5 Tips for Running on the Beach

It’s almost spring break! While I will not be frolicking in the sand this month, a good bit of you will be so I thought this would be timely. When I travel,  I get excited to have a new scenic place to run. Let’s face it, friends, Jackson Mississippi isn’t exactly a “pretty” place to run. No mountains, no beach, not many trails. This is why when I go on vacation or work travel, I try to take every opportunity to go for a run in my new surroundings.

tips running beach

Below I have complied a few tips to help you make the most out of your ocean side run.

1.) Run on an even surface: There are a lot of slanted places at the beach, it hurts my ankles just walking on the slanted parts after awhile so I can’t imagine running like that! Sometimes, depending on the tide, this means I can run in packed sand right down by the water, and sometimes it means going up a bit further to find that flat land.

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2.) Wear Shoes: I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, and that’s ok. Personally though, getting a shell in my foot or stepping on a jellyfish barefoot do not sound like a good time. I especially recommend wearing shoes if you have arch or foot problems, running shoes for plantar fasciitis are still needed even when running on sand. I require a more stable shoe due to weak ankles and high arches so I most definitely need shoes on the beach!

3.) Keep your run short: It may be tempting to run forever in such a scenic place, but if you aren’t used to beach running, you will realize that you get sore and tired MUCH more quickly than usual. It’s a great calorie torching workout, but don’t overdo it.

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4.) Protect yourself from the sun: In Destin, the sugar white sandy beaches are beautiful, but boy does the sun reflect off of it! I am always careful to wear sunglasses, and depending on the time of day a hat as well. I also wear plenty of sunscreen when I run on the beach, even if it’s early in the morning. No one wants to be red for the rest of their trip!

5.) Body Glide your feet: One thing I quickly noticed while taking my running shoes out to say hello to the ocean was that sand. gets. everywhere. It’s inevitable, so to protect your feet from getting blisters, try wearing dri-fit socks and putting body glide on your feet to help with rubbing.

running at the beach

Happy running and enjoy the view!

QOTD: Anything I left off? Do you ever run on the beach?

5 Tips for Working out on Vacation

Ah, vacation. A great time to connect with family and friends, eat amazing food, and go somewhere new. Luckily, you can do all of these things and also not forget about your health and your workouts. Here are 5 tips for working out on vacation that have worked for me over the years. I leave for a trip in less than two months, so I’m gearing up for my workouts while I’m away!tips for working out on vacation

1.) Don’t Stress out about it. You are on vacation! If you don’t work out as hard or as much, it’s ok! Just do what you can, when you can.

2.) Take advantage of your new surroundings. One of the reasons I love working out on vacation is that it’s somewhere new to run, with new scenery and places to visit. It makes the workout go by faster!

                                          

3.) Mix it up: If you have access to a pool, swim or tread water while your family catches some rays. Or, you could go for a walk and explore a new city, your resort, or the beach. Surf or snorkel in a tropical paradise. Play golf on a new to you course, or make new friends and play beach volleyball.

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4.) Check out the hotel gym. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised at the nice equipment or a great view out the windows. It makes a difference!

5.) Workout early: Get your workout done before your day starts so then you have extra energy and don’t have the thought of exercise weighing on you all day. Then you can just focus on your family, friends, and creating memories.

QOTD: What is your favorite vacation workout?

Healthy Goals for 2019

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx and Planet Fitness. All opinions are my own.

Here we are, two weeks into a new year, and I am just now getting time to think about my health and fitness goals for the year. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know it started out as a running blog, and then morphed into a lifestyle blog. However, health and fitness is still a huge part of my life (and blog), and I wanted to share some of my top goals for the year in hopes to encourage you to make some goals of your own. I have paired each goal with a “tip” on how you can easily make this goal a reality. Ready? Read on!

1.) Drink more water: I seem to have this on my “list” of things to do every year. I will get in a good groove and do well with it for a little while, but then I slowly forget and know I am dehydrated. I particularly have a hard time in the winter when it’s cold and I don’t feel like drinking lots of cold water.

Tip: Get a really cute water bottle or cup with a fun straw to prompt you to drink more water. Or, set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour reminding you to go drink a glass. Cheers!

