Running Wanderlust: Why I Love Running & Racing Abroad

This post is in partnership with Asics. 

wanderlust running abroad - Sakura Asics collection

The list of races and locations that I want to run in is as long as my arm, and continues to grow as I read about new races, spot beautiful pics on Instagram and speak to other runners online.

I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to travel so much to run over the past five years;

  • New York, Boston, Chicago, Florida, California, Hawaii
  • Berlin
  • Paris
  • Geneva
  • Nice
  • Cyprus
  • Tokyo
  • Costa Rica
  • Portugal

And the list of races and places I’d like to run seems never ending, but top of my list are the LA Marathon, Cherry Blossom 10 miler, Vacation Races (any of their locations), Seawheeze, Comrades Marathon, and New Orleans Rock N Roll.

The reason I love running abroad so much, aside from the fact that it makes for some epic Instagram shots, is that it is the ideal way to explore a new place. An early morning run is the perfect post flight stretch and helps get over the effects of jet lag. You can see a lot of a city or landscape on the run, covering more miles than you could or would walking around, either within an organised race, a running tour or your own training run. And it usually forces you to venture further from the standard tourist hot spots. Personally, I like to think it makes you stand out less as a tourist, and look more like a local on your morning run (maybe that’s wishful thinking!)

Plus it adds some variety to your training. I’ve completed 20 mile runs in Portugal, hill repeats in New Zealand and speed workouts in Australia, as well as logging hundreds of more casual miles around the world.

I know a lot of people have suggested that I race my marathons closer to home, but for me, choosing races across the world is all part of the marathon excitement to me. The adventure of travelling is part of the thrill of the race.

And it gives me another excuse to travel. I sometimes don’t know which came first, the desire to travel to that location or a particular race in the destination…

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. 

Sakura Asics collection

The atmosphere around a race is my absolute favourite.

There are so many likeminded people in the area, you’ll find them collecting their bibs at the expo, spot them on public transport and nod knowingly at your fellow carb loaders in the local Italian restaurant. Runners are generally really friendly! During the Tokyo Friendship Run we got chatting with the Americans and Brits around us – then I randomly saw one of the American guys at the end of the race – we hugged in celebration of our new PBs (when else would that be appropriate with a stranger?!)

I’ve found that runners give the best breakfast advice, not to mention make great tour guides. I’ve met up with many running friends from Instagram for runs, or followed DM advice from you guys on where to run, refuel and workout abroad.

It’s easy to throw a pair of trainers, sports bra and some kit into your suitcase, infact it’s often the first thing I pack. And it’s free to do wherever you go. Whether you find an elaborate route around the city, or have to do mile repeats outside your hotel… we make it work.

Sakura Asics collection

My wardrobe is bursting with running kit, (in my defence, I just donated a couple of bags to friends/family and charity) but I love shopping for sports kit while I’m away. Both at the official race expo’s and at local shops. My credit card always takes a beating at Lululemon when I’m in the USA, and I found some cute kit in Tokyo and California from local brands. Not to mention the race branded kit…

I’m actually wearing the new Asics Sakura kit in these photos. It was inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom flowers (so sad we weren’t in Tokyo for Cherry Blossom season, going to have to go back!)

Sakura Asics collection

I’ve found in the past that Asics ranges either perfectly hit the mark for me, or aren’t quite to my taste, often with a more European style. However, this range (and a lot of their recent kit) has been right up my street. In particular, the white and blue outfit below with the seamless leggings are so comfortable, flattering and stylish. They’d be ideal for running, gym workout or yoga class.

I will say that I fluctuate in size in Asics, their loose fitting tops I wear a small, whilst some of their tight tops I am a large to accommodate for the 32DDs. I wore size M for most of this collection, and a size 6.5 shoe (I’m usually a size 6 shoe but go up half a size in trainers).

Sakura Asics collection

Sakura Asics collection

Travel is the only thing we can buy that makes us richer. 

I’ve shared this before, but I would say that most of my disposable income goes on traveling. I was brought up with a passion for adventure and love going on trips with friends, family or even on my own, like hiking Kilimanjaro last year. I think part of the reason I love running whilst abroad so much, is that you can do it solo, grab your travel buddy or join a local group.

It doesn’t have to be a marathon that you travel abroad for. In fact, I think my goal for next year will be to run more shorter races abroad. I love the idea of  travelling for more half marathons and 10Ks, where I don’t have to be so worried about spending too much time on my feet the day before the race, or about eating the right things, resting, and prepping for a marathon.

Do you run when you travel? Any international races on your bucket list? 

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9 Comments

  1. Nathan
    March 27, 2018 / 10:13 am

    Awesome – I couldn’t agree more. I have been privileged to run in China recently, it’s a fantastic way to see a city, culture and the sights!

  2. Amy
    March 27, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    For a major dose of ‘run’-derlust I suggest reading “Run the World” by Becky Wade. Her whole trip is on my running travel wish list

    • April 15, 2018 / 3:51 am

      Yes! This book and Phil Hewitt’s are the perfect blends of running & travel.

  3. Stephanie
    March 27, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    This is awesome. I keep playing with the idea of signing up for national park races around me because 1. I love to run and 2. It will force me to travel to places I already want to go. I’m pretty sure I just made the decision to do it now! I follow you on instagram as well and your posts always give me some wanderlust. Here’s to many more good runs!

  4. Kirsty
    March 27, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    It’s great seeing you running all over the world, I always take my trainers with me even on a short break. Iv recently come back from a European trip in which we did 6 cities, 4 countries in just over 2 weeks and I ran in every place! It was amazing!
    Love the blog

  5. March 27, 2018 / 9:40 pm

    I want to do more travelling and race-cations! I love getting to run in new cities and see the city during morning runs or a race, which is a special way to be a tourist. Hopefully in the next couple years with steady income (the past few have been on a grad school budget) I will be able to do more.

    http://www.breathedeeplyandsmile.com

  6. Charli
    March 30, 2018 / 2:12 am

    Absolutely agree!! Some of my top runs on vacation: Rome marathon, Havana, Beijing, San Francisco, and of course NYC Marathon (3x). I am working my way through a Marathon in all of the 50 states. Along the way I have been to some incredible places and corners of the US I doubt I otherwise would have ever visited.

  7. Jenn
    March 31, 2018 / 11:09 pm

    I’ve read your blog for a long time and I’m a big fan. I hope you’ll take the below in the spirit of positive challenge and genuine curiousity intended.

    I’m struggling to reconcile your recent post, in which you mention that becoming Zero Waste is beginning to resonate with you more strongly than previously, with this post.

    It’s great that you think that race directors should do more to make their races eco friendly, but the reality is that switching from plastic bottles to paper cups is a small drop in the ocean compared to the environmental damage caused by people flying abroad to take part in running events. Would be very interested in your thoughts on this!

    • charlotte
      March 31, 2018 / 11:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I do totally understand where you’re coming from. It is something I’m very aware of, and I’m not perfect but Im trying to make changes for the better – like improving our recycling, and highlighting areas that I think could be improved in our running races.

      Having had friends just return from holiday to Bali where the beach was awash with plastic, I guess it just seems like a small change that I can make that doesn’t make a huge change to my life – cutting down single use plastic as much as possible. I’m aware that I could travel less but it is something I love, and with a husband as a pilot, something I don’t think i am in a position to preach about.

      Thanks again for your comment, and completely take on board your message – perhaps these blogs shouldn’t have sat side by side! x

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