This weekend, I am in Amsterdam!
Now, I love running when I am on holiday. The new location gives me something new to see, it lets me visit an area I might not have otherwise made it to, and in a strange way it gives me an insight into the regular routines of people who live in the city. I blend in with the local people, just getting up and going for their Saturday morning jog.
It should all look a bit like this, shouldn’t it?
This worldly cosmopolitan dream can be a far cry from reality though. Roads without pavements, canal paths that stop dead, scary tram lines, confusing road etiquette, busy market squares, and of course the real likelihood you’ll get very very lost.
They don’t call me Hannah The Planner for nothing. I am a big believer in planning your routes if at all possible. Then when it actually comes to your precious holiday, you can have a great run and then get on with the rest of your day.
This isn’t uncharted territory
Someone has been to this city before, and someone has run there. A quick internet search of “where to run in Amsterdam” gave me a couple of great options.
If you’re staying in a hotel, ask the reception for advice on where to run. In Boston, I didn’t have time to prepare, but the reception pointed me in the direction of the river, and I had one of the best runs I’ve ever had.
I find the Garmin Connect website the best for plotting a route and seeing the distance. There’s no need to have a Garmin watch to create an account, and the route planner is intuitive and gives you distance and elevation.
Google Maps is your friend
I love using Street View to see if a road has a pavement, or if that large square is actually going to be jam-packed with pedestrians, and to pick out key landmarks of the route to avoid getting lost.
Since using mobile data abroad can be really expensive, download an offline map. Your GPS will still work, and you can see where you are. This is the only reason I am not still lost in the woods near my parents’ house in France.
We’re staying in the very centre of Amsterdam, so I found several running routes that looked great. I expect the beauty of the route will be eclipsed by the pain of the night before (this is a hen/bachelorette party!) but maybe I will take a photo or two, to look at when the pain subsides…