Though traveling can be exhausting and physically demanding in and of itself, there are always those select few who feel the need to push the envelope and maintain their exercise regime while meandering across the globe. Runners generally fit into this category. Partly because there is nothing simpler than throwing your running shoes on and hitting the road and partly because, let’s face it, they’re addicts. Call it runner’s high, blame it on a loss of brain cells over the years, or obsession. Whatever. Runners need their fix and living out of a suitcase isn’t enough of an excuse to hang up the running shoes for a few weeks.
Respect the Dress Code
Look, I love my spandex running shorts as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s better to leave those bad boys in the suitcase. While hanging out in the Middle East, East Africa, and North Africa, I busted out my running shoes for some early morning runs, but I wore loose pants and a long-sleeved shirt. In other areas, I wore exactly what I would running along the beach at home. Generally, it’s best to ask your host or someone from the area on their opinion and what they would deem appropriate. After they’ve stopped looking at you like you’re insane, they’ll be able to offer some tips on what’s appropriate.
Take a Map and other Necessities
I have a bad habit of just setting off without any idea of where I’m going or where I’m supposed to find my way back to. And that, gentle readers, is how one transforms a 30 minute run into a two hour expedition through Paris. Take a map, write the address and phone number down of wherever you’re staying, and probably a pretty good idea to throw an ID and a little bit of cash in case you amble too far and need to take a bus back, which you can conveniently hide in one of hidden pockets of the Wristsafe sweat band shown on the right. Also useful if you need sustenance. My runs always go better when I stop for a cappuccino and a croissant.
I don’t worry about this so much when I’m going for a run in Rome or DC, but in rural or more remote areas, it’s always a good idea to let someone know when you’re setting off for a run or any adventure really. I always like to let my host know that I’m setting off for a bit, where I’m intending to go, and when to expect me back. If you’re staying in a hotel and you feel comfortable informing the concierge, then do so. Otherwise leave a note. Yeah, I know, that sounds like a little much, but since I tend to take this precaution at home, I like to do it abroad as well. If you get lost, sprain an ankle, or get eaten by a bear, people will know to look for you when you’re not back at the expected hour.
Know the Road Rules
Make sure you’re looking the right way when you cross the street in the UK or anywhere else that has adopted its traffic laws, stay off the bike paths in Germany, and watch out for the motorbikes in Uganda. Just saying.
Look Up a Local Running Club
Don’t want to run alone? Want to meet some locals or see a new side of the city or town you’re staying in? Look up a local running club. If you’re in a major city, try searching for the local Hash House Harriers group. Never heard of them? Their slogan is “alcoholics with a running problem.” If you’re standing in the middle of a busy city and you see a bunch of runners come storming through in ridiculous costumes and wielding beers, 9 times out of 10, it’s the hash hour harriers. The rest of the time, it just means you’re in San Francisco.