When I was 15, I read an article about this lead singer for a punk rock band where her favorite thing to do while on tour is to run everywhere. She said she loves it when the scenery changes and she could never anticipate what's coming next. Thus, her runs are always refreshing and she doesn't get tired because her mind couldn't fathom the distance to 'bonk' her. She said, "All I need is a pair of shoes and that's about it."
To this day I still remember that article. Eventhough I was running a lot in school it's still considered a chore to be bringing sports shoes around. I usually don't run when I am away from home. But when I read that article I realized that we're all giving ourselves excuses.
My top three excuses for not running while being outstation are:
1) Shoes are too space consuming to pack.
2) I don't know the area - I don't feel safe
3) No time.
Sounds familiar right? We tell ourselves that all the time. I was guilty, and sometimes I am guilty of doing it. But 4 years ago I managed to work around the excuses. The first time I tried this, I went to Melbourne to visit my friends during my university break. I stayed there for a month therefore running HAD to be done. Packing the shoes were not an issue since my bag were big, so that was crossed. My problem for Melbourne was I didn't know the area. I had time, but nowhere to go.
Back then we didn't have mapmyruns, or Google map (or maybe I just didn't know they existed). I felt discouraged. But then I told myself that maybe I could just run along the stretch of the road. As long as my friends know where I would be going, it should be safe. Another tip is that when outstation or overseas, always run someplace busy. I always target the local supermarket, the city, or someplace where there are a lot of restaurants. I did this in Jakarta, Cambodia, and also in both Manchester and London. You get a lot of whistling sometimes (only in Asia) but if you can block that out it should be okay. The point is, you are surrounded by people.
Anyway here is what I do when I go outstation and how I face the so called excuses:
1) No space to pack the shoes - If I couldn't even squeeze the shoes in, with what my work shoes and all, I wear them straight. Yes, I know you shouldn't wear your running shoes other than for running, but just a few hours of walking about in them wouldn't immediately harm them. I reserve a pair of cross trainers for only my travels so I could wear them and run in them. And since I do not do any of my training runs the cross trainers are perfect for a simple tune-up running. It's better to run in them, even for 20 minutes than not run at all.
2) I don't know the area - Like I said, I stick to busy street or places. If the place's too seedy, I usually jog around the hotel vicinity, even if it's just 500m. I only have done this recently after someone I know told me that when he was in prison, Nelson Mendela used to run in the small squares of his cell daily. This same person also (the friend, not Mr. Mandela), while stationed in offshore platforms, run in crazy, endless circles around the helicopter deck. You see - there shouldn't be no excuses for this. Worst come to worst, there's always the hotel gym.
3) No time - I always have this rule: no matter how lazy or how pressed for time I am, I try to commit to running (or working out) for five minutes. And then see if I'm still 'busy'. And then I would go on, or stop, depending. Five minutes of hard running is always always better than nothing. If you really can't run, you could work on your strength training. Do calf raises while brushing your teeth. Situps and crunches while waiting for the water to boil or coffee to cool.
These three things have always helped me beat out the laziness of keeping up with my running whenever I'm away from home. Half the battle is already won when we put on our running shoes or walk towards the hotel gym. However, if you plan to really enjoy your holiday doing nothing at all, then by all means, do it. As the Spanish Proverb famously said:
How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward .