For many, summertime means vacation and traveling. So while COVID has affected many vacation plans, some families are still in the process of planning trips. That does not mean you have to sacrifice all your hard work and fitness during your travel. Bringing your exercise regimens with you will keep you on track with your training and may lead to some spontaneous sightseeing! The following are some tips from the experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute on safe and healthy running while on vacation.
1. Practice good self-care. The summer is hot. While most people will stray from their normal diets while on vacation, staying hydrated for exercise is key. A general rule of thumb is to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water per day. Electrolyte replacement drinks are good to include as well, especially during a post run stretch. The ocean is a great place for an impromptu “ice bath” to cool down and refresh your legs.
2. Explore new routes. One of the great parts of vacation running is getting to explore new places with your running routes. Pick a route that goes by some of the sites that you want to see. Websites such as www.mapmyrun.com will allow you to measure out distance and plan routes in advance. Some people choose to run on the beach for their run. While running on the sand does provide a soft surface to cushion your lower extremity joints, the uneven surfaces can lead to injuries including ankle sprains or shin splints. If you do decide to run on the beach, running at low tide when there is available hard packed sand and a flatter surface is preferred.
3. Follow the rules of the road. Vacation towns often bring many runners, walkers, and bikers sharing the road. Following proper etiquette is key for safety. When running on the road, runners should always run AGAINST traffic (the opposite direction) so they can see oncoming traffic. A bike is considered a vehicle by law, so bikers should bike WITH traffic (the same direction).
4. Be mindful of the summer sun/heat. When preparing for your summer runs, it is important to consider the summer heat and humidity. Wearing protective gear that can keep you cool is important. Wearing lighter colors, sunscreen, a hat and/or sunglasses are good choices. Planning to go on your runs in the cooler parts of the day – early mornings or evenings – will help ensure that conditions for your runs are more manageable. If it is too hot, don’t feel bad about cutting your workout short or postponing for a cooler day.
5. Bring a friend. Exploring new running routes on vacation is fun and can be even more enjoyable with a friend. Having a running buddy is safer and can keep you on course for your new routes. If planning to run alone, alerting someone of your route or carrying a phone with you are good alternatives.
6. Set realistic goals. Vacation time is time to relax and unwind. A mental break is just as important as a physical break. Keep that in mind when planning your vacation exercise plan. Don’t stress too much about it! It is vacation after all.
What to do if you get an injury
The most common injuries incurred from running include:
- Ankle and knee strains and sprains
- Runner’s knee
- Torn or damaged meniscus
- Plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs
- Stress fractures of the foot or ankle
Despite the best vacation running injury prevention, these injuries can still occur. If you do get injured while running, your first step should be to seek medical attention right away. When you need more specialized treatment, Rothman Orthopaedics can help you decide which treatment options are right for you.
Dr. Meghan Bishop is a Sports Medicine Surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedics New York and recent competitor in the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials, who finished 50th out of 350 runners. To schedule an appointment with her, please visit RothmanNY.com or call 888-636-7840.