For the past two weeks I’ve been on holiday in Florida and I wanted to take a short break from training and running four times a week for several months in a row. I was however determined to squeeze in a couple of runs for fun, to explore and to stay active. Running on vacation is a really great way to explore the neighborhood you’re staying in as it takes you down paths you normally might not take.
However, since I am from the Netherlands and used to running early mornings in low temperatures, running in Florida required some preparation. I will share my experiences here, let me know in the comments below if you have any tips or experiences to add!
Florida run 1
My first attempt at running in Florida was not as successful as I hoped. I’d read a lot about parkruns and the communities behind it and I wanted to join them while I was on holiday. My home country doesn’t have parkruns so this was my best chance. Read here how bad I failed parkrun.
I did manage a very short 14 minute run at an average pace of 7:57 min/km. I brought my boyfriend along and I didn’t want to make him wait too long, also it was already 7:45 in the morning and the sun was getting way too hot. But, since my boyfriend was there, I finally got some pictures of me running!
Florida run 2
This time I had a route planned from the hotel I was staying at of about 6K. The route would take me past a nice parkway path next to a creek and along side some of the surrounding neighborhood. I was out the door by 6:15 in the morning before the sun was up and it felt nice and cool(ish) outside! This changed quickly when the sun showed up though.
My first mistake was made when I took a right turn too early. This made me run through the neighborhood instead of beside it. I figured I could find my way through and still make it to the path by the creek. A quick check on Google Maps showed that there should be a road leading there. Well, there was a road. But, since I accidentally entered a school property, which was completely fenced off except for the part where I entered it, I had to turn around again. I did pass a completely empty track field with an open gate that was calling my name, but I figured I was probably already overstaying my welcome here. I was getting a little unsure about how long this run was going to be as I had to run back quite far. The sun was also up by now and quickly heating up the air around me.
Still determined to run the path by the creek I ran back, found the correct route and made it to my little creek. Not really an amazing view, but the path was nice and a lot more even as most of the sidewalks here. This is also the first moment I spotted some fellow runners. Saying good morning is apparently not common here though. I was either ignored or given a weird look. Ok, never mind.
When I finally made it back to the hotel I had ran 8K at an average pace of 8:41 min/km. Given the amount of walk breaks I took for either finding my way, taking pictures or trying to cool my head, I was not disappointed about that at all!
Florida run 3
My third Florida run was delayed by one day due to severe fatigue. I woke up in the morning feeling so tired and with such heavy legs that I decided to turn around and sleep a bit more. By the time I woke up again it was past 8:30 and too hot to still attempt a decent run. We walked around 15 km through Miami and Miami Beach the day before, so that is probably the cause. The running clothes I had hand washed the day before were also not ready yet. One day later, the clothes are dry, I am awake and ready to go. Unfortunately it’s already 6:30 by the time I get out and the sun is already trying to show itself. I decide to make it a short run and to follow it up with a short session in the pool.
I’ve been thinking more and more about making pictures during my runs and specifically pictures of me running. Today I found a nice, abandoned road for a few testing pictures. The case on my phone has a small stand and I simply put my phone on the ground, pointing slightly upwards and used the selfie option with 10 second timer. It required some tries, but I think the pictures turned out okay for a first try. I might need to try a different camera app or a way to remotely take pictures at the right moment. I’ll be doing some research on that, but you can expect more pictures like these and hopefully some improvements as well.
After the photo session I went on with my run and to explore the neighborhood surrounding the Airbnb we’re staying at. It’s a nice neighborhood and most of the route I was able to run on sidewalks. I’ve noticed that many Americans stop their cars for me to cross the street, way before that’s even necessary. Not sure if it’s friendliness, fellow runners or maybe even the law? I usually thank them with a wave and a short sprint across the street.
This run had several walk breaks again, which I don’t really need back home, but the heat makes it necessary. Even with lots of extra water and pouring water on my head, I needed the walk breaks to cool myself. I ran 4,7 km with an average pace of 9:12 min/km. Back at the house I rinsed the sweat of in the shower, put on a swim suit and got myself to the private pool that came with this nice Airbnb. The next 15 minutes I spend swimming up and down the pool. All in all a good workout!
I didn’t have high expectations of my Florida runs regarding pace, but I wasn’t disappointed at all. I wasn’t fast, but that wasn’t what I was going for anyway. I had fun, I moved, I explored and I took a lot of pictures! The only thing that I’m disappointed about is missing the parkrun. I haven’t decided yet how and when I’m going to make up for this. I might check out one in Germany when I’m there (the German boyfriend sometimes craves back to his roots).
All in all, I highly recommend running on vacation. When you’re visiting a country way hotter as what you’re used to, make sure you don’t run during the hottest time of the day or even try to avoid running in the sun altogether. And hydrate. I brought approximately 3 times as much water with me on my runs as I would normally need and that seemed to do the trick for me. Freezing half a bottle of water the evening before provided me with a really nice cold drink during my runs.
My holiday in Florida is slowly coming to an end and in the coming week I’ll be starting my half marathon training with the new and improved Garmin Coach plans. I’ll also be deciding which race I’ll be doing next month, cause it’s itching and I want that medal I missed out on at my first race!