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5 Reasons Why You Should Run on Vacation 

Before you pack your bags for your next vacation, allow us to make the case for throwing in a pair of running shoes. Here are five reasons why running—whether you’re jogging or doing major mileage—should be part of any trip, near or far. 

Run for the mood-boosting endorphins

Exercise, in general, is scientifically proven to be a mood-booster. On vacation, those benefits are amplified when taken outdoors and paired with the heightened sensory experience of being in an entirely new place. The novel scents, curious sights, and intriguing everyday scenes all simultaneously distract and energize you as you whiz around corners and weave down sidewalks, taking it all in. If you’ve never reached that famed “runner’s high” before, running in a new place is likely to get you there. 

Photo by Fellipe Ditadi

Run to see and do more

Running enables you to see more and do more on vacation. You’ll of course cover more ground at a jog than you ever could at a walk, but you’ll also free up time in your day to squeeze even more in. For example, you could transform that suggested walking route through town that links all of the major attractions into an early morning run instead, do it in half the time, and still have room in the schedule for a day trip to the town next door. Alternatively, a daily run along a different route each time can introduce you to new parts of a destination and leave you with far more ground covered than had you never laced up.

Run to beat jetlag and travel fatigue

Shifting time zones can do a number on your circadian rhythm, messing up your sleep schedule, energy levels, and even your appetite. But studies have shown that exposure to natural light and exercise can help. What better way to get in both than to go for a run? For this to be the most effective remedy, time your run for the same time each day before, during, and after your trip. Research suggests that early morning exercise can push back your circadian rhythm while evening exercise can push it forward.

Run to more deeply connect to the destination

Running can help a place stay in your memory longer, no matter your length of stay. There’s a level of intimacy in having been carried by your own two feet through scenes that your usual travel itinerary would have never taken you to. Running will lead you to trails, neighborhoods, parks, overlooks, and experiences that become core memories. It will have you crossing paths with even more shades of local life, while the steady pace of quick scenes stack up and make sure you never forget this place and your connection to it.

The Glacier Half Marathon at Glacier National Park, organized by Vacation Races. Photos by Jenna Nastrini

Run to maintain your fitness

Lastly, if you’re already in a good fitness routine at home, don’t let it fall apart because of a vacation. Running is one of the few exercises that can very easily be done while traveling. All you need are your running shoes and the weather-appropriate clothing to go with them. Not only will you stay in shape and feel better during your trip, but you’ll also avoid that dreaded sluggish feeling that often comes with too many days of not eating well and not exercising. 

If running on your own in a new city sounds intimidating, here are a few companies offering running vacations and guided running-based tours in destinations all over the world:

Go! Running Tours offers a host of running tours and one-off running experiences with locals in more than 50 cities, including destinations in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and southern Africa. 

Run the World Adventures is operated by husband-and-wife duo Pablo and Cristina. They currently offer unique running vacations in Spain’s Costa Brava, the South Pacific jungles of Costa Rica, Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert, and France’s Pyrenees and Mediterranean coastline.  

Rogue Expeditions combines off-the-beaten-path adventure travel experiences with daily supported runs in unbelievable locations across North America, Central America, Europe, and Africa. Their tours are catered to all running levels from beginners to marathoners. 

Vacation Races offers meticulously organized running events in some of the world’s most breathtaking destinations, including national parks. They offer something for everyone, from ultra-marathons and trail running festivals to week-long running experiences in locations around the world.

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