If you’re a runner — or maybe a walker — then I’m here to encourage you to keep running while you travel.
Yes, I know. You’re on holiday.
You want to take a break from your daily life — including your exercise routine.
But hear me out on this.
There are some fabulous benefits to continue your running habit.
And I promise it won’t interfere with your fun.
So let’s dive into some of these benefits.
Running will help you stay healthy as you travel.
Did you read my recent post on staying healthy as you travel?
If not then I’m deeply hurt — and disappointed.
If you did then you get a gold star.
And you know that one of my tips is to continue to exercise as you travel because it will help you stay healthy as you wander around Italy or Germany or Ireland.
You see exercise — in this case running — helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body. So you’re heart, lungs, brain and other vital organs are getting the oxygen and other vital nutrition (vitamins, minerals, cellular “stuff”) they need to keep in good working order.
And when your body is a well-oiled machine, then you have more energy.
Which means you have the stamina to experience your trip to the fullest.
Running or walking will increase your endorphins so your mood will be lifted. And it will help decrease stress.
If you’re a regular runner or walker then you know how wonderful it feels when you finish your workout.
You feel awesome, right? Like you can do anything.
You’re in a good mood.
That’s because running — and even walking — can increase the release of those mood lifting chemicals in your brain.
Now I know you are probably thinking, “I’m already traveling so naturally I’m in a good mood because I’m seeing all these incredible sites and doing all these cool things.”
But there are times as you travel when you may feel a bit out of sorts or overwhelmed or even stressed.
So by strapping on those runners and getting out for a bit — whether it’s in a city, a town or somewhere in the countryside — and doing something “routine” will help to put you in the proper frame of mind.
You’ll release some stress and anxiety that can come with travel. And you’ll come back refreshed and rejuvenated.
And your travel partner (if you have one) will be thankful.
You were getting a bit snarky.
Running through a destination is a wonderful way to see that destination — and to get the lay of the land.
One of my favorite reasons to run is simply to get to know a place.
So if I’ve arrived late in the day, I get up the next morning and go out for a run.
I might get a bit lost, but it’s such a fabulous way to find out where sites or restaurants are. Or to find a nice area to photograph a gorgeous landscape.
When I was in Venice I remember getting out early before the tourists were crowding St Mark’s Square. It was a such a treat to see it without the throngs of people. It was me, a couple of locals heading to work and some pigeons.
As I ran through the vineyards of the Valpolicella wine region in northern Italy I saw vineyards that I would later visit. And I found a few spots to come back to photograph.
I remember noting a restaurant or a view as I ran around the Greek village of Oia on Santorini. I went back to those places to eat and to photograph.
Running in the morning can be especially gratifying as you’ll probably see some pretty amazing light as it hits the buildings, the mountains or the sea.
And yes while you may find yourself getting lost, you’ll find your way back.
Running or walking really is a great way to find your way around and to test your sense of direction.
Running as you travel is a fabulous way to become a local — even for a short time.
I talked about running in Venice and seeing St Mark’s Square without the tourists.
But I also saw shops beginning to open with the locals chatting with each other. Goods were being delivered. The city was coming alive — with the locals.
I stayed for about 9 days in Bozuburn, Turkey and ran many of those days. I ran the same route which took me by a little store and by the same locals hanging out there each morning.
By the third time they waved to me.
And when I returned with my camera one day, they let me photograph them.
I felt like a local as they welcomed me into their world.
As I ran through the village of Oia on the Greek Island of Santorini I got to know the street dogs. And they got to know me as we ran along the pedestrian ways together.
I became a local — if only for those moments.
Running = local
Running as you travel has so many benefits.
The physical and mental benefits of running are well-known.
But we forget about these other benefits that blend travel with running (or walking).
And while it may be difficult to find the time, there is time. You just have to make it a priority.
Maybe you go out first thing in the morning.
Or maybe you run or walk in that time just before dinner.
I can tell you — from my experience — that some of my fondest memories of my travels are from my runs.
The light hitting the grapevines in both Tuscany and Valpolicella.
The peace and quiet of St Mark’s Square.
Friendly locals in Bozburun.
The late day light hitting the sea in Roundstone.
Running with the street dogs in Oia.
So be sure to pack your runners.
Because you’ll come home with a suitcase full of memories.