I’m panicking. I’ve been taken by surprise that my Autumn marathon is only 12 weeks away and my relaxed, denial will have to come to an end. This summer calls for training and lots of it!
It’s hard enough to fit running in around the kids during the long school holidays but this summer we have a much needed family holiday in France booked. Realistically, I am still going to have to try to run during those two weeks away – despite the heat and hills (not to mention the wine, cheese, bread and croissants).
So how can I squeeze in training runs, make them enjoyable and yet not compromise on family time? I turned to the best source of running advice I know – the wonderful online women’s running community – Run Mummy Run. The helpful ladies gave me their tops tips for running on holiday….
What to pack?
Well obviously packing your running kit is a good start! Your holiday venue may dictate the type of kit you take. If you’re camping or staycationing you might need to throw in a lightweight running jacket to shelter you from the odd shower that is common during the British Summer.
If you are heading abroad a running cap and sunglasses are a good idea. Wherever you are running you must pack some sweat proof sun block. It is far too easy to burn when you are outside running – even when it’s cloudy!
If you are flying to your holiday destination suitcase space might be at a premium. The RMR ladies came up trumps again with useful suggestions for squeezing their running kit in. One RMR took her short foam roller and put her running gear inside the tube. Others recommended travelling in your running trainers as they can be quite bulky and space consuming. If you are going somewhere hot, Bodyglide or Vaseline are a good idea to avoid chafing from sweating.
A small bottle of handwashing liquid to wash sweaty kit is a good idea. If you can wash your kit you don’t need to pack as much and it should dry quickly if you are somewhere hot.
How can I fit in my runs on holiday?
Most RMRs recommended early morning runs on holiday. This works in a number of ways as it helps you to avoid running in the hottest part of the day, making runs more bearable and doesn’t impact so much on family time. This can be a real bone of contention in some families, especially if your partner doesn’t run. I have the opposite problem my other half is also a runner so we will be competing for who gets to run each day!
Recommendations for times ranged from 5am which might be a tad early for me (I’m thinking of that red wine again) through to a more civilised 8am. As with your runs at home it will depend on how far you plan to go, the temperature and what else you have planned in your day. I’m hoping to get out before 7am but I’m not sure I’ll be able to drag myself out of bed. I love a holiday lie in. Although as one of the ladies pointed out to me I could always have a sneaky snooze on a sun lounger later in the day!
Some ladies preferred to run in the evenings after the children had gone to bed. Again, this helps limit disruption to family time. Another great suggestion was running back from daytrips. Have a lovely family day out and then run back to where you are staying. Hopefully just in time for a slap up meal and a few chilled drinks.
Some resorts have air-conditioned gyms and if you are lucky enough to be staying in one there will be times when a run on the treadmill is preferable to slogging it out in the heat outside!
How can I plan my running routes when I’m on holiday?
A number of RMRs recommended the Footpath app to plan routes while away. Planning a decent route can keep you safer and more motivated. Other ladies recommended seeing what routes other local runners do on Strava and picking one to try.
It’s also worth seeing if your holiday destination has a parkrun. Everyone loves a little parkrun tourism.
Check out the local tourist information and pick up any local walking maps. You can use these to plan routes and sight see at the same time.
What can I expect to achieve on my holiday runs?
The lovely RMR ladies urged me to be realistic about what I could achieve during a holiday run. The heat can make runs seem much harder as can the little holiday indulgences we allow ourselves. For most of us there is little point trying to stick to a rigid and tough training plan while away on holiday. Most ladies recommended sticking to short runs and even trying to add in some cross training such as HIIT or Tabata sessions for the days when you can’t or don’t want to run.
Ultimately, you are on holiday. This is a great reason to run slowly, take in the views, take pictures and run without pressure. It should be enjoyable and fun. Be kind to yourself and don’t push as hard as you would at home. Enjoy the different location and change of pace.
It’s important to pay attention to your hydration if you are running in heat. It’s worth carrying some water with you – even of short runs. For more information about hydrating properly read this Run Mummy Run article.
What’s great about running on holiday?
Everyone recommended that I make the most of my location. For me that will mean gorgeous hilly runs through leafy woodland and deep, cool valleys near the river. For other women it means running along the beach. A word of warning running on sand is not easy and is taxing on the legs! Don’t expect to be able to do a 5k run on sand straight off.
If you are staying by the coast coastal paths are beautiful and generally easy to follow. Plus it’s great to quickly remove your trainers and electronics and run straight into the sea to cool off. Who doesn’t need a ready-made ice bath? It is also easy to justify buying yourself an ice cream or a cold beer at the end of your run – purely for recovery purposes 😉
So that’s it, I have no excuses. I will run on my holiday. I’m packing my running kit and am excited about exploring new routes. I’ll let you know how I get on!
We’d love to hear about your holiday runs. What is your most memorable holiday run? What made it so special?
For holiday running inspiration check out the #RMRontour hashtag on Twitter and Facebook