Running on Vacation – Puerto Vallarta


We typically go somewhere south for spring break.  In past years it’s been Florida, South or North Carolina, Georgia.  This year we decided to finally get the kids their passports and go to Mexico.  Running on vacation is kind of the norm for me.  My family already knows that I look for every opportunity to make our vacation a “runcation.”  I’ve generally been in taper mode for a race – half or marathon – during this time.  This year however I happened to be training for the Kettle Moraine 100k, and not on a cut back week.  It wasn’t until we were a couple weeks out that it hit me that deciding where to go for 2-3hour long runs was not going to be as easy as it is back home.


I feel like I had about 1/4 to 1/2 of my suitcase dedicated to running clothes and gear.  I wore my running shoes on the flight so I’d have more room in my suitcase.  The fact that I planned to be in a swimsuit or shorts the remainder of the time helped make room!  Here’s what I brought that helped me sail through:

  • Enough running clothes for # of runs +1
  • Hydration pack w/ bladder
  • Visor
  • GU and Nuun + a little extra than I needed
  • Handheld water bottle
  • Headphones (cordless – I use Aftershokz)
  • Garmin watch
  • A couple Larabars (in case I went out before breakfast opened)

What I also wish I had brought:

  • Trail shoes (duh, forgot how much the beach is like trail)
  • Foam roller/ Trigger Point Grid STK


Where to Run?

For some reason I figured the hotel staff would know of a good route nearby to run.  I was wrong.  I lucked out in that we were in a beachfront resort that had a relatively long beach.  For all but one of my runs I ended up running on the beach.  If you’ll be running on the beach, and especially if you have more than a couple of miles to go…

It’s kind of like trail.  If you are going to be running on the beach, remember to bring your trail shoes!  Be prepared to work around plenty of obstacles as well.  After the long stretch near my hotel, I had to run up on the soft sand around rock formations (sort of little piers of rocks) every few minutes.

Keep mind of y0ur surroundings.  My goal was to try and run the beach down to the Malecón, where I had seen online was an area where a lot of people ran.  I got fairly far around all the rock obstacles but it started to look a little sketchy with a resort that was being either torn down or being built and so I turned around.

Start early.  The first time I went out I had slept in, so it was about 9am by the time I started.  Each day after I got out earlier and earlier until I was starting my runs between 6-7am.  I found that the earlier I started, the lower the tide, the more flat beach surface to run.


For my last day there I had another long run and was kind of sick of running on the beach.  I finally decided to chance running into town via the main road to run along the Malecón.

Go there by car/bus first.  We took the bus (only 7 pesos!)  earlier in the week to do some sightseeing, so when I went I knew where to go to get to the main street and what all the landmarks were supposed to look like.  I lucked out that just one block from our hotel was the main road that went straight to downtown and had sidewalk the whole way.

Go on a Sunday.  Sundays in Puerto Vallarta are pretty low key.  There aren’t as many cars out on the main road and foot traffic is lighter as well.  Sundays are for family time, church, and gathering in the plaza.  I went at about 7am to get ahead of people strolling around the plaza as well.

Overall, I was able to stick fairly close to my training plan, not in miles but in time on my feet and still enjoy my vacation.  Buen viaje!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>