I have lived in Washington, D.C. for the past 8+ years. In those 8 years, I’ve spent a ton of time running IN (and near, but primarily in) the city. I also travel for work quite a bit and have run in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and Atlanta (among others). I know how nerve wracking and confusing it can be running in any new place, especially a big city that you are not familiar with. These tips will help you to have a fun and safe run wherever you go.
Do your homework. If you have flexibility, choose a hotel that is in a location that lends itself to running outside—or make sure that you have a hotel with a solid gym. Personally, I think that seeing a city on foot is one of the best ways to explore it, so I love running in new cities and am always careful to pick hotels that are pretty central. A simple “[NAME OF CITY + Running]” search will typically yield so many great options, be it races, running clubs and even routes scoped out by other runners.
Reach out where you can. One of the bonuses of our super connected lives is that you might know someone who knows a runner where you are traveling. Most big cities have running groups (sometimes run by local running stores) that have group runs. Do a little searching (this goes along with number one) and find a group of friendly folks to join on the run. Also, don’t forget about any national running groups you might be a part of (like Black Girls Run or Moms Run This Town) – post on a page for the city you are visiting and boom, instant run buddies!
Utilize resources. Your hotel concierge can be a great resource; especially now when more and more hotels have running maps and programs. Talk to the front desk. Tell them the route you plan to take and that you expect to be back in an hour. Take your phone with you. Be smart about it and adjust your routines while traveling; for example, if you always wear headphones (I wish you wouldn’t but that’s a conversation for a new day), leave them in the hotel when you are heading out in a new, big city to run. It’s important to be able to hear and to be alert while running in a new place. Plan to be alert for traffic and bikes. Many big cities have really vibrant biking cultures, which is awesome, but you want to make sure you are watching out for cyclists!
Running while traveling is one of my favorite ways to see a new city and I’ve found that by following the above tips, I’ve had really excellent experiences running in major metropolitan areas.
What tips do you have for running in large cities?