Whether its in your neighborhood or on the streets of say…New Orleans, running can be done anywhere and at any time. This is what I love about running and always eager to run when travelling for business or for fun.
I recently had a three day business trip down to the Big Easy and took my running gear with me. I traveled to New Orleans before but this would be my first logging a run.
Now the tricky thing about New Orleans are the temptations. From the great restaurants found all throughout the city to the bars found in the French Quarter, running could easily be forgotten when indulging in a Hurricane or a blue drink in a flashing skull cup.
I’m happy to report that I was able to balance a little fun while getting in my miles. Here’s how I did it.
The closer I got to my trip the more I kept asking myself when will I find time to run. I attended a software user conference that had training running from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. That leaves no time during the day for a run. Cocktail hours and dinners were already scheduled right after 5:00. That left me with running in the morning. Luckily, I started the transition to morning runs some time ago so I was in my element.
Next I started thinking about routes. I knew New Orleans but not well enough to just take an exploration run. My route had to be planned in advance to eliminate any possibility of getting lost or worse – lured into an establishment on Bourbon Street.
A coworker of mine knew New Orleans very well helped me map a route that was safe but also allowed me to take in some sights of the city.
I took my prep a step further by bringing along some gear that would help stay safe and enjoy a run. A high visibility vest isn’t the sexiest thing a runner can wear but there are no style points when it comes to safety. An armband comes in nicely as it helps secure your smartphone, hotel room key, and cash.
I decided to leave the headphones at home. While I love listening to music when I run, I don’t know New Orleans well and the streets were still busy even at 6:30 in the morning.
Running New Orleans
The night before I ran, my co-workers and I hit the Palace Cafe for some great seafood and then ventured out to the French Quarter for some drinks. I had enough fun to know when to call it a night and still allow enough time for a good night sleep.
Once the alarm went off, I geared up and headed out for an easy four miles.
I headed down Poydras Street which I found out pretty quickly is busy even at 6:30. There were traffic lights at almost every block and rush hour traffic was heavy. There was a lot of starting and stopping in the first mile, but as I approached the Mississippi River the traffic died down.
Running along the Mississippi River in the morning is really calm and beautiful. I exited the streets and ran in Woldenberg Park, which is a riverfront park with some great views of the river.
I followed the park trail to run north on Esplanade Ave. Here there are plenty of Double-Gallery, Shotgun, and Creole style homes. For a visitor to New Orleans, the architecture is impressive, and I don’t know if I wouldn’t have had chance to see any of it if I didn’t run.
I headed west when I arrived at Rampart Street and took some south facing views of the French Quarter. Funny to see it so quiet in the morning. These streets were buzzing just a few hours ago (even during the middle of the week).
My run resulted in a loop that allowed me to take in some sights along the way. I wanted to enjoy the run and not get caught up on trying to navigate a route on-the-go.
Unfortunately, the weather and my schedule didn’t allow another run out in the city. I had to settle with time spent on the treadmill, but at least the view was good.
Based on what I saw, New Orleans is a great city for running. While there are some of the same trappings of urban living like Chicago, it didn’t take long to break away and explore the uniqueness of New Orleans.
I credit my successful sightseeing run to planning and preparation. While this took some extra time prior to leaving, the end result a safe run full of sights only available in New Orleans.
It’s easy to skip running while travelling for business, but visiting a city like New Orleans, I had to make the time to take in all it has to offer.0