Ellen’s First Post: Traveling Tips for the Restless Runner on the Move

First off, let me just say that I LOVE to travel. Every year for the past 5 years I have gone to Europe in the summer. This time I just got back from a two and a half week jaunt with my sister. We went to London for 5 days (always stop here, it’s a great base and my sister used to live here), rented a car and drove around Sicily for a week, and then flew to a tiny Greek island Astypalea for 5 days. And yet while I love to travel, I have never really enjoyed running on vacation. Partially I think it was because I never really liked running as much as I do now…but also I think it was because I was in vacation mode and didn’t want to bother with exercise. So this time, I went into my vacation with the plan to run 5-6 easy times a week and to track what I liked and didn’t like about running while traveling. Here are some tips that worked for me and changed my view on running during vacation!


1. Keep the route simple ellen

Some of you are going to disagree with me about this tip, you’re going to say that running while traveling is the perfect opportunity to explore and make you’re route up while you go; which is great if you’re that kind of carefree runner…but I am not. That has never worked for me because a) I’m a bit of a control freak so I like to know where I’m going, for how long, and how far before I step out in the morning; and b) I have a horrible sense of direction soooo I’d probably never make it back to my hotel room. Therefore, I favored the out and back routes; I’d run in one direction until I’d hit my halfway point and then turn around and run back. This way I could be more relaxed while I ran and it never got boring because I’d notice different things on the way back.

2. Wear a GPS watch

On our way to Europa! My sister thought it was hilarious that I was sitting on the plane with my Runner's World (borrowed from Cristina) and my travel book…I thought it was perfectly normal ☺

On our way to Europa! My sister thought it was hilarious that I was sitting on the plane with my Runner’s World (borrowed from Cristina) and my travel book…I thought it was perfectly normal ☺

In the same vein as above, I always wore my watch so I knew how far I was going. This doesn’t mean I was checking it all the time to look at my pace or time or splits. I just wore it to listen for the tiny mile beeps so I knew how far I’d gone. I also think it’s really fun to keep track of my routes so I can go back and say ‘oh yeah, that was when I did an easy 6 in London” or “look how high I climbed when we were in that tiny hill town in Sicily.” It’s a fun diary of all my old runs.

3. Don’t overdo it!

This is not the time for a crazy hard work out or training plan! Save the super long runs, Yasso 800s, fartleks, and hills for when you get home! I kept pretty busy during the day walking and sightseeing so I generally just ran an easy 5-6ish miles every morning. I wanted to save some energy for the rest of my day…and I don’t think my sister would have appreciated lugging a worn out blob around all the time either. (Running a bit in the morning also made me feel a wee bit less guilty when I was gorging on pizza, pasta and gelato every day!). That said there’s no harm in having a good long run in the morning before or evening after a long travel day!



4. Time your runs

A bit of a breakfast binge after one of my runs

A bit of a breakfast binge after one of my runs

Be respectful of your travel companions! Try not to bug them by going on a run right at prime time or taking up the entire morning to go on your run, shower, and rest. My sister would not have appreciated that, let me tell you! Also, I tended to run in the morning. This way I could get up a bit earlier while my sister slept and then I had it out of the way and I didn’t have to think about it. Also, if I could offer one piece of advice, don’t run in the evening after a garlic-y Greek lunch…trust me, it doesn’t end well!!

My sister captured this super attractive picture of me trying to wake up before my run

My sister captured this super attractive picture of me trying to wake up before my run


5. Don’t be afraid to find a local running group or race

Big cities always have lots of running groups and races going on, especially in the summer. Stores like Lululemon and Nike usually have weekly run clubs which are free to join, have multiple skill levels and distances, and don’t require sign-up beforehand. You could also probably check out any local running store or search online for upcoming races. When I was in London I went to the Local Lululemon run club. It was great running with locals; I got to go on a great tour around the city (and not worry about getting lost), and they also offered some great advice for things to do while visiting.

My new lululemon run club buddies after our jaunt around London

My new lululemon run club buddies after our jaunt around London

7 6. Take a Camera

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy….I just ran with my iPhone so it doubled as my music player and camera. It was a bit annoying to carry but I never regretted it! Some of my favorite parts of the trip were when I was out running early when all the streets are quiet and the workers are just starting their day.


Running next to the London Eye, nbd


Early morning run in Lipari, Sicily


Running in the Sicilian countryside


The view of Astypalea from 3 miles away

7. Watch where you’re going!

This seems silly, but trust me it’s important! Definitely look around you and take in the scenery, but try to keep one eye on the path too…otherwise you’re going to be face to face with the sidewalk (take it from someone who knows)!

Modica, Sicily: Taking in the view from the hotel's rooftop balcony after my run

Modica, Sicily: Taking in the view from the hotel’s rooftop balcony after my run


On my last day of vacation I fell flat…in a busy intersection…in front of everyone…

Adios California

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Hello from 30,000 feet up in the air. I splurged on internet to get a bunch of reading and work done, and am currently taking a quick brain break. Yesterday I finished my Mizuno Baton Challenge, and although I loved the experience, I am excited to cut down on mileage. I have NEVER run 85 miles in a week. I didn’t even think it was possible. It’s amazing how long runs just fly by when you’re taking it easy with friends. It’s also crazy how much mileage you can squeeze in when you get creative (two milers during half time of a world cup match and running to the beach and back while Alaina showered at our place post Back on My Feet). For my final run I went from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach and ran into Joanna along the path! Joanna taught at KIPP for four years, and is moving to Florida next week. We’ve always bonded over our love of running, and at school are known to be the crazy runners. It was very appropriate to say goodbye on a run. Joanna, what is your secret to those super toned arms!?

lg_369BDB7E-5056-A015-DABC916DEBF9AFBB10298665_10152603748867932_3922848568326888017_nLast night we went to our FAVORITE KIPP event MOKA, the Museum of KIPP Art. Our incredible art teacher, Karen, showcased KAO’s best work at the silent auction. (Karen, I stole some of your pictures) The event was hosted at CityScape with a view of downtown. It was the perfect way to spend my final evening in Los Angeles.

Bert and Ernie

Bert and Ernie




I spent my final morning in LA with a nice run along the beach in Playa with Brianna. Brent and I had lunch together before he took me to the airport. I won’t see him until he comes to NY for the 4th of July 😦 I’m gonna miss the Brentster! OK, I better get back to work . I’m looking forward to updating you on my adventures in New York!

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My hot husband