Can you believe that I”m running the Rock-n-Roll marathon in just 4 weeks?? AHHHH! I hope it’s just as amazing as the Marine Corps Marathon was.
When I realized that the hubster and I were going to be on vacation during my 20 mile long run week, I immediately started trying to figure out a way to make my training plan fit my vacation schedule so I wouldn’t have to run 20 miles on my own. During my vacation. *face palm* Needless to say, the only thing I came up with was the realization that while I may take vacations, my training plan doesn’t.
Ouch. So once I owned up to that fact, I came up with three options:
- Skip training altogether.
- Modify or reduce the amount of miles to run (or bike/swim etc).
- Suck it up Buttercup and log those workouts.
I know this is a tough one, but hopefully you were able to figure out the right option. While #1 sounds fun, it spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r for whatever event you’re training for. #2 isn’t a terrible alternative, but #3 is really the correct option.
Alright, #3 it is; you’ve decided to knock out your training runs – great! But how do you do that safely in a strange city, on unfamiliar terrain, by yourself? I’m so glad you asked!
Tips for training safely while on vacation:
Plan your route ahead of time. USA Track and Field has an amazing tool that will help you build a course in any of the 50 states. You can look at courses in the area that others have created or you can create your own. It’s a nifty (yes, I did just say nifty) little tool. I encourage you to try it out even for spicing up your local runs.
Verify the safety of the route. If you’re staying with family, talk to them to see what they think of the route you have planned. Not staying with family or friends? Talk to the hotel staff. They’ll let you know if it’s safe or not.
Make yourself accountable. Tell your family/friends where you plan on running, what time you’re going to start and an estimated finish time. Don’t deviate from this because if something happens this could provide police with vital information.
Try not to run before the sun comes up. Because you’re running in unfamiliar territory, it’s best to wait until the sun has come up. If this means splitting up your runs, so be it. This weekend, I ran 8 miles on the treadmill (bleh) before finishing the remaining 12 outside. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
Listen to your gut. Let’s face it, we all have those unexplained hair-raising moments in life. Don’t ignore those feelings. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your intuition and turn around.
Bring protection. And I’m not just talking sunscreen. You never know when you’re going to encounter a scary dog (or person) so it’s not a bad idea to carry pepper spray with you. Since I’m somewhat clumsy, I was concerned about running with pepper spray at first. I just kept thinking I would end up unintentionally spraying myself. I’m happy to report I haven’t done that yet.
I’ve heard of some women carrying a small gun with them but that just seems insanely dangerous to me. I’m cool with the pepper spray. I just have a simple pepper spray but Ruger make some really awesome ones complete with strobe lights and piercing alarms.
Stay unplugged. I know that running or biking to music provides an often much needed distraction but really you don’t need to be distracted when out on your own. You need to be aware of your surroundings able to react if necessary. Yes, it was tough at first running 20 miles without any music but by the end of the miles, I was enjoying the sound of my feet, the pattern of my breathing and the scenery around me.
So there you have it; my safety tips for training while on vacay. I followed each one of those tips and enjoyed my long run tremendously. I know, I’m the rare breed of people that really enjoys long distance running. I finished my 20 mile run in 3:28:18 which is a 10:24 pace.
Disclaimer, this totally wasn’t the post I was planning on writing. I was originally going to yammer about my 20 miler but I like how this post turned out. Hopefully you found it helpful.
Question: What precautions do you take to keep yourself safe while exercising?