I used to find running while on vacation a challenge – especially during trips to tropical, all-inclusive resorts. Last week, I travelled to Cuba with my kids, mother, and brother, but I decided to do things a little differently. I mentally planned how I was going to fit running in while I was out of my routine and away from my running partners and my usual routes.
Whatever your vacation plans may include, it can definitely be hard to find time to run (or whatever form of exercise/recreation you choose). We get out of our routines and feel obligated to sightsee and spend time with friends and family while on vacation. This time, I shifted my thinking a little, packed my running shoes first, and as a result, enjoyed 5 lovely runs and a hike! Here are some things that made a big difference:
- I have signed up for a race in the Spring. While this trip wasn’t planned around a race, having a half marathon in the books in May (Ottawa Half Marathon) was motivation enough to keep me heading out the door. In the future, I would love to tie in vacation plans around a race, and either have friends and family run with me or cheer for me while I run.
- Sightseeing while running. The scenery that I enjoyed while running in Cuba was spectacular! I got to see parts of the resort and the beach that I might not have otherwise seen. Midweek, I spontaneously ran along a rocky outcropping over the ocean and saw the most beautiful scenery of my entire trip. I was glad I didn’t skip my run that day!
- Being selected as a Running Free ambassador. No, honestly! Somehow, knowing that I had been chosen to represent Team Running Free made me much more willing and excited to get my runners on. I had a sense of responsibility to the team, and to inspire others with my efforts.
- Staying motivated by others. I am the only runner in my family. While they are very supportive and understanding of my running, they haven’t made the leap over to “running buddy” yet. It did, however, help to see that there were several other runners at the resort who were out and about each and every day. Seeing them run kept me motivated to keep going – and by the end of the week, we were swapping suggestions for running routes!
- Carving out time for myself. Vacations – especially those where you are travelling with 4 year old twins – can be stressful. I didn’t really have a place to go for “me time” in our room. Running was the perfect way to make time for you (not to mention a fantastic gift from my mother and brother, who stepped in to look after the kids while I circled the resort).
- Multi-tasking. While on vacation with others it can be hard to take time to run, but there are ways to make everyone happy. While on the beach, I made up games with the kids in the sand that included short bursts of running. I also made a sport of jogging while playing hide-and-seek or “follow the leader” along the longest paths on the way to and from our meals. Every little bit counts 🙂
Because I was able to run on vacation, I felt more relaxed, de-stressed and better about indulging in the good food at the resort. I’m looking forward to carrying on with plans to run on vacation during future trips! Hope that my experience may inspire you to do the same 🙂