How to Run on Holiday

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The much-needed holiday break. A week or two in the relaxing sun (hopefully), away from the troubles of everyday life, the chance to see a new culture. Who doesn’t love a good holiday right?

Whether you’re planning to hit the strip in Ibiza, raise your adrenaline levels at Disneyland, venture into Rome’s coliseum, climb New York’s statue of liberty, explore Bangkok’s vibrant street life, you can run on holiday.

If you think running on holiday is a mad idea, read on; find out why holiday running is great and most important how you make sure you run on holiday.

Why should you run whilst on holiday?

If you run occasionally for fun, run for your fitness, are training for an event, or are mulling over the idea of running, there’s plenty of reason to run on holiday.

Up the fun and energy levels

Running makes you happier and more energetic; thank the increased blood circulation and feel-good chemicals released from the brain (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin).

Holidays equal ‘fun’ in most people’s mind. Want a quick, enjoyable, easy way to increase the ‘fun’ levels from the holiday? Go for a run!  You’ll be more driven to get going in the morning and enjoy yourself even more.

Get exploring

For a unique way to discover your holiday destination, run in the local landscape.

Whether you’re running through Prague’s Colourful and baroque city streets, winding through a canary island mountain, looking up at North America’s Rocky Mountains, traversing through a Paris Boulevard, getting your running shoes on is a truly exceptional experience not to be forgotten.

Sure, you could travel by foot (which would take longer) or by public transport (often stressful) or even in a private car (expensive). Running offers magnificent journey of discovery.
Awaken your inner explorer; run on holiday!

Don’t lose all your hard work

It’s tempting to put your kick back, relax, and consume all the food and drink you can get your hands on.

Think of your body like a nice sports car. If you use the car properly, drive it on the roads, fuel and oil it properly, it’s going to perform a treat. If you don’t use the car properly and leave it in the garage most of the time, putting the wrong fuels and oils in it, it’s going to lose some performance and wow factor.

When you’ve been running a while, you’ve likely developed your body – and your mindset – into sports car calibre.  Stopping your routine, putting the wrong fuels (excessive unhealthy treats) into your body, will soon become apparent! You lose some fitness, potentially put on weight, have a drop-in confidence and self-esteem, and feel more lethargic and unmotivated. Not ideal whilst on holiday!

Do yourself a favour; keep running on holiday. Don’t lose all your hard work!

Why can it be difficult to run on holiday?


Unfortunately, we’ve been brought up our whole lives with sloth like propaganda that holidays are “just for relaxing” and “not exerting yourself too much” and “lying around”.

Breaking this belief can be difficult. Relaxing on holiday is good, but too much exercising risks laziness and procrastination; not going for a run, even though it’s part of your routine.

Once you develop will run and investment mind-set, it’ll be easier to break the widely accepted preconception that holidays “are just meant for relaxing”.


Not having enough time is a classic reason for not running on holiday. Whether you’re exploring a European city, lounging by the pool or traversing the Swiss Alps, you’ll likely have a rough idea of what you want to spend your holiday time on.
Some say, “I’m too busy on holiday; I haven’t got time to run”.

People often fear time like it’s a merciless tyrant.  However, when you decide to proactively control your time, you’ll be able fit in running and all these activities.

Not having enough time isn’t the problem; poor time management skills are!

Hot weather

Not being accustomed to scorching 25 degree plus temperatures can be a barrier to enjoying a nice run on your holiday, but it doesn’t have to be.

Running through hot weather can be a challenge; your body works harder to cool itself down, you’re at risk of sunburn, and you’ll require adequate hydration from water and replacement of lost electrolytes through sweat. Like anything difficult in life, a little understanding of the situation and preparation goes a long way! For more information on running in hot weather, check out the blog post here.

How to run on holiday

Remember, running is an investment in yourself

Running on holiday requires a strong reason to justify why you’re running to keep yourself motivated, and to justify the effort. An investment mindset is key to running success. Think of running as investing in yourself.

A spending mind-set means you give up your resources for immediate gratification. Think impulse purchasing a new car or pair of shoes (giving money for a materialistic item), eating a fat laden kebab (giving up your health for tasty food), or lying around not exercising (giving your fitness for short term comfort).

An investment mind-set means you delay immediate gratification and do something meaningful for a future reward. Think saving or investing money, choosing the salad instead of a hot dog, and going for a run instead of lounging around.
Invest in yourself. Go running on your holiday. For more detail on the investment mindset read the blog post here.

Develop a must run attitude

With the classic propaganda message that “holiday is meant for just relaxing and chilling” everywhere on TV, holiday travel guides, airline promotions, you must break through this and develop the mindset that you MUST run. Regardless of advertising telling you to take it easy, people trying to dissuade you, or any other barriers to running on your holiday.

