Planning a running holiday? It’s something all of us tragics do. So to get the most out of your next exercise escape, we’ve got a few helpful hints.
Download a good trail app
Not all trails or good training loops are well signposted. Every country has different systems and you don’t want to get lost on a mountain trail. So before going, download a good app, like Trace de Trail or Maps.Me. There are several others out there, each with their pros and cons. Trace de Trail is a great option for those wanting something that not only lets them find popular routes, but also create their own (https://tracedetrail.fr/en). The good thing about Maps.Me is that it’s not only has a lot of trails on it, you can also use it for road navigation when driving and don’t need to be online.
Bookend the holiday with events
Most folks opt for a race at the start of the trip and then spend the rest of their time free of the burden of training and able to indulge a little in bad habits. However, it often works really well to have a race at the beginning and then one right at the end. Why? Because you hit the first one and then spend the next part of the trip relaxing and recovering, as well as getting acclimatised to the environment. Then if you toe the line at the end of your holiday you’re often well rested, relaxed and use to the weather of the location. Make race two a lesser goal and you may well surprise yourself!
Take a travel clothesline
Sounds obvious, but most of us stop travelling with one of these when our backpacking days are behind us. However, they’re invaluable for us runners who go through a lot of clothes during a holiday. You can easily hand wash your training kit after each run and hopefully have them dry before moving to your next hotel.
Clean Your Kicks
At the end of your travels and having racked up loads of miles on the trails, your shoes will likely be a bit dirty. It’s best to make sure they’re clean before packing and returning home as you may have them taken from you at the airport if they have soil or other stuff on them from your adventures. One thing we often do is take a pair of shoes that’s nearing the end of their life, so when it comes time to head home you can just chuck them out. If your shoes do get really muddy, you’ll want to wash them a couple days prior to departure so they have adequate time to dry. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of unpacking a pair of wet shoes after 24 hours in transit, you’ll know why!
Research local running groups
When abroad, the easiest way to find the top routes to run is often to join a local squad. Whether it’s a serious training group or a weekly meet up at a local outdoor or specialist running store, local knowledge is often the best. You can generally find different running groups via Facebook and make contact in advance to get the lowdown on where and when they meet. The other plus of doing this means you’ll make a few new friends who will give you tips on what to see and do outside of running while in their town.
Don’t travel tired
Where possible, it’s advisable to not hop on a plane tired. Be it from a lack of sleep, or suffering from muscular fatigue as a result of training. The reason for this is that not only will you increase your likelihood of illness, but you will also suffer a lot more from the flight as a result. Many an athlete ends up with a niggle in the days after a plane trip, so it’s best to try and make the day or two prior to departure either rest days or just light runs.
Fuel like it’s a race
One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of illness or excessive fatigue from a long haul flight it to eat well, drink plenty and avoid alcohol. We like to look at it as though we’re doing an ultra. Avoid having large meals, instead, opt for several light snacks, with constant sips of water and electrolyte drink throughout the flight. It’s also good to move a little immediately after eating. Walk a few laps of the aisles and do some gentle stretching at the back of the plane. You’ll feel much better for it and it will aid in digestion.