2.) Be more mindful of what food I eat: I have been learning a lot lately about macros, which has made me take a good hard look at the amount of carbs, fat, and protein in the foods I eat. I realized I don’t eat enough protein, and I eat a lot more fat than I should be. Just tracking my food intake for a few days was really eye opening!

Tip: Look at all the food labels for a week just to be mindful of what you put in your mouth. There are apps that can help you track macros and keep yourself in check.

3.) Be a good healthy example for Emma Kate: Having a child has most definitely made me more mindful of my habits, good and bad. She mimics everything I do, and I want her to grow up to be healthy and strong. I try my best to let her see me working out, eating healthy foods and snacks, and getting the proper amount of rest.

Tip: Include your kids in grown up activities like cooking a healthy dinner, going for a walk, or grocery shopping for healthy choices.

Show those muscles!

4.) Get to the gym in an affordable way: Gyms can be expensive, but for someone like me who loves strength training, it’s important that I have access to one. I not only love free weights and top of the line machines for lifting, but I love having a treadmill or bike for rainy days (or super hot/cold ones!)

Tip: That’s why I was really excited when I heard about the Planet Fitness “Get Down with Your Judgement Free Self” celebrations to start 2019 off in the best way possible. They have a sale going on right now through January 15th, where new members can join any location for just $1 down (enrollment fee) and $10 a month thereafter, no commitment. Guys, that’s huge! They have so much equipment, you will have everything you need to be fit in 2019. Not to mention, they have a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which they call the Judgement Free Zone®.

They even have Free fitness training is included in all memberships, and cater to everyday people looking to become their best selves. Yes please! They also have fully equipped locker rooms, (they are nice!) flat screen televisions, unlimited small group fitness instruction by a certified trainer through the pe @ pf® program, and much more.

Lastly, Planet Fitness also provides members with a way to connect and support each other with “Planet of Triumphs,” an online community that celebrates accomplishments and inspirational stories of Planet Fitness members. It is a great way to share your story and encourage others, reinforcing the Company’s belief that ‘everyone belongs.’ The sale is only going on for a few more days so act now and find the location nearest you.

Also be sure to check out this video where you can hear more about the awesome sale:

9 Year Blogiversary

Nine years ago, I started a blog. I had never done anything like this before, but my friend had just started one and convinced me to do it. I had just gotten into distance running and was training for my first half marathon. I had a theory, that if I blogged about my training, it would be a great way to hold me accountable. If I said I was running 4 times that week, I had to do it, because you know, my four readers were counting on me. (heh.)

Fast forward a few years and I rebranded from Running with Sass to Through Heather’s Looking Glass.  nine years, and wow. Just…wow. Not only did I not have any idea I would still even BE blogging right now, but I had no idea it would change the entire course of my life. I now help support my family because of my blog. I have made lifelong friends, gotten to go to amazing places, run awesome races, and try fun products. I literally cannot picture my life without it, and it’s funny to think about how different things would be now if I had never taken that leap all those years ago.

If you search the word “blogiversay” on my blog, you can check out several other posts over the years on the topic, so I don’t really feel the need to rehash everything, so I just want to say this:

Life is complicated. Things almost never turn out the way we plan, and we all go through valleys and mountaintops. I have loved sharing mine with you, and hope to get to continue to do so in the future. I hope that in some small way, my blog has touched your life. Whether it be something as simple as a good laugh at my expense, or perhaps something more profound like motivation to become a runner or to start a business of your own. While my blog is for me, it’s also for you. A way for me to give back, to help, and to hopefully inspire.

I pray that I can be a little bit of a light in this sometimes sad and crazy world, and please know I am always here to be your cheerleader, and I love hearing from you.

Next year is the big 1-0, and I know it’s going to be epic. <3

If you DO want to start your own blog, check out my free email course that will get you started. STOP waiting. In 9 years, this could be you looking back over all your years. Let’s do this!

Buy One Give One With Aftershokz

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aftershokz, however, all opinions are my own. Affiliate links may be present, where I get a small commission if you buy through my link.

