Vacation — relax or run?

  • This was printed in July of 2015 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 107th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

Summer is a time for vacations, especially to escape the Valley heat. But how do you

stick to your exercise regimen while traveling? Should you?

If you’re already an active person, chances are you’re going to want to continue your

active lifestyle away from home. You’re probably not going to have very much fun

doing nothing but lounging around; I know I’d get restless.

Maybe you run around Madera, and on it’s one hill (Ellis overpass), every week. On a

weekend trip to San Francisco (so many hills!), you’ll likely make time to go for a


There’s not much to run on here except road, concrete and the occasional dirt edge

of an orchard. Visiting the sandy beaches of Pismo or Monterey might motivate you

to kick off your running shoes and take a barefoot jaunt along the waves.

You might practice yoga at home. If you make a day trip to Yosemite, you may be

inspired to do some warrior poses in the middle of a peaceful hike.

Perhaps you swim laps in your backyard pool or at the gym. If you visit Hawaii, why

wouldn’t you break the monotony of pool swimming and dive into the waters of the

Pacific Ocean, or try snorkeling?

Vacations are a break from your day-to-day life, but that shouldn’t mean you forgo

your workout routine. After all, you don’t stop brushing your teeth just because

you’re in Las Vegas.

Use your vacation to stay active in a different locale. Explore new trails. Skip the car

and rent a bike to get around town.

Many runners I know will register for a race, be it a 5K or a half marathon, in the

area they’re visiting to ensure that they’ll eat right and exercise while on vacation.

Others register for destination marathons or half marathons to have an excuse to

travel! Rome Marathon (Maratona di Roma) or Great Wall Marathon, anyone?

My friends at organize group hotel and meal packages for

marathons in Europe, if that interests you.

Having written all of that, I have a confession: I went to Disneyland last weekend

and didn’t run a single stride.

However, according to my Garmin GPS watch that tracks my steps, I walked more

than 14 miles on Saturday (Disneyland) and more than 11 miles on Sunday

(California Adventure).

Plus, paddling a canoe in Disneyland and dancing at the Mad T Party in California

Adventure counts as cross training, right?

I may not have gone for a run in the perfect, breezy weather of Anaheim, but I made

up for it by speed walking everywhere (and dodging obstacles like strollers, mini

princesses, texting teens and tired parents). It was a mini-vacation from running,

but not a break from staying active.


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