Make running on your holiday an absolute must.  
If you go on holiday with a vague, foggy desire to run, it doesn’t create urgency or demand for yourself to run. Ultimately, it’s tempting to skip a run or to simply not go running in the first place.

Notice the choice of verb being ‘must’, not ‘could’, ‘should’, ‘might’ or ‘will’. Having a ‘must’ attitude to running, will compel you through obligation, necessity and love of running. Making it a ‘must’, means it’s a priority; you won’t substitute or sacrifice it for anything else like an extra hour in your holiday bed or more time by the pool.

Pack your running gear appropriately

Once you’ve decided to make running a must, packing suitable running gear into a suitcase – with limited space – is highly important.

Research the weather and terrain you’ll be running in, which will inform your clothing choice. For instance, the hot trails of Lanzarote mountains may require trail shoes, sun cream, vests, shorts and sunglasses. If you’re running through the cold Winter of a European city like Hamburg in Germany you’d need road shoes, long sleeve tops, a jacket, and bottoms.

As an absolute minimum, make sure you pack:

1 pair of Shoes
3 different tops
2 bottoms

Depending on available suitcase space, you’ll be able to adjust and bring some additional clothing.

Schedule running into your holiday

When we don’t schedule tasks into our day, it’s easy to forget to do them or to procrastinate (choose to put them off). Scheduling what time of day and what days you will run before leaving for holiday makes your holiday running more likely.

We forget and procrastinate 
Ever forgotten to meet up with friends? What about forgetting to send an important email to a colleague, or to send off someone’s birthday card? We forget things.
Ever chosen to put off studying for an exam, filling out an important form or calling a family member? We procrastinate.
If you don’t create and follow a schedule, it’s easy to forget or put off running.  Simple.

“You must be joking. Scheduling my holiday?”

Some people hate the idea of scheduling tasks into their holiday. It’s supposed to be relaxing, spontaneous and relatively leisurely right? All fair points to make.

If you don’t like the idea You could just schedule one task – running – into your day.

Schedule your run. Pencil it into your phone calendar, a diary, a notepad, to email. Anywhere. You could write down “7:30AM-8:45AM. Run through the fishing village” if you were enjoying a Finland holiday.

Water + Electrolyte up

Make sure you have proper access to water to keep your body hydrated and functioning properly.

If you’re in a running in a hot place, likely to induce buckets of sweat on your run, get a low-calorie sports drink to replace lost electrolytes.

Proper hydration not only makes you perform better and feel more comfortable, it is key to reducing severe health problems like heat stroke, heat syncope, feeling dizzy and potentially fainting.

You don’t want any of these issues at any time, particularly not in a new place you’re unfamiliar with.

Run with a basic awareness of your surroundings 

Running in a new place is exciting and often tempts runners to shoot off, exploring their location with relentless curiosity. It’s great to get lost in a new place and is something that runners should do. However, there’s a difference between playfully getting lost on a run and wandering into the amazon rainforest…

Don’t blindly run into the amazon 
You wouldn’t venture into the amazon jungle with no knowledge of the terrain and animals in the environment, without a guide, or making mental notes of the journey you took. You’d get lost or encounter a huge problem like a tiger, waterfall or snake.
Don’t wander blindly into your holiday. Prepare with a basic knowledge of the area.

Research the area
Know what the environment you’ll be running in is like by finding out a few basic points. Is the ground road or trail? Will it be cold or hot? Are there any local landmarks? Popular running locations? Any hazards like trams or bike lanes you should be aware of?

A quick google, read of a travel guide, a Youtube video, Wiki article, or even asking someone whose been there before, provide valuable knowledge so you can run on holiday with confidence.

Make a note of your journey
Holiday running isn’t like your usual route around your town where you subconsciously meander round the twists and turns, not even thinking about the route, because you’ve done it so many times.

More than likely, you’ll be in an alien place discovering roads, trails and routes for the first time. Concentrate on the route you take. Take note of road names, certain shops, public transport destinations and landmarks. Make a mental note of your journey, so you can back track your steps if you get lost. Drop the pace if you’re running to fast a few mental notes.

You don’t have to go crazy and identify and remember every nook and cranny you set eyes upon – it’s meant to be enjoyable after all! A little attention to your environment will go a long way if you get lost.

Run in a group

Spice up your groups holiday and invite them on your run with you.

Groups go on holiday for new exciting experiences. Some get excitement from immersing themselves in local culture visiting galleries and museums, some get it from sunbathing by the pool, others get excitement from hitting the town for drinks.
Running as a group whilst on holiday is a truly unique experience you will never forget.

What if you’re group aren’t runners?  
Pitch it as exciting, as an adventure, an opportunity to bond and a chance to make an unforgettable memory. Once you have them convinced to run, be accommodating. Don’t go shooting off!

Have fun!

You’re on holiday after all, right? Reward yourself with a decent meal, a tourist excursion or a sunbathe in the sun. You’ll have earned it.


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