TravelIn a continuing collaboration with Scott over at Straight to the Bar, we will be writing about training and travel throughout the month of September. This week I would like to talk about finding a local track to run on when you travel.

Running Track
Photo by ProdigalSista
When traveling, it can be difficult to keep on top of your workouts. You have endless distractions, you may have forgotten to bring some of your toys with you, and it can be hard to motivate yourself to get in some good speed work.

If you do find the means to motivate yourself for some speed work, then try to find a local track in your area that you are traveling to. Most towns will have a track somewhere, and a quick call ahead of time to the local schools can let you know if there are public hours that will allow you to get on. If you are running in a city somewhere, then there is probably more than one track and there may even be a commercial one that you can use for a small fee.

When you are trying to locate a track, you can also try navigating around in Google Earth, Google Maps or any other satellite photography site to find tracks in that area that you are traveling to. Tracks are very visible from the air and are easy to pick out. (Thanks to DPeach for the tip.)

When you do find a track, respect any rules that are posted. For example:

  • Public hours are usually posted; do not trespass when the track is off-limits.
  • Heed lane-usage guidelines. Many tracks do not want anyone to run on the inside lanes unless they belong to the school or are competing because they see the most use and tend to wear the fastest.
  • Pay attention to your footwear; some tracks are limited to sneakers and prohibit spikes.

Being on vacation is no excuse to skip your speed work. A few calls or searches on the internet can find you any high schools, colleges or sports complexes in a city or town that you are visiting. There are tracks almost everywhere that you can imagine, even on the tops of some buildings!

Just remember to bring some running shoes and clothes with you on your trip.