It’s now November, and the holidays are upon us. It’s my favorite time of year, with all the beautiful decorations, movies on TV, parties, and events. However, there is one aspect of the holidays that can sometimes get overlooked, but it’s a really important one to me. The holidays are a time to give. To give of our time, our resources, and our love. It’s a great time to show your care for friends and strangers alike and recognize people for the goodness in their hearts.

This year, Aftershokz has made it super easy to give something to a deserving person, without it costing you anything extra. Were you maybe planning to buy some amazing wireless headphones this year? First, let me tell you why you need them, then why you need them specifically to give back to someone else with the buy one give one promotion.

In case you aren’t familiar with the brand, AfterShokz is a sport headphone company. These specific wireless headphones are amazing because they allow you to gain motivation from your music without blocking out your surroundings. They rest outside of the ears and use bone conduction technology to transmit sound. Also, AfterShokz headphones are extremely lightweight, and comfy. I usually forget that I am wearing them!

Now for the special promo: This Black Friday weekend, Aftershokz will be offering their wireless headphones at a discount along with a buy one, give one deal. For every order of wireless headphones on the website, they will be adding one FREE open boxed Trekz Titanium headphones, while supplies last.

The goal here is to pay it forward to someone else this holiday season, and Aftershokz is making it easier than ever.
In the pictures in this post, you can see me with my dear friend Kelley. She is such a wonderful, deserving friend and I knew immediately when I heard about this promotion, that she would be the recipient of my extra set of headphones.

Here more about Kelley, the promotion, and why she deserves this special gift in the video below.

Be sure to follow the hashtag #GiveGoodVibes, and use it as well as @aftershokz to show you giving your second pair of headphones to someone else. I can’t wait to see your photos. Happy giving!

Packing for the runDisney Dopey Challenge

A few years ago, I wrote a post about packing for runDisney’s marathon weekend. I even included a fun video to help be your guide, and I thought packing for TWO races (Goofy) would be the most I would ever pack for. Check out that link if you want a super extensive packing list! But today we are talking about the runDisney Dopey Challenge.

packing for rundisney Dopey Challenge

Fast forward to 2014 when I ran the inaugural Dopey Challenge. I felt pretty prepared going in but learned a few tricks that may help you pack and be prepared for 48.6 miles. When running the runDisney Dopey Challenge, remember you will need FOUR of most things. This can get quite confusing when you may also need park clothes, nice clothes for dinners, etc. Here are my best tips for packing for the runDisney Dopey Challenge itself.

1.) Ziploc Bags:  You will need four sports bras, four pairs of socks, four outfits, etc., and it can get confusing as to which you want to wear for what race. To minimize confusion (and a messy suitcase) pack the items you need for each race in a ziplock bag or two, and label the bag with a sharpie. Be flexible. The year I ran one race ended up being way hotter than another, so I ended up switching up what days I wore what costume because one was cooler than the other.

2.) Carry on your shoes: If you are flying, be sure to carry on or wear your running shoes. Most other items are replaceable, but you don’t want to run (especially four races!) in new shoes if your bags get lost! I also carried on my costumes, but feel I would have been ok had I not had them now that I have done the challenge.

3.) Extra running shoes: I brought three pairs and rotated them out for the races. This helped me not get blisters badly on the early days, which would have made the full miserable on day 4. Also, in case one pair gets soaking wet, muddy, etc. you will want to have a backup pair for the other races, or for going to the parks.

4.) Lots of fuel: I take fuel/GU every 4ish miles, so between my husband and I we consumed a lot! (They also sell GU etc. at the expo but don’t try anything new for the race!) Also, keep in mind your hydration. I think runDisney does a great job of providing liquids on course so I have never brought my own water bottles, but you do you if that’s what you are used to doing!

5.) Recovery aids: In between each race there are certain things you can do to minimize stiffness and aches for the next race. I brought my traveling stick/foam roller, ibuprofen (do not take ibuprofen before a race, take Tylenol if you must!) compression socks and pants, and Biofreeze. You can also bring extra Ziploc bags for ice at your hotel or just take an ice bath.

