Travelling makes habits difficult to keep – especially running habits. At home you know your work up, you know your run and you can let your mind drift off while your body does all the work. You don’t need to think: you know the roads, the sights and sounds – even some of the other runners out there.
A good run will help you de-stress after travel, give you time to clear your head before a day of meetings and give you a good feel for the place you’ve just arrived in.
When you’re away from home, you might need to work out where to run, you might need to find somewhere to do your warm up and cool down. It’s easy to find an excuse to not run if you are away from home, but a bit of preparation will keep you running wherever you are.
Make it the last thing you pack, so it’s the first thing you take out when you arrive. It’ll motivate you to get out there and shake off the travel funk. Best to pack two sets, so smelly gear isn’t allowed to put you off after a couple of days. Don’t even think about letting missing gear become an excuse.
Sure, your stuff smells lovely when you pack it, but if you can’t get to the laundry, your sweaty shoes and kit will make the rest of your clothes smell pretty bad. A plastic or airtight kit bag means you can travel back home or to the next stop without stinking out your other clothes.
Business travel usually means you arrive the day before your meeting, so take some down time to run off the travel funk. Ask hotel staff or concierges to point you in the direction of a good place to run. Or you could download an app to help you map your track. A good run will help you de-stress after travel, give you time to clear your head before a day of meetings and give you a good feel for the place you’ve just arrived in. All that, and you’ll sleep better for a bit of exercise, leaving you ready for business.
These days, there are loads of touring apps. See if there’s one for your destination and instead of doing a walking tour of the place you’re visiting, run it! You’ll see loads more than you would if you just ran round the block a few times or stuck to doing a cardio session in your hotel room.
It goes without saying, but if you run with any tech or gadgets, make sure you pack everything you need: battery, charger, pack – all the trappings modern-day running requires.
This is a fun one – a friend of mine introduced me to the idea: for every new place he visits, he creates his own playlist to listen to. Add local favourites or songs that feel right for that place. Run for a few days with the same songs, and it won’t be long until you have song memories to take you back to running along a foreign beach, through a beautiful city park or through tree-lined streets of a place you would never had explored if you hadn’t laced your running shoes up.
If you are in a place for more than a few days, there’s no better way to meet new people and especially locals than by joining a runner’s club or group. You’ll find people that share your mindset and usually runners are very keen to welcome visitors for a few days. If you’re on business, mention you’re a runner in emails before you meet – you might even be able to tackle some of the points of discussion in your running kit. It’s worth asking! Try it.
Now what? You should be out of excuses for not conquering the world in your running shoes!
Colin Jackson (48) is the International Sports Director of the Wings for Life World Run and two-time 110m hurdles world champion.
Pauly Plewa, Niagara Falls, 2015
Lemawork Ketema, Global Champion 2014 and 2015
Daniel Ricciardo, Race number 1 and Formula 1 driver
Mike Shaw, Canadian ski coach
Michael Wardian, Local winner in Melbourne, Australia in 2015 and Sunrise, Florida in 2014