The Traveling Runner

When late August and early September roll around, it means one thing for me: Travel.

I travel a significant amount for my job (although a lot less this year) mostly between September and Thanksgiving. There are obviously huge advantages to traveling for work as well when it comes to running. I get to run in new and different areas and a lot of times I get to reconnect with running friends I’ve made in different cities. This is also a big reason I’ve gotten the opportunity to run races in states I wouldn’t otherwise travel to.

But sometimes training on the road can be a challenge. When I travel in the Midwest, I’m typically driving about 1,000 miles per week (Monday-Friday) and meeting with about four to five high schools and their students per day. Some days it can, admittedly, be a challenge to get out and run.

Other than weariness, there are a couple other challenges to squeezing in runs when you aren’t operating on a usual schedule. One big one can be lack of knowledge of the area. I hate getting lost on a run, especially if I have a time crunch. If you don’t know the area, or where to run, it can be difficult to get out and get a quality run in. Often, I find myself running slower with the same effort, because my brain is firing at a million times per hour. Do I turn here? What about that way? Where does this path go? Will I have to turn around? None of these things are problems when you are running in a familiar place.

Time is another big one. Your window to run may be smaller when traveling, so it’s important to make the most of it. If you know the area, get used to waking up in the morning, you can always wake up early (even if it sucks sometimes). But a lot of times you may need to squeeze in a run between meetings or appointments. Example: when I used to travel to Colorado and California, I would have (or would schedule in) about a five hour gap between high school visits and college fairs. There’s your running window. But that can be a challenge as well. You have to get ready, run, hope nothing slows you down or extends the run, shower (hopefully), and get back to your appointment.

There have been many times in Colorado where I ran and went straight to my next appointment after changing clothes in the car. No shower (sorry high schoolers…I don’t need to impress you). I’ve also been known to go from a race to work without a shower. Whoops.

However, other than seeing new areas, there is a HUGE benefit to running while traveling. If you are running a destination race, or travel outside a regular distance to run a race, you know what to expect. You’ll know how to prepare outside the comfort of your own home. It is different prep, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

I get to encounter this starting tomorrow. I’m off to a different city after I’m done in the office tomorrow, and I’m sure as heck not interested in finding a spin class in a different place, and then going at about 8 with no dinner. So it’ll be morning spin and a rush to shower and get to work after. Then the toss up of going for a morning run on Thursday, or heading out after driving back to work. Morning please.

Here’s to the traveling runner.

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