Two weeks in Riyadh! In the previous post, I laid out my tips for running while traveling. Bam! Those tips worked great for me. I am running four times a week and am getting back into shape after an injury in November. During my last two trips from Tokyo to Riyadh, I couldn't find a proper running routine. I am happy to say this time is different.
My running course has consisted of one course: running the loop inside my compound.
What is a compound? I had no idea at first either so let me explain. The rules of dress and behavior is quite different in Saudi Arabia. To allow expatriates more freedom without violating the social norms of the country, gated compounds were created. These compounds are gated and allow for more freedom inside. Ladies have a tough time running in Saudi Arabia, but they have no problem running inside a compound.
The compound is heavily secured with armed guards out front. Two walls will razor wire surround the whole compound. One wall creates a buffer zone around the whole compound. I am sure there is more security that I can't see.
In any case, the compound has few cars and is a great place to run. The entire loop is just 2.75 kilometers. My Garmin watch hooks up to the satellites instantly here. Maybe it’s the wide open desert sky that helps with the link up. My Garmin watch always seems to take forever in Tokyo.
Now you might ask. Go run outside your compound and see Riyadh. Well, first the compound is on the outskirts of Riyadh city. Desert for miles around surround the compound. Second, I ran once in the center or Riyadh, but did not pick a good path whatsoever. Cars were everywhere and the sidewalks were constantly interrupted. I picked a hotel in the compound this trip just so I could have a great running course. Of course, some of the buildings in Riyadh are just amazing and a nice run in the city would be fantastic. If you do venture out to run Riyadh city, I recommend early mornings. Friday mornings are especially quiet.
What's my favorite thing about Saudi Arabia? The giant sun especially at sunset. The sun here just seems so gigantic. I love it. Of course, it's January here so the weather is just perfect. The days are not too hot and not too cold. Although nights can get quite chilly.
Of course, sunsets from up on top of a tower is particularly excellent. My building which I helped design is almost complete. The following picture is from 200 meters up in the air with a view of downtown Riyadh. Lovely sunset.
We surveyed the web and scoured the recent The Running Event for the most unique and practical gifts for the runner in your life. Yes, shoes, shirts, and shorts are all great gifts for runners, but use this list to find unique running gadgets!