Mara Yamauchi Blog: Running on Holiday
27 March 2015
Spring has finally arrived and that means longer days and warmer weather… which makes running all the more enjoyable after the long, cold nights of winter. This weekend the clocks go forward and we can look forward to several months of bright mornings and balmy evenings. There really isn’t much that can beat an English summer, especially if you love running!
Photos by marimo images
The Easter holidays remind me of what a treat it is to run while you’re away on holiday. I often get asked – “I’m going skiing for a week, so how should I train?”, or “It’s hard to keep my training routine going through the holidays – any tips?” In fact, running while you’re enjoying a break away is full of possibilities, but you just need a bit of forward-planning.
When I’ve been in an unfamiliar place, I love running early in the mornings when the streets are quiet and the locals are just getting going for the day. You can enjoy your destination before it’s packed with tourists or traffic, and of course you can cover much more ground if you’re running than if you’re walking. Before going away on a trip, I always have a good look on Google Earth or a map of the local area to check out some interesting running routes, local parks, trails or river banks. Then I’ve got my bearings when I arrive and can head out for a run confident that I know where I’m going. And if you run early in the morning, then the day is free for sight-seeing, relaxing, and generally enjoying yourself.
No holiday is complete without tasting the local food and drinks, but that might mean returning home with more weight than you’d like. The dreaded holiday bulge can be hard to prevent – but of course running is fantastic for this! Running in the mornings gets your metabolism going for the day and helps to stop you piling on the pounds while still enjoying a few holiday indulgences.
Being organised with your packing will help with keeping your training routine going while away from home. I always pack a portable washing line, a travel-sized tube of hand-washing detergent, and running kit that dries easily, as well as the essentials like a hat, trainers (which are also good for walking and sight-seeing), and a lightweight jacket (with a pocket for carrying local money and the all-important address of where I’m staying).
If your holiday destination or plans really make it difficult to run, such as skiing all day from an ice-covered, snowy resort, then don’t despair. Sometimes a small break can be refreshing and rekindle your love of running. And if you really want to keep a routine going, you can always substitute a simple body-weight strength & conditioning workout for your usual running. You might find that when you return home and pick up where you left off, it’s easier than you think to get back into the routine of training.
Going for a run in a new, fresh, unfamiliar place can be great for adding variety to your training, boosting your motivation, and trying new kinds of running. With a bit of forward-planning, an open mind and a sense of adventure, running on holiday can be really terrific. Why not give it a try?!
Mara Yamauchi is a retired British marathon runner with a personal best of 2:23:12 set in the 2009 London Marathon, a time which ranks her as the 2nd fastest British female marathon runner ever. Mara is also a qualified Run England group leader and Athletics Coach.