According to legend, Medieval knights would travel from near and far for the final feast of the Christmas season to recommit themselves to another year of honor and chivalry. The rite consisted of each knight reciting Les Voeux du paon (The Vows of the Peacock) while placing his hands on a roasted bird, which was then divided evenly among the group and eaten. Great party, right?
Chances are your New Year’s Resolution was a tad less ceremonious. Chances are even better that your vows had something to do with improving your health. And if you’re like over 90 percent of resolutioners, chances are you’ll come up short of your goal. Here’s a fun way to swing the odds back in your favor: Put your money and calendar where your mouth is by booking some fitness travel this year. Pick a city you’ve always wanted to visit, and it most likely hosts a race or obstacle course event that provides the perfect excuse to go there this year. Devote some vacation time to your goals and you’ll be motivated in the months leading up to the race to stick to your training regiment. And unlike a gym membership, entry fees and plane tickets can’t easily be cancelled.
The cost to sign up usually increases closer to the event date, so January is the perfect time to save some money while laying out your plan for the year. While you’re at it, invest in some workout gear you’ve had your eye on, then put it to use training for your vacation. Here are some events to check out in the first half of 2015, along with recommendations of what to eat, drink and do while you’re in town.
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SUNDAY, JANUARY 25
The Rock N’ Roll series was started in 1998 with the goal of making running long distances actually feel fun. Holding the event in New Orleans, arguably the most fun city in the country, is a great way of doing just that. Runners are motivated by live bands and cheer teams along the course, and rewarded with unlimited beer (unlimited!) and beads at the finish line. There’s a 10K version if the race if you’re not quite in marathon shape. If you just can’t make it to The Big Easy on short notice there are Rock N’ Roll races held around the world throughout the year.
While you’re there:
Restaurant: Jacques-Imo’s - Fun and funky restaurant serves Louisiana specialties like the Deep Fried Roast Beef Po’ Boy, so if a diet is part of your resolution make sure you go on a cheat day.
Coffee Shop: Cafe Beignet - Because you can’t leave NOLA without packing away a few beignets.
Store: Vegas - Eclectic high-end men’s clothing and accessory shop.
Bar: The Avenue Pub - Over forty American craft beers on tap in a beautiful building built in the late 1800s in the Lower Garden District.
Site: The National WWII Musuem - Devoted to the United States’ contribution to the ally victory, featuring tanks and planes from the era.
TEMPE, AZ - SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Confession time: Signing up for this short race is less motivation to get in shape and more of an excuse to go to the Super Bowl, which is being played in nearby Glendale that afternoon. Still, what better way to build up your appetite for chicken wings and guacamole than a nice run in the morning.
While you’re there:
Restaurant: Citizen Public House - Visit the speakeasy upstairs if you can find the password (tell us if you do). If you’re looking for something healthy before all the football food, the chopped salad is so good it has its own Facebook page.
Coffee Shop: Altitude Coffee Lab - Scottsdale shop is more than just a cafe—it’s also a roastery where brewers experiment with methods and rare beans.
Store: Bunky Boutique - Offers timeless styles with a modern twist.
Bar: Angels Trumpet Ale House - Huge craft beer selection and pub comfort food with interesting twists.
Site: Camelback Mountain - 2,700 feet of layered sandstone = desert hiking heaven.
CHICAGO, IL - SUNDAY, MARCH 8
Chicago is not a city for the faint of heart, especially before April, and definitely not at this event where participants will race up the 45 floors of one, two, three, or all four of the Presidential Towers. Fight For Air Climbs are a series of events hosted in skyscrapers around the country that raise money to benefit the American Lung Association. Sign up and start making friends with a flight in your area.
While you’re there:
Restaurant: The Publican - This Anthony Bourdain favorite is an homage to beer, pork, and oysters set in a European-style beer hall.
Coffee Shop: Star Lounge Coffee Bar - West Side shop run by Dark Matter Coffee
Store: Haberdash - With three locations in the city, this shop is the best source for cool, classic style in Chicago.
Bar: Ezra’s - Not really a bar but one of the best small-batch booze shops in the country. If it can’t be found anywhere else, you can find it here.
Site: Chicago Lakefront Trail - A 20 mile jogging and cycling path hugging the shore of Lake Michigan runs through Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park, and Jacksons Park, and links several attractions including the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, and Navy Pier.
