Training Doesn’t Take Vacations

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:

  1. Skip training altogether.
  2. Modify or reduce the amount of miles to run (or bike/swim etc).
  3. 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.

8 miles on a TM isn't my ideal start to a long run but it worked.

8 miles on a TM isn’t my ideal start to a long run 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.

This pepper spray has a band that slips around your palm.  Perfect and it didn't bother me at all.

This pepper spray has a band that slips around your palm. Perfect and it didn’t bother me at all.

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.

My view. <3

My view. ❤

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.

Hubby couldn't stop laughing at me when I got back to the condo.  Between my Camelbak, pepper spray and non-matching outfit, I do look a bit scary.

Hubby couldn’t stop laughing at me when I got back to the condo. Between my Camelbak, pepper spray and non-matching outfit, I do look a bit scary.

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?

30 thoughts on “Training Doesn’t Take Vacations

  1. Those are all such great precautions and tips, Gina!!! Good for you for getting the runs in even though it was your vacation weekend!!! I actually have the very same pepperspray container! Hope you have a fabulous Friday!

  2. These are great tips! Need to snag some of that pepper spray. I’m training for a half with a couple of weekend getaways in between now & the race in March so I’ll be keeping these in mind on those Saturdays when I don’t want to train 🙂

  3. I think this is all really great. I’m glad it didn’t get in the way of enjoying your vacation and you won’t feel as anxious about not getting your runs in. It’s so important to make sure you’re safe in unfamiliar places.

  4. Youre SO MY HERO! I love my pepper gel – sticks to others and doesn’t spray back! Take that would-be muggers! And I totally agree with being unplugged…helps avoid tripping too 😉

  5. I am new to running and man, I really need to be better about protection. Where did you get the pepper spray with a band? I definitely need one of those.

  6. These are great tips!!! I’m so proud of you for sticking to your plan and getting that 20miler in even on your mini vacay! You’re going to rock NOLA hard!

    p.s. I really need to get a little mini pepper spray for when I go out on my lone runs. There are always those “areas” that I tend to pick up my pace a bit and my nerves are on full alert.

    • I’ve decided that we’re totally cut from the same cloth, Nicole!

      It might be time to get a new one if the expiration sticker has run off. 😉 The one above is from Academy Sports and was only $10. Totally worth it and I didn’t even notice it in my hand.

  7. Honestly when I’m on vacation, I tend to run and workout in some sort of gym. I don’t like to get lost (which I have 90% of the time) so just stay indoors. Unless the weather was gorgeous I suppose, but then I’d do loops. Great post!

  8. Great post with some helpful tips! I keep forgetting I need to get involved with some pepper spray. I’m very paranoid, haha

    • So glad you found it helpful, Amanda! I definitely recommend some pepper spray if you run alone often. I’m not sure why I waited so long to get mine. And it’s good to be a bit paranoid. 😉

  9. Oh my gosh this pepper spray is amazing!! I get SO scared at times running alone, even around my own area!! I have thought about a small gun, but lets be real I am so scared of guns and I could see it shooting off my lady bits if I kept it in my pants. This is seriously perfect, thank you so much for posting it. I think it’s amazing you did that run on vacation!! I am sure you were so glad you did too, great time too!

  10. Awesome tips! I travel a lot and try to keep up with my training or just get out for some scenic runs while I am in new cities, but you are so right about being prepared and taking the right precautions in a new city.

    Where did you get that pepper spray with holder? I’ve never carried anything like that, but think it’s a great idea.

    • That’s awesome your so diligent about running while away on business. Running in new places is definitely a great way to enjoy where you are and see something other than a hotel. The pepper spray came from Academy Sports and was $10. Best $10 purchase for me in awhile.

  11. You don’t look scary – you look like a runner.
    I constantly run in things I would never leave the house in otherwise.
    This is such a great reminder. Training never stops. I am glad you squeezed it in on vacation.
    I only had a 9 miler in CA, but was so happy that I had done it afterwards.
    I will miss you at NoLa this year, but it is on my 2014 list for sure.

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