What to Know About Running in a New Destination, According to Experts

Whether you're signing up for a marathon on a different continent or logging a few miles on a beach vacation, lacing up may be the best way see a new place.

Marathon in Hamburg

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For fans of both running and traveling, lacing up in a new city — either for a big race or a casual morning run — may be the best activity on their itinerary.

“It’s great to use a race as an excuse to travel and visit a new place! Big Sur, Paris, and the Marine Corps Marathons [in Washington D.C.] are three of the races that come to mind when I think about traveling and running,” Sara Wickman, senior manager of national field marketing at athletic store Fleet Feet told Travel + Leisure. “I love starting my trip with the race, so I can spend the rest of the week basking in the accomplishment of finishing, seeing the sites, and enjoying what the local restaurant scene has to offer.”

The six biggest, most popular marathons in the world include races in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, and New York City. As a part of Abbott World Marathon Majors, these races draw between 35,000 to over 50,000 runners and several attract over a million in-person spectators. 

For runners with their sights set on a major marathon, Caroline Bell, also a marketing specialist at Fleet Feet, recommends planning ahead, as even the busiest cities feel the influx of crowds during race weekends to T+L.

“With so many runners converging onto one city, hotel and dinner reservations can be hard to come by if you wait too long,” she said.

Bell, who has also run all six of the majors, recommends booking accommodations as soon as race plans are set. 

For runners who aren’t as keen on running in crowds, trail running is another option to lace up while exploring a new place. One endurance-based option is the Ragnar Relay Series,, which takes teams of runners through 200 miles of terrain over two full days and one night. Races are run throughout the entire country and some packages even offer glamping options.

A group run trails in the Marin Headlands in California.

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Of course, running in a new place doesn't have to be competition-related and can be a completely solo or fun, small-group activity. Lacing up to learn the streets of a new city or take in the countryside is a perfect reason for runners of all levels to pack their sneakers.

Running, as with any activity, has its inherent risks, including high rates of injury. According to a study from Yale University medicine, “at least 50 percent of regular runners get hurt each year—some estimates put the percentage even higher—sometimes from trauma, such as a fall, but more often from overuse.” 

To prevent injury, especially while on the road, Nate Helming, head of content at Fleet Feet and longtime strength coach encourages runners to implement a strength and mobility routine. This can “help the body to undo all the time spent crammed in an uncomfortable seat while traveling for prolonged periods.”

Helming also suggests packing a tennis or lacrosse ball in your bag for an easy tool to help you roll out your arches, calves, or wherever else  requires a little extra TLC. 

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