6 Tips for Running When You Travel


This past week I had the opportunity to visit several beautiful cities. I attended a Digital Marketing conference in San Francisco, so we flew out early to enjoy wine country over the weekend (more to come next week on that trip!).

On Sunday morning, we had the chance to do a trail run in Muir Woods. Running through those majestic redwoods is incredible and something I hope you get to experience. On Wednesday morning, I got up early to head to the Embarcadero Waterfront and run toward the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve done this route a few times and it’s one of my favorites.

These are just a  couple of runs I’ve had recently that reminds me of the JOY of running. I want to share that joy with you, so you can also spend some time exploring a new location with your running shoes.

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6 tips for running when you travel:

1. Bring layers

Check the weather when you’re packing and pack a few options. You don’t want to be uncomfortable while exploring a new city, so I almost always bring layering options to be ready for anything. On top, I bring a sleeveless and long sleeve shirt. This ensures that I’m ready for a brisk or rainy morning run where a little extra warmth is nice. And when you start to warm up, it wraps nicely around your waist.

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2. Find local running routes

When you’re visiting a new area, it’s good to look into running routes that others have tried out. Depending on the area, some may be safer than others, so I search MapMyRun to see what streets are popular. If you’re staying in a hotel, you might also ask the front desk or concierge if they have any recommended routes – especially if there’s a certain landmark you want to see.

3. Run with a Camera

The smallest camera I own is also the one I always have with me – my Galaxy S4 smartphone. Most phones these days have a pretty impressive camera, which is perfect for snapping photos of the great sites you discover on your run. I will keep my phone on the camera app to make taking pictures a very quick stop.


4. Don’t forget your GPS

My smartphone also has a GPS, so it sometimes doubles as my running GPS to track how long and far I run. I tend to be a data geek, so I like to know these details even on a fun run. I also have a Garmin GPS that I often pack when I’m going to do real training runs.

5. Have a backup plan

One of the fun things about exploring a new city is discovering new places. In case you change your route mid-run, it’s helpful to have an alternate way back to the hotel. On my recent trip to San Francisco, it was too foggy to see the Golden Gate bridge from my planned turnaround point. I decided to run a bit further and only run partway back to the hotel. I ended at a Starbucks, used my phone to pay for coffee and breakfast, then called and paid for a cab with Uber. I would have missed one of my favorite sights without a backup plan!

6. Have fun!!

Seeing a city from your running shoes is a unique way to experience the area. Don’t rush through it and focus only on your run – appreciate the sights around you! Slow down and look around as you cross a bridge, peek into shop windows, make note of the food cart that setting up for a few hours later, grab a photo of the sunrise over the city landmarks.

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I hope these tips help you prepare for your next trip. Have a friend that could use these tips? Use one of the sharing options below to pass this post along!!


Questions for you:

  • Do you have any travel plans to a good run location?
  • Any tips to add to this list?

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  1. says

    Great post Heather, lots of helpful tips, especially the back up route one! I have fallen victim to that one a few times….thinking I could find my way back….but ended up totally lost! I do not usually take a camera or my phone on runs, but sometimes I wish I did! Tips for the list? I would say to look at google maps online in your location as often there is a state park/cool place to run within a few miles of where you are, but you may chose to go in the other direction and miss out on a really cool run. I always like to try and plan my runs before I go :)

    This makes me excited for vacations :)
    Tina Muir recently posted…Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Recap: The RaceMy Profile

  2. Sherry says

    Great tips. I always put the hotel’s phone number in my phone, which I always carry, in case I get lost. Thanks.

  3. says

    I love to run in another city! I think it can be such a great way to sight see. I definitely check out MapMyRun for mapped out routes. Actually, I start doing that way in advance of the trip LOL. I’ve noticed that some hotels are getting better about posting walking/running routes too.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted…Think PositivelyMy Profile

  4. Chatelaine says

    Smart phones are definitely key these days. Not only for a great small camera, but to call for help if needed, and to use a map. I decided to run through Stanford’s campus while my cousin was at the dentist during our visit with her last summer. I chose not to run through campus itself since I knew I’d get all turned around within campus. I chose to run the perimeter of campus…….. and kept running out of sidewalks!!! I should have checked Map My Run first!!! darn.

  5. says

    I love to run on trips–it’s the only way to go! I would add that you can check in w/ local running clubs about group runs. I’ve done this a few times and it’s fun. I’ve even done track workouts w/ local groups. I also always check to see if there’s a race in town when I’m there and have done lots of races this way.
    misszippy recently posted…Track Week–Final InstallmentMy Profile

    • says

      That’s a GREAT idea – I haven’t tried that before. I’ll have do check into that for my Chicago trip coming up. Racing is also a great idea, I have looked for those before. :)

  6. says

    When I saw the reminder not to forget a GPS, I had to laugh a little bit, as when I was visiting home—yes, the place where I spent 20+ years of my life–I actually managed to get lost while out on a run. I seriously would have ended up running an unintentional half-marathon (or perhaps walking the end of it) had I not turned on my phone’s GPS. Just goes to show that you can get lost even in (supposedly) familiar surroundings…
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted…(Currently) Doing a Happy DanceMy Profile

  7. says

    Running is my favorite way to explore a city! Not only do you get to see the city at eye level, you may get a chance to meet and run with locals who can give you even more tips about their city. I’ve been fortunate to be able to run through Paris and Florence in my lifetime and I know that is why I feel such a deep connection and love for those cities.

    Great tips . Researching ahead of time is an excellent idea.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted…Our Ragnar Adventure, Part 2. The RecapMy Profile

    • says

      I had an amazing run in Paris when we were there a few years ago too, although I didn’t get a chance in Florence. Once of my favorite memories of Venice was a run, even though I was looping through the same streets over and over.

    • says

      Oh yes – I *heart* Uber. When I discovered them last year I was enthrolled! My work is a little easier to go to conferences, since I control my budget. I just make sure it works out for me and my team, I think education is so important!


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