6.) Gear for multiple weather scenarios: It’s Florida in January. You literally never know what it will be. I have run in 17 degrees and snow flurries, and ran an 85-degree marathon, all the same weekend in January a few years apart! Bring throw away gear just in case, as well as rain gear (related: tips for running in the rain.) and make sure you have layers especially if you have certain costumes you are wearing. Don’t plan a costume that only looks good with long pants in case it’s hot, and vise versa, don’t only plan one with tank tops or you may freeze! have options just in case.

I hope everyone has a wonderful race experience in January at the runDisney Dopey Challenge!

For information on runDisney events, registration, and dates be sure to check out runDisney.com

Running on the Treadmill Without Losing Your Mind

I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. I tend to go through phases, and luckily for me I am currently in a “love” phase. Maybe it’s because it’s warmer outside, or maybe because I am finally seeing some speed and progress because of my indoor adventures, but whatever the reason, it has been working for me lately.

running on the treadmill

I really don’t run well in hot humid weather (but really, who does?), and Bobby doesn’t like me running out on the highway alone, so I have been logging a lot more gym miles this year. Here you will find my best tips for treadmill running without losing your mind. Trust me, it can be done without you wanting to throw a kettlebell through the gym window, and the results will be well worth it.

1.) Watch TV: I know this is not possible in all cases, but if you have a treadmill at home and can position it in front of a TV, or watch one at the gym, it can really help pass the time. I am lucky in that each treadmill at my gym has their own TV, so I can plug my headphones in and watch whatever I want. I tend to long-run best when a good movie is on, so I try to schedule my time when I know something worth watching is going to be on. Also, streaming movies on Hulu or Netflix can help pass the time, and you may not WANT to stop running! No TV? Just use your phone or tablet and binge watch something really exciting!

2.) Intervals: The great thing about a treadmill is controlled speed. I sometimes spend my time playing games with intervals. For example, warm up, run five minutes at a 6.0, the 2 minutes at a 7.0, etc. etc. It makes the time go by a lot faster constantly changing up your speed and keeping your mind off of the drudgery. Set mini goals for yourself or try to run the next interval faster than the last.

3.) Race the person next to you: Come on, you know you do it too. If there is someone next to me going just a little faster or farther than me, I pretend like we are racing. I tell no lies. My gym stays pretty busy so there is always someone new to “race!” It pushes me and makes things interesting, even though they have no idea we are competing!

4.) Distract yourself: This could mean a lot of things. I sometimes start thinking about all the things I have coming up that I need to do, things to get at the store, planning a vacation etc. I have heard of people planning meals for the week, coming up with business proposals, or drafting e-mails in their head while they run to pass the time. I also like to pray when I run. Multitasking for the win!

5.) Work on your form: When I get tired, I tend to lose my running form. My shoulders slump, my feet drag, my breathing is erratic, and I expend more energy than necessary. Treadmill running is a great time to focus hard and work on your form and tweak those minor issues that can make a big difference in time and injury prevention.

6.) Hills, hills, hills: This is especially good if you live in a flat area. Being able to raise and lower your incline on command is a great way to train for a hilly race or to work on your endurance and leg strength. It will make flat running seem like a piece of cake!

QOTD: What do you do to pass the time on the treadmill? What is the longest you have ever run on a treadmill, I have run 16 miles!

Related: 8 Tips for running in the rain

8 Tips for Running in the Rain

Update: This post originally appeared in August of 2011 and has been updated for October 2018.

I have run several races in the rain, including the inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Providence half marathon, where there were torrential downpours the entire race. I definitely did some things wrong in that race in regards to running in the rain, but I learned some lessons and tricks to help you survive a rainy run.

8 tips for running in the rain

Remember, it’s just rain. It won’t kill you, so go running anyway! (Unless there is lightning or a tornado…then you are on your own!)

8 Tips for running in the rain:

1.) Wear a hat. This will help keep your head drier and help to keep water drops from pelting you in the face. Not getting water all in your face will make it not so bad.

2.) Waterproof your phone/iPod. No, you don’t have to have some expensive special case, a ziplock bag will do! I kept my phone in my Ziploc the whole race and it was fine afterward! Also, I could still type on the touch screen through the bag.

