A lot of people think that running sucks. Well, it doesn’t! Running is awesome. Sure, maybe that one season of track freshman year sucked when they made you do the two-mile at the end of the meet while you were cold and alone for a gruesome eight laps. But doing an easy five miles is a great way to get some much needed exercise and introduce yourself to a new city or see a side to a favorite vacation spot that you had not previously experienced. Here are ten reasons why on your next vacation, you should pack your running shoes, pull on your shortest shorts, and go for a jog.
1. You can see lots of things really quickly.
Take Paris, for example, you can literally start at the Eiffel Tower, run along the River Seine through the heart of the city, passing Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées, The Louvre, Sainte Chapelle, Shakespeare & Company book shop, Place de la Bastille, and end up at Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison’s graves in under 5 miles.
2. Orientates you in a new place.
The first thing I did when I went to Berlin was going on a run. I got lost and ended up running twelve miles. Once I got back, I knew my way around a large part of the city and I never got lost again. It was easy. Just try not to get lost.
3. It’s a great way to get out of a city.
Feeling overwhelmed staying in a city center? Go find a bike path leading away from downtown; follow it until things start to get greener. When you reach a farm, you know you have had a solid long run.
4. Runners are typically really friendly.
You’re at a stoplight waiting to resume your run. A local from wherever you are visiting stops next to you. Start a conversation, pretty soon you are finishing your run with a buddy and have a cool new route for next time.
5. Great way to get tan.
Everybody loves getting their bronze on during the summer months. If you get antsy laying in the sun for hours not moving, like me, or you are in a sunny location that doesn’t have beach access, take your shirt off, pull your shorts up and go for a jog. The longer you go, the tanner you get.
6. Judgment free zone.
Running isn’t a glamorous sport. It is a sport filled with sweat, snot, and people of all shapes and sizes. You will probably get weird looks if you go careening through downtown Paris with no shirt and short shots on, but your average bike path or trail full of runners is typically full of people focused on their run and not on what the person that just passed them looked like.
7. Discover new things.
I was staying in a city in Spain, one day I ran along the coast and after about 4 miles I came across a farming village full of friendly old Spaniards, amazing restaurants seemingly nobody knew about, and endless pitchers of sangria. Thank you gods of running.
8. Stay in shape.
It’s a great way to maintain that perfect beach bod or to work off that amazing dinner you had the night before.
9. Work off your hangover.
You are going to have to trust me on this one because at the time, going on a run will seem like the last possible thing you want to do. However, is it really worth wasting a day on vacation feeling terrible after a night out? Get out of bed, go find a beach or forest or somewhere calming to go on a morning run and sweat off as much of that hangover as possible. Scientifically, it’s been proven to make you feel better.
10. It’s free and always available.
You don’t have to wait in any lines, you don’t have to make any reservations, you can do it all year round, and all you need are shoes and shorts (shirt is obviously optional at this point).
If you read this list and thought “How am I expected to go out and run five miles???!?”. The great thing about running is that it can be a gradual process. Start off running a couple of miles or walking for a few minutes and running for five, until you feel comfortable that you have built up enough of a base to go do a solid run. Regardless, I hope you give it a shot because it is a great way to start your day and experience a new side to your favorite vacation!