The Holiday Mile (Andrew)

I always take my trainers with me on holiday. I have this idea that I’ll go for a run when I’m away. That it’ll be a chance to explore a new city or town and get a fresh perspective of where I am. Yet, every time I come home, I find my trainers have reminded firmly in a well wrapped bag.

(The bag has to be well wrapped as trainers, well, there’s no,other way to say this, STINK. And the very last thing you want to do is place your trainers tightly in with all your fresh holiday clothes in a closed bag because soon everything will smell of your feet…eugh!)

This year I decided that there was no point planning a holiday run. I was going to be away for two weeks, I had to bring hiking boots and taking a pair of trainers too felt like I’d be using too much space for footwear I would only use for a few hours, if that.

And, if I didn’t take my trainers, I wouldn’t feel guilty about not going for a run. You can’t feel guilty if you can’t actually do something. Just like I don’t feel guilty about not going to the moon, painting a stunning landscape or eating beatroot (it’s purple – only bruises and dinosaurs are purple!).

But, when I started to pack I realised I would have space for trainers if I wore my hiking boots onto the plane. If I didn’t pack,them, but wore them instead, I’d free up both space and weight. And then I thought, why not take my trainers but instead of thinking I should go for a run I would only aim to cover a mile instead: The Holiday Mile. A simple goal, less than 10 minutes and it would meet my goal of seeing more than just a hotel in wherever we stayed but would also be short enough that it didn’t feel like an imposition during the holiday. It would be over and done before breakfast.

And, as it turned out, if I went out for that first mile, I would also carry on if I was enjoying it.


So, here then are my Holiday Miles for Dubai and Uganda.



And all I can say is…

Don’t do it! I mean really, really don’t do it. I tried my holiday mile at the end of September when the temperature was 42 degrees and it was horrible. That’s not running, that’s cooking.

Also, I ran on the beach so I didn’t even use my trainers.

But apart from that, I was happy the Holiday Mile worked. I got out, I ran, And if I can do it on what felt like the surface of a barbecue then it can be done anywhere. Places like…



One worry when running abroad is what happens if you get lost. It’s easy to do, you don’t know the area and signs may either be in other languages, other alphabets or non-existant. You might decide not run just because you don’t know where you are. What if you’re ina bad area of town?

That was my worry in Kampala, in Uganda. It was my first time in Central Africa and I didn’t know where one neighbourhood starts and another ends. Each road was either dirt track or basic tarmac and we were staying next to Lake Victoria and open ground. Luckily, I’d brought my Garmin watch with me and was keen to try out a new feature – Trackback, which would give you directions back to the start of your run.

I hoped not to use it. I thought I’d have a good sense of direction and was marking street corners in my head as I ran but, when I turned round, I managed to miss two turnings and ended up at the top of a hill next to a school and with no memory of seeing it before. I knew I was lost. This wasn’t the way I had come. But I had Trackback.

I switched it on, my watch showed a small map of the route I’d ran and an arrow point telling which direction to go. It then beeped when I ran passed a road I should have ran down and it warned me every time I ran in the wrong direction. It was brilliant. And I’ll forgive Garmin their dodgy straps – see Challenge Roth Swim – just for this function.

And, even better, I’d actually run two miles. A double Holiday Mile.

Why not try the Holiday Mile the next time you go away?

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