Running on Vacation

I just got back from a nine-day family vacation in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We do this trip every March Break, and since I’m almost always training for a spring marathon, it means a week of running while on vacation.

A little taste of what running is like in Hilton Head Island. Paved paths everywhere.

A little taste of what running is like in Hilton Head Island. Paved paths everywhere.

Whether you can continue your running or not when on vacation depends a lot on where you are going. In the case of Hilton Head Island, running is safe and easy. If you are in a resort in Mexico or Cuba, it might not be reasonable to venture off the property, so long runs might be an issue.

Finding routes

But how do you find routes to run that are safe and good for running?

Use a route mapper

Sites like MapMyRun and DailyMile have route mappers that are handy in planning out routes to run if you know the area. But if you aren’t sure exactly where the good places to run are, Strava’s amazing Global Heatmap site is a great help. It shows where runners have run the most. That’s usually a good indication that it’s a good road or trail to run. I’ve used it to find runs in various cities around the world including in Amsterdam, San Antonio, and Portland.

Here’s Hilton Head Island on Strava’s Heatmap. You can see that many runners hit the beach to run, and that William Hilton Parkway is also a favourite. Super handy!

Find a running store

Another option is to search out a local running store to get some advice from the locals. If you are in Canada, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find a Running Room around. Outside of Canada is a bit of a different story.

The Strava Heatmap view around my house. Lots of streets that are popular with runners (including me)

The Strava Heatmap view around my house. Lots of streets that are popular with runners (including me)

I did a Google search for “hilton head island running store” and found The Palmetto Running Company which wasn’t far from where we were staying. Their running club page provides a link to a bunch of group runs, and also a link to local running routes of various lengths.

Ask a local!

Local runners are always a good resource too. I’ve had good success with just stopping runners out there and asking them where I should go. Every runner has been happy to share a route or two with me. Sometimes you can find a group run or pick up an impromptu running buddy this way. Don’t be afraid to say hi and ask about the local running scene. Put yourself in their shoes – you’d be happy to share a route or some advice with an out-of-town runner, right?

Whether you stick to your full training schedule, or dial it back a bit while you take a break from work and life, running on vacation is a great way to unwind and see some different scenery. Get out there and enjoy your runs!

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