Running Abroad

Running Abroad

The Dos & Don'ts

Running is one the easiest ways to get in a little exercise while traveling, and a GREAT way to see more of a place you’re visiting. But running in another country comes with a little more planning and education. Running culture is popular in the United States but less so in other places, so there are a few things to consider before getting those miles (or km!) in. 

  1. If you don’t already own quick-drying technical run gear, invest in some. To save space, pack one running outfit and rinse out to use the next day. Most technical gear these days is made well enough that a quick rinse can get you through a couple of wearings. 

  2. Regarding clothing, research and respect the place you’ll be running in. For example, on a recent trip to Turkey, I learned that loose pants and shirts are a better choice than form-fitting clothes. As it’s not common to see women out running in tight clothes, it could bring unwanted attention.

  3. Utilize the website It’s designed for runners who travel and offers tons of geographically specific information. 

  4. Take a look at Google Maps (satellite view) to get a sense of what the roads are like. It’s not a foolproof method, but could give you a good place to start. Be prepared to adjust on the fly, however…In Turkey, I thought I found some great roads to run on, only to discover they were private, and gated. Much to my chagrin, the only option ended up being a treadmill but it’s better than getting hit by a car on a road where the last thing drivers expect to see is a runner. 

  5. If you have cell service (and you should, if you plan to run alone in a foreign country, especially as a woman), turn on “share my location,” and tell someone where you plan to go and how long you’ll be gone. This is very important. 

  6. Research walking tours in cities you visit. If it’s walkable, it’s runnable and you can input the route into whatever running app you use, or Google Maps! 

  7. Avail yourself of concierge services for truly local information. A concierge can reasonably tell you if a road is safe (traffic or otherwise) and maybe if there are any local running groups around! Pro tip: you don’t actually need to stay in a hotel to use concierge. They really don’t know if you’re staying there or not. I recently stayed in an Air BNB aboard and walked to the Marriot to talk to the concierge. 

  8. Remember that most of the world uses the metric system! 

  9. Also, remember that if you don’t want to run while traveling, that’s just fine too - breaks are part of improvement. 

Running while traveling can be a blast, a great way to see a place, and a chance to connect with local runners. Done wisely, it’s a fun way to add a layer of richness to your experience. Just remember to drink water! 

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