When attending SXSW last month, I participated in an event imaginatively entitled Run SXSW. Attendees of the run made their way around Lake Austin in the park near the Austin Convention Center. There are quite a few things to remember when running in a city that isn’t your own, some of which I didn’t heed.
Know your route When traveling, a runner obviously doesn’t know the potential courses around the city. By using online services like MapMyRun, Nike+ or even Google Maps to know what the area looks like and to see what potential running routes look like. It may also be possible to ask at the hotel’s concierge to give a recommendation if you don’t want to use the treadmill in a fitness center. If someone else is choosing the route, it may be sensible to see what the route is ahead of time in case of separation from the other runners, which unfortunately happened to me when I missed a turn and I went off course a bit in Austin.
Consider the change in weather When training in a certain climate, traveling may take a runner to a climate that is different enough to affect a run. New York in winter is cold and makes it harder to warm up and get a good run going. Suddenly going from training in New York to the 70-something degree weather in Texas was a big difference, so my muscles were warmed up earlier than I was used to and began to slow down earlier than I was used to because I went at a faster pace due to the warmer weather.
Pay attention to altitude Different altitudes affect your breathing in different ways, and if a runner is at a higher altitude than the runner is used to running at, the runner will be shorter of breath than usual and it will affect the way one runs.
Remember to hydrate Always an important safety tip for any extended run, but one worth repeating. Letting oneself get dehydrated is a sure way to ruin any good run and not that healthy, so remember to drink plenty of fluids before your run if you don’t during.
Running when away from home, whether during a trip or in a race, is not like running at home and needs to be prepared for appropriately. Find your route and may the road rise up to meet you.