Taking Sneakers Sailing

I have never done this, and even if I did, I would not look as happy or healthy!

Until recently, I never understood vacation runners–that is, people who run whilst traveling.  I realize that hotel gyms exist for a reason, and I’ve watched people run on cruise ship tracks and down boardwalks and around footpaths in Walt Disney World.  And I always wondered–why?  Why are they doing this?  Who would get up at an ungodly hour while on vacation just so they could run?  Aren’t they getting enough exercise doing regular vacation things–say enjoying a strenuous shore excursion or walking through a theme park all day long?

What I’ve learned, of course, is that there’s a reason for this vacation running.  If they are runners, they run every day–or at least every other day.  This includes time spent on vacation.  I understand this now, as I’ve been trying to (slowly) learn to run myself.  And so, for my upcoming trip, I have a few new additions to the packing list.  Running shoes.  Sports bra.  The warm-weather running pants and top I just purchased.  I’ve become one of those people.

I do have more than a few concerns, however.  First–when traveling to a new city, how does one know where to run?  I’ve Googled ‘where to run in the French Quarter’ over and over, and have read various answers–but many are overly complicated (like ‘first you have to take a bus or a cab…’) and many are overly long (like ‘this is an nice ten mile loop’–yeah, three would be good for me, thanks).  Of particular importance to me is A.  not getting hit by a car, bus, or trolley and B.  not running into a neighborhood that I’d be best to run out of.

Of course, this trip is not just a New Orleans trip–I’ll also be spending seven days on a cruise ship filled with free food.  Running is going to have to happen there, too.  So what’s the proper running etiquette on a cruise ship?  Can you only run on the sad little running track that’s typically covered in lounge chairs?  What about other open decks?  I realize there’s a gym on board, but I super hate treadmills.

And then there are future trips.  I’ll be in Walt Disney World (again) for nine days next month–and I’ll be staying at the one resort that doesn’t have an outside running/walking/jogging path.  In March, it’s road trip time.  I think that trip will be the most difficult of all, as I’ll be in new locations each day–and I certainly won’t be staying in hotels nice enough to include a gym.

I’m concerned that these questions will prevent me from achieving my run-every-day-while-traveling goal.  And I do plan to run.  Every.  Day.  Because I don’t want to return home from any of my upcoming trips to find myself in the same shape I was in back in September, huffing and puffing through the 60 sad seconds of a Couch to 5K Week 1 run.  I’m going to be away almost as much as I’ll be home for the next three months–so while I’m away, I have to run like I would at home.  It’s as simple as that.

So–how to I help ensure that running happens during my travels?  For those of you who manage to keep up a exercise routine on the road, what’s your secret?

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