3.) Body Glide.  Even if you don’t normally chafe or blister, use Body Glide anyway. I don’t normally chafe badly but I did under ONE arm and on the outside of the leg  where the pocket was I kept my phone in. I heard people saying they usually don’t get blisters but because of squishy shoes, they did during this race.

4.) Wear moisture wicking fabric/clothing. Honestly, you should be doing this ANYWAY, but it will help keep you from chafing more than cotton will, and it will keep you more dry.

5.) Dress warmly. The rain will most likely make it a few degrees cooler than you anticipated, so take that into consideration when planning your race day outfit.

6.) Get out of your wet clothes ASAP! Prior to the race, use the gear check if there is one available, or run back to your hotel to shower and change, but don’t stay in your wet clothes! You need to dry off and get the chill out of your body.

7.) A garbage bag makes a great poncho. Seriously. Been there done that. Even if you don’t run in it, it can at least keep you dry while you wait for the race to start.

8.) Evaluate and possibly change your expectation. If you were thinking you were going to PR in said rainy day weather you still can, but don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t. There are other things to consider besides the actual rain that can slow you down. For instance, in Providence, at times it was raining so hard the drains in the streets couldn’t keep up with it, so there was standing water RUSHING over the street knocking your feet out from under you. Also, there were puddles everywhere and I couldn’t tell how deep they were, which could have caused me to twist an ankle. I treaded a lot more lightly than usual because of this. There were also several steep downhills I was afraid of slipping on in my wet slippery shoes. Take precautions and watch your footing. There will be other races! Think of it as an experience, and as a “mental PR!”

tips for running in the rain

QOTD: Do you have any other rainy day running tips?

Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission if you purcahse through my link.

4 Easy Tips for Choosing a Running Route

Update: This post originally appeared in the summer of 2012, and has been updated for October 2018.

Whether you subconsciously do it or not, a lot of thought goes into planning a running route. People have preferences depending on training run, time of day, traffic, amount of people, and so on. I wanted to go into a little bit of detail about some of these options to help you (and myself!) plan the best running routes for your enjoyment and safety. Here are my tips for choosing a running route:

no matter where you are running, you can always take selfies while you workout!

 

1.) Type of run:

 

This will weigh heavily on some of the other things I mention so I thought I would bring it up first. A long run or an easy run may take you anywhere on any terrain at any time, but for a hill workout, for instance, you need well…a route with hills! So point being, take these suggestions with a grain of salt and adjust them according to the needs of your run for that day. Also, I get bored pretty quickly and would rather run a loop somewhere as opposed to up and down the same streets over and over. Example: My parents live in a big neighborhood with a clubhouse in the middle. When I visit, I park at the clubhouse and put water and fuel there, then run in one direction and back to my car, then the other direction and back to my car. This way I don’t get bored on the same streets!

2.) Safety:

This is way important, especially in light of things happening to people on running trails in the news over the past couple of years. Please don’t be one of those people who say “it will never happen to me”, because that thought alone makes you vulnerable. If you are running alone, you need to REALLY consider running:

-in an area with a lot of people.

-out in the open (not on a trail in the woods).

-carrying a taser, pepper spray,* your cell phone.

-when the sun is up and the area is well lit.

-with reflective gear on to make yourself visible.

-ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Bobby refuses to let me run out on the highway or on the trails by myself, and I totally understand why. Even if you live in a “safe area” bad things can happen. Being observant and not playing your music too loud so it drowns out approaching people or animals can be a hindrance. Wearing headphones that still allow ambient noise is something I would highly suggest if you must listen to music.

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I run along the beach during the day when there is a lot of traffic and other people out on the path. I always carry my cell phone and wear my road ID.

3.) Weather:

The biggest weather concern where I live is the heat and humidity. A lot of thought goes into my weekend long runs due to the glaring sun and high temps. Running early in the morning or late in the evening is something I try to do (when Bobby is with me of course). We also try our best to find well-shaded areas, areas without a lot of traffic, and areas with water fountains, or a turn around point where we can pass by the car for extra fuel and water. Trails are a great option for the heat if they are shaded but you may need to bring along your own water bottle depending on the location.

