Running around Europe

The last few months have been full of intense travel AND marathon training. How have I combined the two? With some very interesting experiences! I started training for the Berlin marathon in May, just before we travelled to Italy with my parents and in-laws. Some cities are easier than others to run in- Venice was insanely crowded unless I got up at 6 am to run along the waterfront. Worth it-the views were amazing and having St Marks square almost to myself was pretty incredible.  I tried parkruns in a few places as well, the Moscow Sokolniki parkrun was an experience I won’t soon forget, and everyone at the Warsaw parkrun was very welcoming! In Belgrade I ran along the Danube, while the last stragglers headed home from the barge night clubs and in Budapest woke up early for sunrise views of the city and bridges.

A few things I’ve learned along the way and tips for running abroad:

  • Rivers and waterfronts in big cities almost always have a promenade which is great for getting some miles in.
  • The internet is your friend-there are tons of websites dedicated to running routes for tourists or new city residents.  If you can’t find one, checking Strava for segments is a good way to find popular places to run.
  • Some cities offer running tours. I haven’t actually tried this yet but it seems like it could be a good way to learn and run at the same time.
  • Parkruns are an easy, safe and free way to get a 5k run in a city. You register online and show up for a well organized, timed 9 am (9:30 in some places) 5k run through a park. I’ve done them throughout the UK and while on holiday in Russia and Poland. Germany, Italy and Scandinavia have plenty as well, so it’s a good option if there’s one nearby!
  • An early start is often required- once the cruise boats show up or tours start the sidewalks and promenades quickly become crowded and frustrating.
  • Look for large public parks to run in, it’s much easier to run when you’re not worrying about getting lost in a city you’re not used to.

Have you run anywhere interesting while on vacation?

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