells and you can always do a few squats or lunges, even while brushing your teeth.
The 1992 Olympics Stadium in Barcelona – something you see on the run!
Tip # 9: Take it Easy & Have Fun
After all, you are on vacation. Expect to miss you workouts and instead enjoy a drink at the bar, sightseeing or a pampering session at the spa.
But, you could always do the sightseeing on the run, get a little lost and take pictures with your cellphone. It is always just a matter of wanting it or not. Just never be too hard on yourself!
Do you have any further tips for running or working out on vacation? Where in the world have you run so far? Any races abroad?
For me that would be running in the US east coast, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy and Hungary and races in Hungary.