7 Ways Road Trips Are Like Running

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After driving 804 miles up, down and around Washington and Oregon this weekend, I started thinking about the similarities between running and road trips.

Both road trips and running take some dedication, energy, and patience to get through. They are both feats of endurance that get you from one place to another.

1.     Hydration – While you hopefully aren’t sweating buckets while on a road trip, you should still be thinking about proper hydration. Air conditioning has a way of sucking the moisture straight from our bodies.

Not only that, but you may be tempted to limit the amount of rest stops you make by not drinking enough – same as when you don’t want to stop to pee in a bush or through your shorts on the run.

Don’t rely exclusively on caffeine while you drive. While coffee and soda work well to keep you awake, you will want to supplement those with water and sports drinks so you don’t get dehydrated.

2.     Nutrition – The foods you eat in a car might be different from what you eat during a run, but they may be more similar than you think. Trail mix, snickers bar, and energy bars all are great running and driving fuel. Unfortunately, you won’t be burning as many calories while driving.

You may want to bring along some lower-calorie snacks as well. Carrot sticks, apple slices, and celery sticks are great non-messy car snacks. You can also bring some meat and cheese snacks and raw unsalted nuts for a boost of protein.

3.     Exhaustion – Road trips, just like running, can sap the energy right out of a person. While you aren’t doing anything very physical, you still get worn out. If you want a good night’s sleep, either go for a long run or a long road trip.

4.     Swelling – Run too far, eat too many salty snacks, don’t drink enough water, or sit in one position for too long, and you will end up with a swollen, bloated body. How much can your ankles, fingers, and face swell? Give either running or driving long distances a try and find out for yourself!

5.     Tunes – Whether you are running or driving, good music, entertaining podcasts, or a delightful audiobook is a necessity. Any of these will help you get through the miles – whether via foot or wheel.

Sometimes silence is pleasant too, but do have some entertainment ready for when you need it. It can keep you alert and energized.

6.     Scenery – You can see some amazing things while you are driving and while you are running. You may not go as far by foot, but you are going slower, so you can soak more in more of the beauty around you. Stop at those roadside attractions – check out the giant spruce tree. Stretch your legs and arms, get a few steps in and work out the travel kinks. Road trips are an excellent time to see things you wouldn’t usually see.

7.     Patience – Just like when you need to slow down and jog or walk during a run, there are times when you hit traffic and your trip takes a little longer than you had hoped. Breathe deeply and relax; you will get there when you get there. Having patience with yourself and others is a useful skill in all aspects of our lives.

While you won’t get the workout while driving that you do while running, both activities have a lot in common. The great thing about a road trip is you can always decide to stop and run from your car for a spell. Not to mention, most hotels have hot tubs to relax in after a long day of driving (and hopefully some running too).

Even if you don’t get to run during your road trip, I bet you find some spectacular places to run in the future. I know that I found myself daydreaming about my feet on the pavement during my drive around Lake Crescent.

Better yet, get the best of both of these and take a road trip to a race you wouldn’t normally run because it’s too far away. Don’t forget to make some extra time on the way there, or on the way back, to see some cool things. Memories are always precious.

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About Author

Liz Ward

Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.

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