Last week I was in Houston for training for work. It was my second time in the city – and my first time solo! This time around, I wanted to make sure I continued my workouts/running, because it can be easy to get caught up in living the travel life (crazy work schedule, eating out, happy hours, etc.) So I wanted to share a few tips that helped me:
- Plan ahead! Have a lil’ bit of fun on Google.
- Check out the local parks. If you get to your destination early, head over to the local parks/track to see the terrain, area, etc.
- Talk to the locals. I personally like to chat with the concierge/front desk upon check-in. I tell them I’m a runner and ask for the best local places. Make sure you ask about the safety of the area, times the park is open, best route to get there, etc.
- Hotel Gym. Make sure you at least check out the hotel’s gym!
- Pack your gear. I packed my running belt because I knew I would want to keep my hotel room key, my license, a credit card, and some cash stashed on me. If you have “The Grid” Foam Roller, you can also pack that!
- Safety First. Especially if you are travelling alone, you should let someone know where you plan on running. Just a quick call to let them know the general area where you plan on running. I also left a lil’ note on the desk in my hotel room with the date and time. A lil’ paranoid? Maybe. But peace of mind, just in case.
If you know you are going out-of-town, and do not know the area well, take a quick 30 minutes to search out the area online. Bring up Google and look up the area surrounding your hotel – look for parks, highways, etc. I mapped out distances between the hotel and the local parks. Sometimes the parks have a website which can give you additional information. Once I arrived at the hotel, I also chatted with the front desk to get their opinion on great local places to run. Part of their job is to know what the guests are looking for – and I have yet to be disappointed with suggestions! And one great thing about the running community, they are usually very friendly and supportive. If you head to a local park or track, you can ask another runner/walker for their suggestion on places to train!
Sam Houston Park / Buffalo Bayou Park
I got to the hotel late Sunday evening, so I planned my long run for earlier that morning before my travels. For Monday evening, I headed over to Sam Houston Park. I was told there were miles and miles of running ground…and at first, I was a lil’ disappointed with the size of the area, because the park was literally just a park. I did two laps around the park (stone steps, ponds, and ducks, oh my!) and then found that if you continued just past the park, and under the highway system, you came to a path that led down to a canal, with running trails on both sides of the river. This is called Buffalo Bayou Park and the area was great! There were gently rolling hills, bridges, and miles of biking and jogging paths in both directions!
Hermann Park / Rice University
I told a friend, who used to live in Houston, that I was interested in finding a few new running places, and she suggested I try out Hermann Park. It was 3 miles from where I was staying downtown – so I took a $1.25 metro ride to the area so I could get there with enough time to stomp around before the early sunset. 6 stops later – I came to a beautiful, open green space. The area houses a golf course, a jogging track, The Houston Zoo, outdoor theaters, The Museum of Natural Science, lakes, and much, much more! I decided to just run and see where the paths took me. And it was great fun!