Vacation is a time to relax. Right? Except for some walking during sightseeing or hiking, I usually don’t really exercise when I’m on holiday. Actually, some years back when I met a lady in Greece who went running in the evenings, I thought she was craaazy. I kept this point of view over the years; until this summer when I was in Cuba. Earlier this year, I started running and after doing an enjoyable 10K run, I decided to sign up for a half marathon as a sort of ‘try before you die’ project. And because I did not want to miss 3 weeks of training during my vacation, I packed my running outfit.
Ambitions vs. reality when running during a holiday
While packing my running shoes, I set myself the ambition to run at least 2 times a week during my holiday. In reality, I barely managed to go once a week. It was quite hard to squeeze the running into the vacation program as on one day we were sightseeing, and the other day we were travelling. Also, it was so hot that I could only go running very early morning, which in this case meant 7 o’clock, or in the afternoon right after a big shower or thunderstorm. Getting up so early wasn’t exactly my idea of being on holiday, but it actually felt like a fresh and very good start of the day. Also the views along the route definitely made it worth it.
Route: where to go when you don’t know your way around
Another challenge while running is the route. Where do you go when you don’t know your way around? Especially interesting when you lack a sense of direction, like me. Luckily, in Cuba the towns and cities are organized in a grid plan, so it was fairly easy to map out my way. Just to be on the safe size I brought my phone with an offline GPS navigation app on it so I could always find my way back in case I got lost. Additional advantage of bringing my phone was that I had some nice music while running (and I could take some pictures along the way)
- Keep in mind that the temperature in a lot of countries will be much higher than back home. When it’s really hot it’s a good idea to schedule your run early morning or late evening. And off course, bring some water along the way to keep hydrated. Last but not least, in order to protect yourself from the sun you can wear a cap (and put some sunscreen on).
- If you want to stick to a running schedule during your holiday, you can best download a running app on your phone. This app can give you a week schedule and push you to keep running. I for example have the 21K running app, and although I did not have a very strict schedule, I did use this app for every run during my holiday. Also, it can be difficult to stick to a schedule if you are travelling a lot during your vacation. Try to think a few days ahead in order to see how your running schedule can best fit your travel schedule.
- On holiday, the food is also quite different. I would recommend to try and eat as ‘normal’ as possible. Want to go running in the morning before breakfast? Probably a good idea if you do this at home as well, otherwise it would probably be better to at least eat a small snack before heading off.
- The roads in other countries might also be of different quality. Before you actually head off, it’s a good idea to explore the area a little bit to know the conditions (and to make sure you don’t end up on a blind alley)
Do you recognize this? How do you maintain a running schedule during your holiday? And how do you find a nice route? Let us know!
P.S. Curious about Cuba? Read my earlier blog about 7 places you should definitely visit.
*Dionne is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands, currently living in Den Bosch. In everyday life she works as a marketing-communications professional. She loves to travel to distant destinations, but I also enjoy a city trip closer to home.