Whether you’re traveling for work or for pleasure (ahem, weekend in Vegas), it can be hard to squeeze in a workout. But for runners, finding a way to run is as essential as having morning coffee, brushing your teeth or checking email. Skip it, and the day just doesn’t seem right. But how do you know where to run when you don’t even know where you are?
If you spend any time at all on the road, you probably know that finding running routes in new places can be a daily challenge. Luckily, we’ve found a few great ways to ensure a run is just a step away.
If you’re hoping to log some miles while traveling, pack for every eventuality. Bring a headlamp for early morning or late-night runs. Pack cold weather gear for chilly weather, but think about shorts and a tank for a treadmill session. Don’t forget a rain cover of some type, just in case. Pack a couple of bottoms, in case laundry isn’t an option. You can air-dry shirts and jackets, but shorts and pants shouldn’t be reworn once they’ve gotten sweaty.
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USE MAPMYRUN TO SCOUT POPULAR ROUTES
Make your life easier by checking out where other people in the area already love to run. Use MapMyRun’s Route Finder to find popular routes in the area (you can customize the length you’re looking for), or use the Route Genius function where the app actually builds you a custom route using data already in the system.
Lastly, check the MapMyRun City section of the app for a list of the most popular runs in major cities worldwide. With the phone app, you can load your run route and follow cues throughout your workout.
AVOID HOTELS ON BUSY ROADS
If you’re booking your own hotel, always aim to find one slightly off the main drag — you don’t want to run out of a hotel that’s on a highway or a road with no shoulder. Doing some pre-trip homework on MapMyRun can show you sections of road that are best for runners, and you can cross reference those with hotel choices.
Aim for a hotel that’s on a map near a big green space or in an area with a lot of small stores and restaurants. If you’re just not sure how easy your morning 5-miler will be, give the hotel a call — the receptionist should be able to answer your questions with insider knowledge.
SYNC UP WITH A LOCAL RUN GROUP OR RUN SHOP
MapMyRun routes frequented by running groups will often be heavily trafficked and titled as such, so you can do a bit of stalking to find where clubs run and when. (Easy hack: Type “club” or “group” into the keywords when you search the Route Finder.)
Nothing popping up? Check MeetUp.com for local running groups, or email/drop in to a local run shop, since most of them offer group runs throughout the week.
LOOK FOR A PARK
Most big cities — New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and San Francisco, for example — have big public parks you might not notice at a first glance at the map. They may also have a bunch of smaller parks scattered throughout the city. These are great spots for runs, as you don’t have to deal with traffic or getting lost. If you don’t see a great run route, try to map one out that hits as many of these parks as you can.
HIT A NEARBY HIGH SCHOOL TRACK
Sometimes, you just don’t know an area well enough to feel comfortable running the roads or trails. If that’s the case and you have access to a car, do a quick search for high schools or colleges in the area that have running tracks. Most of the time, they’re open to the public (you can usually find that info online) and might even have other runners there.
STAY IN HOTELS WITH GYMS
Treadmill workouts are a last resort (unless you’re one of the small percentage of folks who prefer indoor runs), but rain and bad weather happen, as do crazy scheduling and work hours that might prevent you from running outside. A hotel gym is almost always equipped with a treadmill, so hop on for a quick run and follow it up with some core work.
PLAN AN ERRAND
If you’re having a hard time mustering motivation to run, it can help to have a destination in mind to get something done, whether it’s dropping something at the post office or even doing a run to a grocery store and walking home with your goodies. Whatever the excuse, find a reason to take yourself on a run!
Written by Molly Hurford, a writer who spends most of her time living out of suitcases and chasing the best races, rides, runs, swims and whatever other outdoor adventures she can find. Follow her travels and adventures on Twitter and Instagram.