Discovering the Amazing-ness that is Vancouver
A few years ago, my husband and I went to Vancouver for the first time. If you haven’t been to Vancouver, you absolutely need to go.
We shopped on Robson Street, bought art on Granville Island, and hiked in Lions Bay, just north of the city. I fell in love; between the international vibe and the amazing access to the outdoors, Vancouver is just about perfect. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out how to spend time there more regularly.
Between all the sightseeing and shopping, however, I was absolutely determined to get a run in– I was training for my first half marathon. So while my husband headed back to the hotel room for a nap, I laced up my shoes and headed out for a run in Stanley Park. And thereupon, I discovered the joys of running on vacation.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve never been the type to lie on a chaise lounge and read a book all week on vacation. I’ve always been active and would go crazy if I did that for more than a day or so. I had never before planned for running on vacation however; I always left my workout routine at home.
Vancouver and Stanley Park showed me just how much I had been missing out on. The park is essentially a peninsula into the sea and has a waterfront path along the entire seawall; there are views all along ranging from the Vancouver Harbor to the Lions Gate Bridge to English Bay. I was absolutely staggered by the beauty of the park and the views on my run, and couldn’t believe that my husband was missing out on them for a nap (and this is coming from a girl who loves her naps!). Here’s what that particular run taught me about running on vacation:
- You’ll be able to explore places that a normal tourist will be unable to; whether because of time or the ability to cover the distance
- People will treat you like a local when you’re out pounding the pavement
- You’ll feel much more like a local and get a better sense of what it’s actually like to live in a particular place
- Taking the time to take care of your body will actually give you more energy for the other activities on your itinerary
- You’ll be able to delve into all those amazing vacation desserts without guilt!
Ever since that trip, I have never planned a vacation without scheduling time to get at least one run in; it’s allowed me to explore so much all over the world – in cities ranging from Hong Kong to Edinburgh to San Diego – that otherwise I could not have.
Tips on Finding a Great Route
It’s definitely critical to plan those runs in advance, however – you don’t want to find yourself lost, or worse, in a shady part of town by yourself. Here are some ways I find a great run in my destination:
- mapmyrun.com – a great app for finding previously planned routes, or charting your own (if you know what area of town you want to be exploring)
- Strava – which lists segments near you, including distance and grade. You can run the route at your leisure, or turn it into a competitive challenge against users who have already run the route!
- Ask the hotel concierge – yes, I know, something that doesn’t involve technology???? Good concierges are usually more than happy to provide tips – and sometimes maps – of popular running routes in the area, and sometimes even have gear to loan out if you forgot your own!
Just one item to note – Runner’s World used to have a great route finder page; unfortunately they discontinued it awhile back.
So that’s it for today. I hope you take time to fit a run in on your next trip, and if you do, please let me know about it in the comments below!
P.S. We’re finally on Instagram – please follow us at @KalliaAdventures!