I just returned from a spectacular vacation in Florida with my family. We had beautiful weather, days full of activities (hello Disney!), and tons (and tons and tons) walking/hiking. In fact, we walked, on average, about 15 kilometers each day. My FitBit loved it.
In addition to all the walking and activities, I, of course, had to venture out for a few runs.
My first trip running while in Florida happened around 9 pm. We’d returned to our hotel from a very long day but I felt like I needed something more. Plus, it was just so gorgeous that I couldn’t wait to slip on my sneakers and get trekking.
I left my hotel room and headed out on a paved trail around the lake adjacent our resort property. A few minutes into my run I realized I may be a bit insane (or paranoid). Here I was in a different country, in the evening, by myself, on a path surrounded by trees and a lake (with signs warning to watch out for alligators and snakes, mind you). I swiftly turned myself around and headed right back to the resort.
Instead of putting myself at risk of danger, injury, psychopaths, or death by alligator, I decided to stay right on the resort, making my way up the stairs to the top floor of each hotel, running around that floor, back down the stairs to the next floor, and continuing that cycle until I was finished the bottom floor. Then I would move on to the next hotel. It turned out to be a really great run/workout! And there were security cameras and people everywhere – including kids (it was a family resort), so I felt safe the entire time. I don’t know if I would do the same thing at other hotels, perhaps if the atmosphere was the same.
Anyway, when I returned the other day from this vacation and saw that November is National Running Safety Month AND that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series recently made a stop in Las Vegas, I figured it perfectly coincided with my vacation runs. In addition, Vegas.com will be posting tips on their site on how runners can stay safe while running in Vegas (and, pretty much anywhere you happen to be).
With all that being said, here are my tips for safe running while in Vegas (or just on vacation):
Tip #1 – ANNOUNCE YOUR RUN
Okay, so you don’t have to hop onto the loud speaker or anything, but ALWAYS let someone know where you’re going. Even if you’re traveling alone be certain to tell someone what you’re up to. You can advise the hotel staff that you’re heading out for a run on your own and your ETA will be 45 minutes. Or you can phone or Facebook a friend/family member advising that you’re at whatever hotel, heading out for a run at whatever time, expecting to be however long, and you will touch base upon your return. (I actually do this all the time when I’m heading out for a run by myself – either from work or from home, or from wherever. Even if I’m taking my phone, I still let people know I’m heading out.)
Tip #2 – RUN WITH A BUDDY
Obviously, running with a friend or in a group would be ideal when it comes to safety, especially when you’re away from home (like in Vegas, baby!), but that’s not always an option. As noted above, some people travel alone….and then sometimes you’re traveling with people who have no desire to run with you (been there!). But, if you are fortunate enough to be on vacation with someone else – who happens to also run – definitely take advantage of it and get out for a buddy/group run. There is safety in numbers.
Tip #3 – TAKE YOUR PHONE
Cell phones are a basic staple for most people these days, so bringing yours on your run isn’t a bad idea. Not only can you listen to your playlist while your feet are hitting the pavement, you can “check in” to places when you pass by them. I’ll be completely honest – I’ve never checked in anywhere and am not completely sure how it works, but it’s worth looking into if you’re venturing out on your own. This will leave a trail of breadcrumbs on social media of where you’ve been.
Tip #4 – MAP OUT A ROUTE
Normally, I’m not a fan of mapping out a route. Maybe it’s because most of the people I know who map out a route simply do it so they can post it to social media and wait for accolades. It drives me nuts! Fitness should be for you – NOT for how much applause you can get from posting about it. But, in this case, when it’s for safety purposes then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to map out a route for your run when you’re out of town (and, I mean, if you’re taking your phone anyway….). Especially, if you’re heading down the Vegas strip. I still wouldn’t venture down any blind alleys or anything, but if you’re making your route public to those back home then you should be able to relax a teensy bit more when you’re heading out. It’s still not a bad idea to touch base when you’re safely back in your hotel room.
Tip #5 – STAY HYDRATED
We think of this one as a no-brainer – water is important. I usually drink several liters a day. But, let me tell you that while I was in Florida, I did not drink as much water as I normally do, or what’s required. I was a little dehydrated on this trip. It happens. We’re out of town, we get busy, we’re having fun…the idea of drinking more water often leaves us. Therefore, we have to become more aware and alert of how much water we’re drinking, especially if we’re going to be running in the Vegas heat.
Tip #6 -UTILIZE THE FITNESS ROOM
I almost always check out the fitness room in any hotel I stay in. Working out is important to me and my fitness routine and health need not suffer just because I’m away from home or on vacation. Especially when I’m training for races, I do not want to get out of my running routine. And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t always want to hit the streets for my runs. That’s when the hotel fitness room can be a game changer. Jumping on the treadmill and hitting the incline can often be the way to go. Get it over with and move on to the fun stuff. Aside from running, there are other ways to stay fit and in training mode in the fitness room (strength training, stability training, other cardio machines). Step out of place and change it up once or twice. In addition to the fitness room, you can make up a program (or YouTube one) in the privacy of your hotel room – or, you can do like I did in Florida and race around the floors of the hotel. Of course, when I did it I was going around the outside perimeter of the resort blocks, but, if you’re quiet enough you might be able to get away with running in the halls of your hotel. Look into some awesome Vegas hotel deals here!
Tip #7 -STAY ALERT
We often let our guard down, especially if we’re relaxed, or exercising, or having fun or on vacation – especially in a place like Las Vegas – so we have to work harder at being alert. It’s the same as with what I mentioned about staying hydrated….we simply forget or become so consumed with what we’re doing that we don’t think about it. So, for your safety, think about it….THINK ABOUT YOUR SAFETY! Stay alert, check your surroundings, be safe.