Sometimes I complain about running. Sometimes meaning any time while traveling and the weather is below 40 degrees (F) since I didn’t bring cold-weather running clothes. This is why arriving in warmer climates like Amsterdam, Brussels, and Barcelona has brought the happy back into my runs. Amsterdam and Brussels were both a little cooler (60°F, but because of the location/climate it felt cooler). Barcelona is incredible this time of year with its sunny, warm weather. It’s actually only 5° warmer at 65°F but it is too warm for a sweater and sandals are mandatory… not for running of course: tank tops for running! I have just recently recognized how much the weather actually affects my preference of a city. And sometimes it is hard to tell what I enjoy more: running, or just being outside in warm weather. I didn’t like Edinburgh as much as I thought I would but I think it was primarily because it was so bone-chillingly cold and rainy most days. I live for sunlight and warmth! Not to mention since I took some time off of running, getting back to running is much more enjoyable in pleasant weather. I love running outside in nice weather so much that my heart could explode! But that’s probably just the spring fever kicking in.
If running is in your normal workout routine, make time for running on your travels for the following reasons. I need to remember these daily to get motivated to get up earlier than fellow travelers!
1. It’s no secret that eating healthy is muy dificil while traveling. I was being stubborn when I thought it would be easier, but… it’s not. I have not made the best choices, but running helps at least counter those extra days of indulgence that seem to be so common while not at home.
2. It’s a faster way to go through some of the most amazing parks and past monuments that you may have skipped seeing if you had to walk or take transport to get there. This is especially true for longer distances in the above 7 mile range.
3. Running throughout a new city helps you to get your bearings faster. At first running can be intimidating since it plunges you into the unknown. Most of the time I haven’t been very well acquainted with the city so I normally take screen shots of where I want to head, and then use them if I need them to figure out where I am or check that I’m headed in the right direction. I usually use the google map app to look up a general idea of where I want to run right before the run (normally I have wi-fi in the hostel), and keep it open, it usually will still tell you your location on the map during the run even without internet or service. I’ve found I have to have my data turned on in order to get a correct GPS reading, even if I don’t have any active data plan. This makes it easier to check if you are headed in the right direction. Paper maps work just as well, but I find it easier to use my phone since I’m usually snapping pictures along the way! Google maps also usually include the major sights so you can use those as markers for your route. After my runs I always have a much better sense of the city and it makes the rest of the time and sightseeing much less confusing.
4. It puts us all in a better mood. Those endorphins are very much welcome (and necessary) when the stresses of travel and the annoyances of people up in your business creep up on ya. Endorphins make the world a better place.
See the photos from my runs in Brussels and Barcelona below! Salud!