Life happens; sometimes, that means you find yourself packing up and moving to a new city in the middle of a busy training season. Your first thought may be: Yikes! But we promise, you don’t have to worry. Yes, you are trading in familiar running routes and buddies for the unknown, but it doesn’t have to put a damper on your training.
Running is a great way to get a feel for a new area to make sure you’ll be happy there. “I find that the absolute best way to get a good feel for a particular community is to spend time … exploring the area with those you know and love,” says Lauren Schauer, a realtor with Magnolia Realty based in Austin, Texas.
The key is to keep your love of running in mind from the initial visit — and follow these tips to quickly acclimate to your new running community.
SEEK LOCAL RUN CREWS AND TRAINING GROUPS
Whether you are visiting to get final details squared away or just moved in, taking time to search for and run with a few different run crews or training groups is key. Hanging out with other runners helps you get a feel for the local running community and clues you in on some of the best running routes in town.
“Not only will you meet some pretty interesting people, but you will also find that it’s the best way to explore the city,” shares Raymond Hailes, co-founder of NYC-based run crew Resident Runners. “This is something that we mention to new runners that join us for our weekly runs every Thursday; we provide a map via MapMyRun beforehand, then when you arrive we go over it once again and end with, ‘Don’t get lost.’”
Often, run crews and training groups will be based out of local running shops, so check to see where the nearest shop is because it’s a bonus to live near your training ‘home base.’
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Thanks to social networking and running apps, we are more connected than ever. If you want to see where other runners are logging their miles, MapMyRun is a great way to explore popular routes nearby. Also, joining active neighborhood-specific groups can even help you find a running buddy or two.
“Almost every neighborhood these days engages in some form of community social media site, whether it be Facebook, Nextdoor or something else that would act as a great medium to introduce yourself as the new neighbor on the block,” notes Schauer. “There are probably many residents living in your neighborhood that would love a running buddy and the opportunity to make friends with their neighbors.”
She adds that neighborhood running buddies can really be a win-win: You get to experience the joy of being active and loving where you live — and who is nearby.
EMBRACE THE CHANGE!
It can be intimidating to be in a new place, but don’t let any trepidation hold you back from becoming a valuable member of your new running community.
“Jump in!” exclaims Hailes. “My big thing is consistency. Try not to change anything just because you move to new city. If you find yourself connecting with run crews, look for a person that might run at your pace and I guarantee it will make for a better training experience.”
Though it may take time for your new city to truly feel like home, you get the unique experience of learning its ins and outs on two feet! So lace up and get moving; you never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll discover along the way.