The Everyman: 5 Don’ts While Running In A Foreign Country

Running around Italy has some challenges, writes Jason Devaney.

Running around Italy has some challenges, writes Jason Devaney.

Running your way around a handful of cities in Italy for eight weeks will teach you a thing or two. Here are five lessons I’ve picked up this summer.

Don’t Trust The Crosswalk Indicators 1

When you must cross the street, always wait for the indicator to turn green (Italian drivers are crazy). If you come up on the crosswalk and the indicator is yellow, you might want to wait for the next cycle. Yellow can last two seconds or 10, depending on when it changed. As soon as it turns red, it’s full gas for the cars. I nearly got my wife and I killed last week when I darted out on a yellow.

Don’t Trust The Crosswalk Indicators 2

Even when the pedestrian light is green, that doesn’t mean the cars turning will stop for you. It’s like playing a game of chicken. My strategy is to try to make eye contact with the drivers as I make my way into the crosswalk before going. Or you can just go for it and hope the lead-footed drivers decide to use their brakes.

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Watch The Weather

This is true anywhere, but it’s important to know what you’re running into before heading out. We learned early on that the sun here in Rome is intense—so much so that finding a slice of shade on the sidewalk or on the road is like switching to the other side of the pillow at night. It’s a huge drop in temperature. So before you head out, check the mercury and plan accordingly. Shade is your friend here.

Plan For All Terrain

I’ve covered the bumpy roads and sidewalks here in Europe. Even a 3-mile run can feature cobbles, dirt, gravel, grass, loose rocks and pavement. And watch out for that chunk of ancient ruins next to the sidewalk. Rome would not be kind to barefoot runners.

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Finding Gear Is A Challenge

We’ve only stumbled upon one running store here in Rome. And while there may be more, the number of running shops is not near what it is in the United States. Need some nutrition or hydration supplies? Looking for a tech shirt or a pair of shorts? It’s not as easy as heading down the street.