“Enjoy the planet through your trainers.”
Guest post: Running on the Move by Lisa Jay
I was quite honoured when Lou asked me to do a guest blog post, not because I’m an amazing athlete wining trophies every week (only occasionally on Strava!) but to because I’ve learned a lot about how to stick to a training plan when travelling.
There’s not much glamour to my destinations. I’m an engineer programme manager so visit factories and offices in Europe and China, usually twice a month. Whilst there’s no Instagram-able palm trees, sunsets and mountain ranges, there’s plenty of reasons to ditch the hotel treadmill and explore outside.
1.Travel in your trainers. Not just because negotiating airport departures and arrivals requires a lot of walking, which might as well be taken in comfort, but also so that you won’t be tempted to leave them out for yet another pair of work shoes!
2. When you arrive look up the “Segment Explore” section on the Strava app. Generally, if a runner has gone to the trouble of creating a segment and lots of people have ran it , it’s an interesting place to run.
3. Make friends with the hotel Concierge and ask them for good running routes. This doesn’t always work in China when they look at you strangely when you say you want to run outside! Also, check your room, as some hotels will provide a helpful list of good routes.
4. Safety first . It goes without saying that you should take your phone whilst you run — not only to show off with cool runner selfies but in case of emergency and to use map function if you are lost. If you can tell someone you are travelling with that you are going out running then great — if not at least text someone back in UK.
5. Ditch the headphones. Not only do you get to soak up the atmosphere of a new city better but you stand less chance of being hit by a tram/car/bike travelling in a different direction to what you are used to.
6. This may sound obvious but it’s not the same temperature everywhere in the world — pack the right kit for when you are heading to!
7. Nothing sorts jet lag out like a quick 5km . It may seem the last thing you want to do after a 13 hour flight but it’s a really good way to either help you sleep or energise you for the working day ahead.
8. Search for local running clubs and meet-ups. The internet is a beautiful thing for this. One of most famous groups is the Hash House Harriers, a friendly group that organises some free to join runs in big cities. Other cities have organised running tours at night where you pay a fee to be guided by a runner and get to take in all the sights over an hour.
9. Think about air quality, and be prepared for this to have an impact on your breathing and ability to run. There’s some good AQI apps to download to check. From personal experience trying to run when the AQI goes over 150 is like wading through treacle.
10. Parkrun is not just a UK thing, there are events in a host of countries including South Africa, Italy, Germany, Australia, Singapore and US. Your trusty barcode works in actually the same way, start times vary but you are sure to receive the same Parkrun friendly welcome.
11. Have some flex in your training plan, you may need to switch a hill training session for an easy run. The key is to just get out there which leads me to my final tip…..
12. Finally… embrace the space you’re in, I’ve been fortunate enough through running to experience new and exciting places all over the world, seeing things that no bus tour or walk around would ever show you. Take selfies, smile and enjoy the planet through your trainers!