There are so many magical things about exploring a foreign country: Getting to try new eats, checking out all the historical goodness and, of course, finding time to sweat in a new setting. The great thing about lacing up and getting to run some miles is it can be done anywhere, at any time. All you need is the motivation to slip on your sneakers and pound pavement.
Still, there are a few strategies to take into account to ensure your traveling miles are safe — and enjoyable.
MAP YOUR ROUTE
The last thing you want to do is get lost when you’re unfamiliar with your surroundings — no matter how beautiful they are. Before you head out for a run, head on over to MapMyRun to check out other popular routes in a distance range you feel comfortable with. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting into before you’re breathless.
Granted, it’s totally normal (and slightly expected) for you to either: a) get lost or b) get distracted by the sights. In that case, make sure you have some sort of plan on how to get back on track. Download a map before you get going so you have a reference point to get you back to where you started.
KEEP IT DAYSIDE
While sunset miles sound romantic and fun in theory, darkness adds another element of difficulty to exploring a brand new place. At least for the first few days, make sure to limit your runs to daytime hours. This goes for both ends of the day, too. Big on morning runs? Hold off until the sun’s rising, and you’ll be better for it. If there’s no time to wait (touristing can be pretty demanding, after all), then do yourself a favor and commit to taking it inside — at least for the day. A few treadmill miles won’t kill you, we promise.
KNOW WHERE TO FIND DRINKING WATER
Even if it’s the middle of winter, you want to have some sort of hydration strategy if you’ll be out there for more than 60 minutes. Are there water fountains in town and, if so, are they turned on? If not, be conscious about where local convenience stores are and bring some cash — should you need to splurge for some H20. This could come in handy, too, in case you need to hop into a cab.
ASK FOR INPUT FROM LOCALS
If anyone knows a thing or two about the best places to run in an unfamiliar locale, it’s the residents. Not really into making small talk with a bodega owner or find yourself facing some sort of language barrier? If so, hotel concierges are always more than happy to give you a heads up on the best places for running. Expert traveler tip: You can even stroll into a hotel to ask a concierge if you’re not actually staying there. Just make sure to smile big, and thank them for their help.
REMEMBER: RECOVERY KNOWS NO ZIP CODE
When you’re traveling, it feels like a chore to lug around running shoes, but you’ll want some familiar recovery tools. If you’re going to be accumulating a lot of mileage during your trip, then bring along things like a compact foam roller or The Stick, muscle recovery cream and a lacrosse ball. Just like scheduling trips to museums and local bars, don’t skimp on giving your body some TLC to keep up with morning miles and demanding days of exploration.