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these trees don’t provide much shade.

Running in the rain is ok (as long as it’s not lightning) but be careful running on roads, as they can be slippery and cars may not be able to brake as well. We don’t get a lot of cold weather, but when we do we bundle up and hit a sunny route to keep us warm and try to stay out of the wind as much as possible.

4.) Distance/scenery:

I will be the first to admit I get pretty bored on long runs. Having somewhere new to run can be a great change and make things more interesting. Depending on the distance you need to go, you can plan to run a loop (not as boring) or an out and back (way boring!). I prefer to run on a beach or Boardwalk, or where there are a lot of people so I have different things to look at. Also, to keep boredom away, try running your usual route backward. I have different places I run depending on how far I have to go. (3 mile loop, 6 mile loop, etc). Also, don’t count out the treadmill to mix things up! I have done 10 mile long runs, half outside and half on a treadmill when it gets too hot outside.

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The lakefront in Louisiana is a beautiful place to run.

It may be a slight inconvenience to drive somewhere to run, but if it will help me run faster and be less bored, I am willing to drive a bit to get the job done.

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beach running is fun (but so tough!)

The same goes for picking races. I try to choose ones in fun cities, or somewhere scenic. I ran an out and back race that went through this boring road with no houses one time and it was 13.1 miles of torture!

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races along the beach are a lot of fun

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So are races in Disney World!

Bottom line, with a little bit of planning and effort on your part, you can make running more fun and not as “boring”. If you are stuck in a training rut, try to make sure you are having the best experience based on the weather, times of day, your safety, scenery, and the type of run.

QOTD: Do you have any other tips for choosing a running route?

Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel

*Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you purchase from it, I get a small commission.

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

Update: This post on 5 Tips for Running When you Travel first appeared in 2015, and I have now updated it, in October of 2018. 

If you are anything like me, you might make excuses when you are traveling for why you can’t go for a run. I have used every logic possible to talk myself out of a run, but in the end, I always regret not running when I travel. When I’m traveling, no matter if it’s by car or air, I always tend to eat more unhealthy than I do at home, and I’m sitting more than I do at home, so if there was ever a time I needed to run, traveling is when it is! So below I have compiled 5 Tips for running when you travel. Enjoy!

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

1.) Research the area: It’s not wise to just take off running from your hotel without knowing a bit about the area. Maybe you could even try to connect with local runners on social media and ask them their favorite routes. Traveling is a great time for exploring a new place! Maybe find a route that has a convenience store you can stop at along the way for a bottle of water, or a park with a scenic trail. Remember, knowledge is power!

2.) Pack well: I know there are a million thoughts going in and out of your head when trying to pack for a trip, and thinking about running gear may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you have everything you need all together in one bag you may be more likely to actually go for a run when you reach your destination. I bring a drawstring bag with my GPS watch, headbands, GU, body glide, sunglasses*, etc. whenever I travel so there is no excuse and no rummaging around in my suitcase. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a couple running outfits and my shoes!

3.) Be safe: Always tell someone where you plan to run and what time you will be back, even if it’s a text to a friend or a front desk worker at the hotel. Be mindful of your surroundings! If you listen to music, make sure you can still hear your surroundings. You need to be on the lookout, especially in a bigger city where you may be crossing streets or around a lot more cars.

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Stopped at a crosswalk on a group run in Boston at the Healthy Living Summit.

4.) Make time: This is a big one for me! Travel wears me out y’all. The last thing I want to do after a long day of driving or flying is lace up my running shoes! It is important to look at your schedule and pencil in a time to hit the hotel gym or run the roads, or it may not actually happen. Sometimes the only available time is late at night, but it’s a good excuse to get out of your boring hotel room.

5.) Call the hotel: Hotel workers are your friend! Usually, they are super knowledgeable of the area, and can hopefully tell you areas you should probably avoid, or a place where runners go on the weekend to log some longer miles. They may even be able to give you the number of a local running store you can call for help as well. It never hurts to ask!

Thanks for checking out my 5 Tips for Running When you Travel.

QOTD: What is your best tip for running in a new place? To you venture outside or stick to the hotel gym?

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I receive a small commission.