Runners World Articles: Archives - September 2002
Running Away from Home
As I write this column, Im waiting in the Atlanta airport
for my flight, and Im faced with a real dilemma: Should I
patiently spend the next hour-maybe2-hunched over my laptop doing
busy work, or should I check my bag and scout out a place for a
All of us have pockets of time when we could be running. But instead,
we skip it because were not near a track, park, or another
favorite running route. This is too bad, because the beauty of running
is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. Below are some of the
venues where Ive improvised many a workout. You can do the
Lets say you have a couple of hours to kills at an airport.
If you know beforehand that youll have this chunk of time,
pack yourself a carry-on run bag that contains running
shoes, shorts, top, socks, deodorant, and Handi-Wipes. (Yes, Handi-Wipes
do a decent job of cleaning you up and making you socially acceptable
after a run.)
Stow your street clothes in an airport locker, and head out in
search of a running route. Ask an airport employee if there is a
nearby residential area that us easy to get to. Or run through the
extensive parking garages and lots that always surround airports.
Just watch for stressed-out motorists rushing to catch their flights.
If you dont have enough time to exercise away from the airport,
go for a power walk through the facility. You can easily cover a
couple of miles in most airports. And whn you have some open space,
jog for 15, 30, or 60 seconds at a clip. The Atlanta airport has
an underground walkway thats almost never crowded. And these
days, many airports even have fitness facilities with treadmills
and other exercise equipment. Ask about them.
Just because youre staying at a hotel in an unfamiliar city
doesnt mean you have to stay cooped up there. Ask the concierge
about safe, nearby running routes. Many hotels have running/walking
maps available to guests. Or ask if there are any hotel employees
who run. They might offer to share their favorite local route. Also,
check if the hotel offers a shuttle service to any nearby scenic
areas that might be good for a run.
I must have stood around for hundreds of hours as a soccer
dad before I started running laps around the practice field.
Then I began exploring the neighborhoods around the fields for longer
runs. Theres nothing like a run during halftime to relieve
the stress that can accumulate after a series of questionable call
by the official.
When its your turn to pick up the kids, head out early, and
park the car about a 10-minute walk away from the school. Run to
the school and around the school grounds as times allows. Finish
your run as you meet the gang at the school doors. Then use the
10-minute walk back to your car as your cool-down, and catch up
on how the school day went for everyone.
Speedwork in Strange Places
The next time youre away from home on a day when your training
schedule calls for speedwork, try this session:
1. Jog for 10 minutes to warm up. During the warm-up, scout out
an area that has a relatively flat and smooth surface where you
can run continuously (and safely) for up to 2 minutes. Possible
locations: large parking lots of any kinds, a nearby industrial
park to weave through, or a seldom-used concourse at an airport.
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