A blog by runners. For runners.

Packing for vacation on the run

what to pack when going on a running vacation

Summer is the season for traveling far and wide. It’s also when many of us get to take our walks and runs to new, exotic places. If you’re anything like me, you spend more time worrying about packing your exercise wardrobe than your everyday clothing. And I have definitely driven miles back home after getting solidly into our road trip route just to retrieve forgotten running shoes.

Here are some tips to ease the burden and even lighten your load.

Pack light
I have been known to pack a new running outfit for each day of a trip – and then a few options for unexpected weather. Thing is, many of our destinations either have hotel laundry or a unit in the apartment or condo we’re renting. I figure out how many days I’ll be exercising and pack for half of those days. Since I run 4-5 days a week, this usually means two pairs of shorts, two bras, and two shirts. Bonus points for those bra-with-shirt combos or any other double-duty piece.

Wash smart
As I mentioned above, you can always do laundry loads. However, if this option isn’t available to you (or you’d rather save the money), consider washing clothing in the shower immediately after a run. I often bring a natural castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s to wash my body. The same stuff works great in small doses for running clothing. Just lather, rinse well, and hang to dry. If the weather is cooler or you haven’t sweat terribly much, simple air drying is also effective.

Choose wisely
It can be tempting to bring all sorts of gear and goodies on vacation, but I try to keep my bag as streamlined as possible. It means less to pack, but also less opportunity to lose things. For summer, I bring a brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and – of course – my shoes. Though, they end up optional when we’re at the beach because I love running barefoot in the sand! As far as a watch, I either use my phone (which I’d bring anyway) or a simple chronograph I’ve had for ages versus my expensive GPS watch.

Store mentally
Though I use my phone to plot out routes when I’ve arrived at my destination (or find routes), I also try to pack my memory with some useful information. Are there any running clubs in the area? Notable parks or paths? Good places to fuel up and hydrate? And what is the weather expected to look like over my stay? By researching this information ahead of time, you can inform the rest of your trip and pack accordingly.

Be flexible
Yes, these tips certainly cut down on the luxuries we’ve come to know and love – but I encourage you to take your routine back to basics while on vacation. I don’t even run with music when we’re in a new place because I’d rather let my eyes and ears take in all the new sights and sounds. Running or walking is truly one of the best ways to absorb a new place, and if you open yourself to the experience, you will enhance your summer fun and stay fit at the same time.

Written by Ashley Marcin.