While it may be the last thing on most travelers’ minds to go running while on vacation, there are actually those who book dedicated running holidays. Running holidays are a type of vacation where the primary focus is on running and exploring new places on foot. These types of holidays have become popular among avid runners, fitness enthusiasts, and those who simply enjoy combining a love for running with their passion for travel.
Joining organized running tours and entering famous marathons or fun runs around the world have become increasingly popular. Running holidays can be organized as group tours with other like-minded runners or as self-guided trips, where you can plan your own routes or races.
Whether you want to run the Boston Marathon, run a scenic coastal route or mountain trail, or wish to jog around historic cities filled with notable landmarks, running holidays are a unique way to see a destination while also keeping on top of your fitness instead of packing on the pounds while traveling like most people do. If this idea is new to you, here’s how to get started running and some of the best destinations to visit for a running holiday.
Running Holidays: How to Get Started & Best Cities to Travel To
How to Start Running
Ease Into Your Running Routine
Before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any preexisting medical conditions, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor to ensure running won’t potentially cause any injuries. The last thing you want while traveling is needing to visit a foreign hospital and possibly requiring overseas medical treatment, especially if you aren’t covered by travel insurance.
If you’re physically good to go, begin by running twice or thrice weekly, focusing on shorter distances. This manageable approach will help condition your body and mind for regular running activity without causing too much strain or discouragement from unrealistic goals. As time passes and your fitness builds, the distance you run can gradually increase.
Consistency is one non-negotiable aspect when it comes to running. A sporadic running routine might give you an adrenaline rush, but true success comes from consistently lacing up your trainers and heading out.
Consistent running conditions your body, builds endurance, and enhances confidence over time, setting a solid foundation for your progress toward running longer distances and faster speeds. Running becomes not merely just exercise, rather a lifestyle transformation for many.
Prioritize Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs
Before hitting the pavement or a gravel trail it’s vital to prep your body for running with dynamic stretches such as high knees or butt kicks. This gradually increases your heart rate and circulation, making the transition into running smoother and less abrupt.
After the run, don’t neglect the cooling down phase. It’s essential to gradually reduce the heart rate to normal levels after intense physical activity and aid muscle recovery. Undertake slow jogging or fast-paced walking followed by static stretching, which provides double-duty aid in muscle relaxation while promoting flexibility.
Take a Pre-Workout Supplement for Enhanced Performance
You might want to consider starting with pre-workout supplements, especially if you are looking for an extra boost to your running performance. These specially formulated products often contain blends of various ingredients designed to prepare your body for the exertion that will follow.
A quality pre-workout supplement may improve endurance, increase energy levels, and potentially enhance muscle strength. It’s like filling your car up with premium fuel before setting off on a long journey, ensuring you won’t run out of gas prematurely.
Of course, not all supplements are created equal. Do some research or consult a healthcare professional to understand the different options available and identify one that suits your personal health needs and fitness goals.
Equip Yourself Right
Choosing the right gear is an integral part of your running journey. It goes without saying that you’ll need to invest in a quality pair of running shoes. While they may not make you run faster, they can certainly prevent discomfort or potential injuries.
Try out pairs in-store as opposed to buying online and always make sure to break them in with shorter runs before taking them with you on a running holiday. Running-specific socks made of moisture-wicking materials can help prevent blisters and discomfort. You may also want to look for socks with extra padding in high-impact areas.
When it comes to proper running attire, you want clothing that’s designed to provide comfort, support, and moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and prevent chafing. Women may want to invest in a supportive sports bra designed for running for added comfort.
A hat or visor can keep the sun out of your eyes, help manage sweat, and reduce chances of sunburn. If you plan on running early mornings or late at night, think about purchasing some reflective clothing or accessories to increase your visibility to vehicles or bicyclists. Lastly, use a running app or a GPS watch to track your distance, pace, and time. Monitoring your progress can be motivating and help you set new goals.
Hydration is Key
Never underestimate the power of proper hydration when running. Drink enough water before, during, and after your runs to stay properly hydrated. Keep yourself adequately hydrated before you embark on a run, as it can prevent dehydration, cramping, and fatigue during exercise. It’s also advisable to take small sips of water during your runs, particularly if running long distances or in hot weather.
Rehydrating post-run is also vital for recovery as it replaces the fluids lost through sweat. Remember to do so consistently, even on days when you’re not training, to keep your body functioning optimally.
Final Important Tips
Aim to have proper running form, with good posture, relaxed arms, an efficient stride, and proper breathing. Always listen to your body and pay attention to any aches, pains, or discomfort. It’s normal to experience some muscle soreness, but if you feel acute pain, stop running and allow your body to recover.
Consider incorporating other forms of exercise into your routine to prevent overuse injuries and maintain overall fitness. Activities like swimming, cycling, or strength training can complement your running.
And lastly, don’t forget to celebrate your milestones. As you achieve your personal running goals, celebrate your successes and keep setting new goals. Acknowledging your progress is always highly motivating.
Best Cities for Running Holidays
Sydney stands out as an exceptional city for runners, thanks to its warm climate, stunning coastal paths, and lush parklands. The city offers scenic trails that stretch from the iconic Opera House to the captivating Royal Botanical Gardens.
Furthermore, there are expandable dedicated running tracks like Centennial Parklands that cater to all levels of endurance and fitness. Numerous running events like the City2Surf, Blackmores Bridge Run, and SMH Half Marathon are hosted annually, inspiring a sense of community among local and international athletes.
San Francisco, USA
Boasting breathtaking views of seaside cliffs and iconic architectural marvels like the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco presents another enticing running environment. The city is known for its highly varied running terrain, ranging from flat beachside trails at Crissy Field to generous elevation gains in areas like Presidio Park.
For those seeking a blend of urban and natural landscapes, the famous Golden Gate Bridge pathway offers it all. San Francisco also plays host to the prestigious San Francisco Marathon, bringing together runners from across the globe.
Vancouver is known for its stunning natural beauty and offers a wide variety of running routes. Runners can enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean, mountain trails, and lush city parks, with top running routes that include the Stanley Park Seawall, the Vancouver Seaside Greenway, and Grouse Mountain trails.
Boston is rich in history, and you can run along iconic routes like the Freedom Trail, which takes you past historic sites such as Paul Revere’s House, Old North Church, and the Massachusetts State House.
The Charles River Esplanade is a popular running destination with a scenic path along the Charles River. It offers beautiful views of the river, Boston’s skyline, and plenty of green space to relax after a run.
Boston hosts a variety of running events and races, including the world-famous Boston Marathon which is one of the oldest annual marathons, dating back to the late 19th century. The Boston Marathon is typically held on Patriots’ Day, which is the third Monday in April. This day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which marked the start of the American Revolutionary War.
With a runner-friendly environment, numerous parks, and a beautiful waterfront, Stockholm is perfect for runners. The city’s many islands and waterways provide both urban and natural running options. We recommend starting with runs at Djurgården Island, Kungsholmen Island, and the Söder Mälarstrand waterfront.