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Cooper River Bridge Run Column - February 21st, 2005
Maintaining Training When Out of Town

By Art Liberman

“I was going to run but…”

At one time or another, many runners have completed that sentence with any number of reasons for not getting their workouts done when out of town. While it’s great to have fun and break away from your normal routine when traveling, it’s important not to let your running go on vacation, particularly if you’re training for an event just a few short weeks away. Oftentimes, feelings of worry and guilt can accompany those blank spaces in your training log. If only you had done things differently!

Planning ahead greatly increases the likelihood that you will maintain your training while away. Long before your departure, your first step is to research all your options concerning both when and where you can run.

Whether traveling to a friend’s wedding or a business convention, it’s helpful to get an itinerary of events that you need to attend so that you can plan your runs around these commitments. Try to also anticipate circumstances that may arise such as dining with a client or a visit to see relatives that lasts much longer than expected.

Oftentimes, running first thing in the morning proves to be the best solution, particularly when your agenda is quite full. But it’s also important to be realistic. If you expect to be partying well past midnight at the wedding reception, will you have the self-discipline and motivation and follow through with your plan to run early the next morning?

If you’re traveling with family, it’s important to consider their needs. Are there things they can to do while you’re out running? And who will be watching the kids for the hour or so that you’re away?

Where you decide to stay can also have an effect on the likelihood that you will run when you’re out of town.

Hotels that have fitness centers equipped with several treadmills makes running easy. Some of the nicer ones in big cities have mapped out running routes of various distances that begin and end at their front door. If your hotel doesn’t have workout facilities on-site, ask management if they have special arrangements with a nearby gym for their guests to use at reduced rates or even for free.

If you prefer staying at an economical no-frills motel when away, select one that is located adjacent to residential neighborhoods or on a road with sidewalks and light traffic so that it will be both safe and convenient to run directly from your room. You can always hop in your car to run in another part of town if you don’t feel comfortable with your motel’s location.

If you will be staying at the home of friends or relatives, let them know in advance that you plan to run so that they will be supportive of your training. They might be able to suggest some great running routes nearby or may even have friends who would welcome you to join them.

Above all, make your personal safety a top consideration when running in unfamiliar places. Before heading out, tell someone where you plan to run and what time you expect to be back. Be aware of potentially dangerous areas and streets to avoid. While the first couple of miles of your route may be scenic and appear safe, you may quickly discover that it leads directly into the high-crime district. Always use common sense and trust your instincts. Turn around if necessary.

Leave your audio device behind so that you will be fully alert and aware of your surroundings. But do carry fluids, your ID, and a small amount of coin or cash in case an emergency arises.

If there is absolutely no way to fit in a workout during your weekend get-away, modify your training schedule so that you can get in those important runs before leaving. Be sure not to cluster too many days of running back-to-back as doing so could lead to injury.

Here are some other helpful tips:

Contact the local running club or specialty running stores in the city you will be visiting for information about safe routes, group runs, and area races. There are quite a few websites that provide this information such as

Check the forecast before you depart so you can pack workout clothes for all possible weather conditions.

If you are unable to determine the exact distance of your route, run for a specific amount of time, estimating your mileage based your typical pace.

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