Running on Family Vacations

I managed to sneak a few runs in last week while my husband, kids and I were visiting our extended family in Oklahoma. Because FAMILY > RUNNING, I was unwilling to sacrifice any family plans in favor of a run, but I still found a bit of time here and there. This was NOT the case last April when we had our wedding/honeymoon/family vacation in St. Lucia.

There are some definite drawbacks to running while on vacation with your family. Here are some perfect excuses to throw your training plan out the car window and take a nap in a hammock instead. In case you are feeling responsible, skip down toward the end.

Suitcase space is at a premium.

Only room for one set of stuff
Only room for one set of stuff

Nothing forces you to pack light like the knowledge that you’ll be toting children and their car seats through the airport along with your luggage. Southwest might allow two checked bags, but my arms strength doesn’t. When I was packing my one suitcase for St. Lucia, I decided that wedding favors, blue high heels and sequined white dress took precedence over bulky running shoes. So I made the executive decision that I would not be running, which was fine because of my next point:

It’s supposed to be a VACATION

A vacation from work, doing dishes, texting, and yes – running. Since St. Lucia was a very expensive vacation, I made up the rule that if you spend more than $300 a night on a hotel room you should not leave it unless you are doing something really, really fun like eating, drinking, making sandcastles, or saying “I do.” Soaking up every relaxing minute that I could wasn’t being lazy: it was being fiscally responsible.

St. James Morgan Bay

You won’t have a jogging stroller.

I typically try to assuage my I-should-be-parenting-instead-of-running guilt by throwing the kids in the jogging stroller and taking them along for the ride. This isn’t an option on vacation because if you can’t fit shoes in your luggage allotment, you surely can’t fit a jogging stroller. And pushing a double jogger through a busy airport does not seem like a good solution to this problem.


There will be family members around who are dying to babysit your kids.

Take advantage.

Grandpa time!

A shake-up of routine can be a good thing.

I never run in the mornings at home, but while we were visiting family, the best time of day was to get the run in during the morning before we headed out for the day’s activities. It turns out I love running the in morning! It was a quiet and cooler time of day, and I didn’t have to spend the rest of my day wondering when/if I could sneak a run in. Plus that satisfaction of completing a good workout stayed with me throughout the whole day. Maybe I’ll start running in the morning once I get back home too. Plus, running in a new location brings new challenges – whether it’s battling the heat in Oklahoma, the hills in Seattle, or the height in Denver.

Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.