We seem to be in the middle of a dramatic shift in the way people choose to spend their disposable income. According to the HSBC and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, total personal consumption has nearly doubled in the U.S. over the last 15 years, with spending on items such as cars and home furnishings decreasing and spending on accommodations and recreation steadily increasing. Who dies with the most toys no longer wins; memories are what matter, and the best way to create them is through experiences. So it’s no surprise that people are traveling more than before, and that includes running and walking more on vacation.
Instead of just lounging on the beach, some people choose to get active. Combining running with your vacation is a natural fit. In fact, there’s even a catchy term for it: a “runcation.” Maybe you pick a marathon or half marathon in a different city and base your vacation around the event. Or you could simply choose an exotic location and plan daily runs as way to see the most sights. Afterall, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a place than to lace up your shoes and go for a run.
Before you strap on your Fitbit device and rack up steps, take a few moments to calculate your moves and make sure each moment of your fitness vacation is time well spent.
Pinpoint Your Areas Of Interest
Start out with a plan of what you want to see. Then use a service like Strava Local, which provides athlete-curated city running guides with specific routes to follow. I recently traveled to Peru for my very own runcation. While there, I visited three very different regions: Lima, Huancayo, and Cusco.
My runs there were part workout, part sightseeing. Each had its own distinctive flare, and running through these areas gave me an intimate glance into the culture and customs of the people in a way that a typical tour does not. The pace and duration of the runs depended on the spacing between the various sites I wanted to visit and whether anything interesting popped up along the way. I spent a lot of extra time visiting the farmers’ market in Cusco which proved to be one of the highlights of my trip!
Talk To Locals
I found some local runners to serve as guides for me during this trip. Chatting with people who live in the town is a helpful resource that’s available to anyone. And conversations can go beyond asking for directions, getting tips on where to see the prettiest sunset, or requesting directions to the nearest campgrounds. Do the legwork to make the most of local expertise as it pertains to your individual journey.
For instance, in Cusco I found an organization online called “GO! Running Tours Cusco” that caters to individuals and groups looking to tour the city on foot. With operations like that across the globe, there’s no excuse not to immerse yourself in the expertise of local guides. You can also contact local running clubs or visit a running specialty store. The people there have a wealth of knowledge on places to run and sites to see.
Challenge Yourself And Have Fun
During that running tour in Cusco, we explored ancient ruins, ran through the main square, visited the farmers’ market, and stopped at a wonderful restaurant for lunch. When all was said and done, we’d covered about 18 miles that day.
If you’re interested in keeping up your training or getting in a hard run, I would suggest doing it earlier in the day. The pace inevitably slackens when the touring kicks in. Our pace was constantly changing, from slower and conversational to one that made it nearly impossible for me to catch my breath. (And it was no wonder: The Altimeter app on my Fitbit Ionic read 11,200 feet above sea level!) The varied paces were fine because the run was both about fitness and travel—enjoying downtime while fitting in a heart-pumping workout. If nothing else, seeing a place at seven miles per hour is an experience you will never forget.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.