Running Around: 5 Tips to Staying Fit and Exploring While Traveling

Regular business travel can be a pretty good excuse not to exercise, and an even better excuse not to train for a marathon. But I've found that incorporating exercise - especially running - into my business travel has not only improved the quality of my time on the road, but allowed me to train for what will be 5 marathons in November and see more than the inside of a sad hotel fitness room.

Here's what I've learned from the thousands of miles I've logged in the streets:

1) Fight Jet Lag & Feel Better

After a flight, especially a long-haul, time-zone crossing international flight (or heck, even flying from one coast to another in the U.S.) you likely feel a little groggy and perhaps not your freshest. It's really tempting to get to the hotel and take a nap, or maybe you have to go straight to a business meeting (I've gone straight from a transatlantic flight to an all-day meeting relying solely on the plane amenities kit, so I've been there).

I always feel better when I throw on my running clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head out on a run as soon as I can! I find it also helps with jet lag and I can fall asleep better later on. I thought it couldn't just be me, and turns out there's evidence behind why this works!

2) Explore New Cities and Neighborhoods

One thing that I love about running is that you can do it (almost) anywhere! Thanks to my frequent business travel schedule, I've had the opportunity to enjoy runs in cities like...

Dakar,

Geneva,

Munich,

Seattle,

And Zimbabwe

-- all on business travel!

It's a great way to see parts of cities you've visited a few times and may be a little bored of. Running also allows you to get your bearings in cities you don't know and might be visiting for the first time. Business travel often means being stuck in touristy areas or in conference rooms, so by logging a few miles, you may see something that catches your eye to explore after your work day is done -- you may even impress your coworkers by your new found knowledge.

3) Talk to the Front Desk Staff

I've found that the staff at hotels love when you ask them for advice about where to go and what to do. Well, why not ask where to run? They almost always have a map and can direct you to running paths, tracks, or even tell you where NOT to run. Especially in cities you don't know, it's just as important to know where to avoid as it is where to go. I've even had a few concierges tell me all about their journeys with running and we've swapped racing stories!

4) Tech is Your Friend

If you do a little planning ahead, there are plenty of apps/sites--like MapMyRun--out there that can help you map out a route. Sometimes people have even done the work for you and there will be routes already mapped out! Also, many cities have local running clubs that hold free meetups, or check out the websites for local running stores, as many host free running and fitness events.

5) Don't Give Up

Sometimes you arrive at your destination and it's too hot to run, there's bad weather, or you just don't feel like running. But that doesn't mean you need to sit on your bed and do work or watch the free HBO. Many cities have bike share programs now, which could be a good alternative to running and is another way to see the city (see number 2). You could also always check out that fitness center I mentioned.

Bonus Pro Tip:

I travel with resistance bands and a lacrosse ball to stretch and work out sore muscles in my room after a long flight, and they hardly take up any room in precious carry-on space!

So whether it's 3 days in San Francisco or a week in London, don't let business travel keep you from your fitness goals. You might also find that you look forward to your next trip more!

How do you prioritize your health and fitness while traveling for work? Inspire other business travelers by sharing the travel fit tips that have worked for you in the comments below.


Meet Our Upside Wingman:

James Porter serves as the Director of Communications at The END Fund. In this role he oversees and manages the END Fund's social media channels, website, communications, marketing, and outreach efforts. He brings over 9 years experience using both traditional and emerging media for social good in order to help the END Fund achieve its goals. Outside of work, you can find James running along the Hudson River, finding the best business travel deals, or taking photos around New York City.

PS: Want to learn how your company can earn 3% cash back while saving your team time, money, and effort on business travel? Visit upside.com/corporate (or click here) to see what we're cooking up with our new Upside Corporate program for small to medium sized businesses.