Staff Blog: Running Not-So-Hot Spots

Not the most scenic running spot in the world, but I made it work.

Welcome to our new staff blog, which will be updated four times weekly by editor-in-chief Brian Metzler, Competitor.com senior producer Mario Fraioli, associate editor Cielestia Calbay and copy editor Linzay Logan. Our aim is to inform, inspire and entertain, while also sharing our own experiences as runners in an effort to open up a discussion about a variety of topics that we can all relate to on a daily basis. Enjoy!

This week’s first entry comes to you from my hotel room in East Boston, Massachusetts, where I just returned from a 30-minute run around the building’s parking lot. No, one entire loop of the parking lot didn’t take me half an hour to complete, but rather I looped around and around…and around and around some 15 times or so before deciding enough was enough.

Why so many loops? Contrary to popular belief I am not out of my mind, nor did I get lost when the concierge told me to take a left out the front door, nor was I trying to mess with the bellhop’s head on this steamy Sunday night in New England. Rather, my temporary residence for the early part of this week happens to be sandwiched between a major highway, a major airport and a not-so-nice looking neighborhood, leaving me with three less-than-outstanding options: 1. Not run; 2. Turn the parking lot into my own personal track 2, or 3. Make the belt spin round and round on the hotel’s in-house rat wheel, I mean treadmill.

Well, option #1 was never really an option to begin with, and of my remaining choices, the outdoor alternative was the least monotonous and less mentally taxing of the two, so to the parking lot I went. Plus, I’ve read stories of Bill Rodgers running for two hours back and forth on an airport access road and once had a customer at the running store I used to work at tell me he regularly ran 10 miles around a 100-meter loop, so 15 laps around the building didn’t seem so bad after all.

Running while traveling can often be a challenge, especially when the place you’re staying at is in a less than ideal location. Treadmills were seemingly made for these sorts of unfortunate situations, but they’re not always an option — and when they are, more often than not we can’t get off them fast enough. The trick to making your running work when on the road and outdoor options aren’t aplenty is to eliminate excuses and find a way to keep things interesting. In my 15 laps around the building I switched directions every two loops, threw in short surges between light posts for a majority of the run and even made a game of identifying the planes that flew overhead. (Yes, I am that guy.) Before I knew it the run was done, I avoided a big, fat zero in my log book and I got in some pretty good work to boot — not to mention I became something of an amateur expert on which airlines inhabit the airspace over Logan airport on a Sunday evening.

Does this situation sound similar? How do you make less-than-ideal running situations work in your favor? Share your stories and top tips in the comments section below!

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