Categorized | Destination Races, Primary

Enjoy Running In Belize

Posted on 17 January 2012

Spending the last several months on Ambergris Caye, Belize there have be many highlights from my morning runs along the beaches and trails along the Caribbean Sea.  While staying at my favorite location- The Exotic Caye Resort, my morning consists of the mandatory workout of running and swimming.   Just walk out of your room and toward the beach.

I recommend staying at Exotic Caye Resort, as it’s centrally located on the island, on the beach and a perfect spot to start for your daily run.    At Exotic Caye Resort you will immediately be greeted by for Kelly and Paul German who are the resort managers and they are 100% focused on making sure every visitor has a memorable experience.   I promise you will love their personalities.  This Canadian husband and wife combination will offer you many options for excursions of diving, boating, reef visits, and tours.  As most runners and endurance junkies we all tend to pack in as much as possible when traveling to ensure epic adventures and memories.   Kelly and Paul are athletic minded/ adventure racers and will provide your obsessive-compulsive personalities with a host of experiences.

For a great run/swim/run workout head south from Exotic Caye Resort on the beach (don’t forget to take your swim goggles and handheld water bottle with you.) The best times to run are sunrise and sunset (yes you will want to do 2 runs per day when you see it!).  Normal temperatures all year long are in the 80′s with sea breezes and humidity.   The beach is a combination of soft and hard pack sand and for those of you not used to normal running on heavy sand you feel at times as if you’re moving backwards.   Expect to notice an elevated heart rate when you pick up the pace similar to hill running.

The beaches are not pancake flat like many in the United States and at times feels like you are running on a single-track trail.  The charm and adventure to me is that it’s not just a big wide sandy beach with a bunch of massive condominiums and commercial buildings.  There is a height restriction on buildings and as you move further south on the beach there are less and less structures.  Imagine beautiful green palm trees, sloped vegetation on your right and aqua marine colored water of the Caribbean Sea on your left.    Expect to dodge many coconuts on the ground and uniquely located coconut tree roots!   Of course it’s a must to run through the warm sea water and don’t worry if your running shoes get wet it’s all part of the adventure.

At your turnaround point (depending upon your distance or time) I highly recommend a swim.  Just lay your running shoes and various clothing items on the base of a coconut tree and wade in for a swim.  One unique feature of the beach areas on Ambergris Caye is the shallow depths and vegetation that grows close to the shore.   There are restrictions on cutting back the vegetation for Eco purposes and to preserve the amazing sea life and of course the spectacular reef.   Head into the sea to an appropriate depth so you can get a full swim stroke in without hitting the bottom with your hand.  You will begin to see why this place is so spectacular to me.   Everything below the water opens up your senses and an adrenalin rush.  I always tend to swim faster than normal because the water clarity, sea life, brilliant colors and the buoyancy of the salt water.   The water is always warm but refreshing after the run.   I recommend swimming along the coast for safety purposes and add in some intervals.    The magnificent barrier reef, which is the second largest next to the Great Barrier Reef, is about 1/2 mile from the coast.   I don’t recommend swimming out to the reef because of the various fishing and diving boats going through the area and can be dangerous.    The better option is to kayak out to the reef and do some snorkeling.  After the swim workout do a quick swim/run transition and head back to Exotic Caye Resort.  Attempt a negative split (run back faster than the first run) and I promise this workout will be tough with the addition of the swim.   I call this my Belize 30/20/30 workout.  Normally, I run 30 minutes, swim 20 minutes, run back less than 30 minutes.

What’s interesting is Belize is not known as a running destination, but I have it high on my list because it’s not like normal beach running.  Of course if you love to snorkel, scuba dive, fish, kayak, standing paddle board, hike, mountain bike, explore Ancient Mayan Ruins Belize it is a must place to add to your travel destination list.    You may not be aware, but English is the national language and the Belizeans’ are extremely friendly.   Personally, as endurance sport junkies, food is always at the top of our list.  There are exceptional restaurants all over the island with healthy choices and of course Balkan Beer.   You all must try the ceviche, fantastic flavors and fresh everyday.

I hope to see you on the beaches running and please look for me.   Email me if you’re coming to Ambergris Caye, Belize at wayne@karlsberginsurance.com and lets coordinate a run/swim/run together!   Also, stay tuned, as I will be posting on all our websites, my upcoming Belize long distance swim for our RunForBooks Foundation to help out the local schools and community in Ambergris Caye.

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