The holidays and high miles are upon us, and one question that I’ve already heard several times this fall is, “How do I complete long miles when I am traveling? What do I do when I have 9 miles scheduled on Thanksgiving weekend but I’m on the other side of the country with family?”
A lot of people ask that question because they aren’t confident about running or walking 9 miles all by themselves. Maybe they don’t know the town, or maybe they just can’t imagine doing 9 (or 10 or 14) all by themselves. No problem! If you can run that distance over the course of two days you will get much of the benefit of a single long run. Just split your 9 miles and do 5 one day and 4 the next. You can’t get away with this for a full season, but splitting distance once or twice during the season is a great strategy for staying safe and getting your miles in.
But WHERE should you run? Start with bike paths, big parks, and beach promenades. One of my favorite runs my first year as a LEGGER was a 12 miler I did along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, and you’ll find me running Central Park whenever I’m in New York City. More cities are building out bike paths and I think those are often an excellent, safe option (since they’re usually well-traveled). Ask around: many hotels will have advice about where to go for a walk or a run, and of course if you can find a running store you’re set.
The resource I use most often is the site mapmyrun.com. You’ll need to create a free account, but once you’re in try the “Find A Route” function and then tailor the course to your needs: distance, location, and so on. You can look for a 9 mile walk/run and you’ll get all sorts of options full of useful information (including things like water, toilets, etc). I just did a search for 9 milers in the Denver area and came up with well over 50 maps put in by the many walkers and runners in the MapMyRun community.
I probably don’t need to say this because you read Maria’s article last week (right?), but make sure you observe all the safety rules: bring you phone, be visible, and stick to well-traveled and well-know paths. In addition: give some thought to local conditions because when you get right down to it we LEGGERS don’t train in snow or sleet or 99 degrees and 99 percent humidity!
If you are looking to walk or run some new trails here in Los Angeles, I have a nice extra for you. I’ve been collecting routes in a document I call the “LEGGERS Atlas” which is a list of tried-and true routes all over Los Angeles County. Maybe you need to do a make-up run on a Sunday? Or maybe you’re just looking to break out of your routine? In addition to some LEGGERS classics, there’s a GREAT Beverly Hills route, a fun Long Beach / Belmont Shore path, the Rose Bowl run, and more. Come to think of it, if YOU have visitors over the holidays you might try one of these as a fun stroll together.
Stay safe, keep moving, and Happy Holidays!