Running: Tips for running when you're away from home

Posted: December 30, 2013

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - For me, 2013 was the year of travel: Florida, Alaska, Washington state, Illinois, and Nevada were a few of my stops, capped this past week by spending the holidays in Redondo Beach.

I try to run when I travel because it's a great way to multitask: get in the miles while training for a race and seeing a new place at a slow enough speed that I can really look around.

Here's how to run easier in a new-to-you place, safely.

Map your run. If you know where you want to run - to, say, the Willis Tower and back while in Chicago - you can determine the distance in advance through the Google pedometer at mappedometer.com. If you don't know where you should go, you can check out maps on dailymile.com and mapmyrun.com, which are online running communities where members share their favorite running routes. Just double-check to make sure those routes are running-safe. I found myself on a busy two-lane highway with no sidewalks in Raleigh, N.C., a few years ago because I didn't check what a dailymile.com route looked like in real life. Flipping Google Maps to street view helps you see what that road really looks like.

Bring the map with you. You can do this by shoving a printout in a pocket, though you'll risk the ink bleeding if you're sweating a lot. A way around that: the National Geographic store makes waterproof ink-jet map paper. I don't normally run with my iPhone when I'm at home, but I do when I travel in case I get lost. When I'm staying at a hotel, I'll put the front desk's number in my phone so I can call if I need help. I've also taken some of my best tourist pictures while out running. Just make sure you step out of the way of other runners before you do.

Ask the locals. I went to California this past week to visit family members who have a beach house in Redondo Beach, so before I ran, we all walked together from their house to the beach. This way, I knew how to get to the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which is paved and has a pedestrian/runner lane, and back. I also saw that path had plenty of water fountains - and that they worked, too.

Ask the local runners. If there's a running store in town, stop in. Here, I made sure to check out the Village Runner in downtown Redondo Beach, and they invited me to join them on the store's group runs. At Sound Sports in Seattle, I told the salesman how far I wanted to run, and he gave me a free map and highlighted possible running routes. If there's no local running store, you can also see if there's a running group or team in town. Most of these groups are now online and have Facebook pages, and welcome visitors to join in.

But don't dress like them. Almost every runner I saw here wore long pants and long sleeves. I came here used to running in 30-degree weather. I'd have been a puddle of sweat if I tried to wear long sleeves in 65 degrees, so I opted for a tank and shorts because I knew that's what would work for me.

Check the temperatures when you run. I made this mistake while visiting my grandparents in Florida earlier this year. I packed running gear for the high temperatures of the day - not the mornings, which is when I ran. Running laps around their retirement community without gloves in 45-degree weather was less than pleasant.

When in doubt, hit the treadmill. Especially if you're in a new-to-you place, even more so if the only time you could run is in the dark. If you want local flavor, flip on the local news and try to find their Jim Gardner. It's safer than running into a bad situation.


Racing Schedule

Sunday

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or tuffgangrunning@yahoo.com

Wednesday

BCRR Winter Series Cham-Pain 5K.

The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, noon. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Next Sunday

BCRR Winter Series Wild Card (distance TBD on race day). The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or tuffgangrunning@yahoo.com

Jan. 12

38th Mayor's Icicle Ten Miler, 9 a.m., Wilmington. Fee: $35 ($40 after 1/8) http://www.races2run.com/events/icicle-run/

BCRR Winter Series Polar Bear 8 Miler, The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or tuffgangrunning@yahoo.com

Save the date: Super Sunday 5k, Feb. 2. http://runbucks.com/supersunday5k.html


E-mail date, name of race, site, time and fee, plus registration information, to sports editor John Quinn at jquinn@phillynews.com. Put Running calendar in re: field.

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