SALADO, TX - SATURDAY, MARCH 28
Spend the weekend in Austin and head 50 miles north to ride in this scenic cycling race through the Texas countryside, where the weather is perfect for a long ride this time of year. The event offers routes ranging from 15 to 102 miles over rolling hills around Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
While you’re there:
Restaurant: Lamberts - One of the best barbecue joints in one of the best barbecue cities out there. The lounge upstairs features live music nightly.
Coffee Shop: Wright Bros. Brew & Brew - Wake up or wind down at the full espresso bar with 38 beers on tap.
Store: STAG - Offers everything a modern gentleman needs, from fashion to accessories to antiques to artwork.
Bar: Mohawk - This venue features three bars and two stages and hosts some of the best shows in a city known for live music.
Site: Hamilton Pool Preserve - The natural pool with a waterfall curtain was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago, making for one of the most beautiful swimming holes of all time.
SAN DIEGO, CA - SATURDAY, APRIL 11
The Epic Series is a functional fitness take on the endurance obstacle course craze. The course is made up of at least 12 CrossFit and Strong Man inspired challenges, such as kettle bell swings, pull-ups, and tractor pulls. Between each challenge competitors carry a cumbersome object around a track. If that sounds brutal, it is, but at least in San Diego you’ll know the weather won’t present any additional challenges.
While you’re there:
Restaurant: Cucina Urbana - Italian kitchen and wine shop with a California twist.
Coffee Shop: Little Italy Coffee Bar - Serving up Bird Rock Coffee, a local farm-to-cup roaster.
Store: Aloha Sunday - Finely tailored men’s style inspired by the island life.
Bar: El Dorado - A rare craft cocktail bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it offers a generous happy hour of $5 signature drinks until 9 p.m.
Site: USS Midway Museum - There are five decommissioned aircraft carriers in the country that host tours. This is the one that most recently saw combat.
NASHVILLE, TN - SATURDAY, MAY 2
We’re firm believers that fitness should be fun and nothing makes you feel like a kid again like running, jumping, and climbing through an obstacle course in the mud. There are 10K and 5K courses and heats for various fitness levels, including one for you and the one exercise partner who never let’s you skip a workout—your dog.
While you’re there:
Restaurant: Husk - Focused on gourmet southern food and hospitality where chefs serve the food directly to diners.
Coffee Shop: fido - Great breakfasts, signature lattes, and industrial art adorning the brick walls
Store: Hatch Show Print - You can lose hours searching through this shop's collections of iconic and contemporary music prints and posters.
Bar: Holland House Bar & Refuge - Proprietary cocktails poured with house-made ingredients.
Site: The Johnny Cash Museum - More intimate than the Country Music Hall, this museum has many of Mr. Cash’s personal items on display and the walls are even made out of stone from his home.
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SATURDAY, JUNE 6
Force of Nature is surf and fitness icon Laird Hamilton’s recently launched obstacle racing series that aims to test participants’ limits through natural challenges such as heat and snow. Each course includes 20-plus obstacles spread out over an eight to 10 mile course that are designed to challenge athletes minds as much as their bodies.
While you're there:
Restaurant: Serpico - World-class dining from chef Peter Serpico with a comfortable atmosphere that feels like your favorite neighborhood restaurant.
Coffee Shop: Burlap and Bean - Espresso bar with local baked goods and a cozy atmosphere.
Store: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - If you can walk past a spirits and clothing shop with a name like this, then we don’t know what to tell you.
Bar: Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company - An unpretentious speakeasy that GQ called the best place to drink in Philly.
Site: Philadelphia Museum of Art - Cross “Run Up The Rocky Steps” off your bucket list on your way to the exhibits.
MARIN COUNTY, CA — SUNDAY, JUNE 14
Established in 1905, the Dipsea Race is the oldest trail running event in the United States and one of the oldest footraces of any kind. It takes place a short trip across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco on a challenging 12-kilometer course that winds through the redwoods of Muir Woods National Forest to Stinson Beach.
While you’re in town:
Restaurant: NOPA - High-quality Californian cuisine and creative cocktails in a lively open, two-story building in the heart of San Francisco. Make your reservations now.
Coffee Shop: Sightglass - Independently owned coffee roasted and served in a huge industrial building.
Store: Mission Bicycle - Order a custom urban ride hand built in San Francisco. Also offers rentals for those visitors ready to take on the city’s many hills.
Bar: Bergerac - Laid back cocktail bar inspired by the mansion where the Rolling Stones recorded “Exile on Main Street.”
Site: Point Bonita Lighthouse - The lighthouse first guided ships to the San Francisco Bay in 1877 and is still active today. It’s accessible via a hike through the Marin Headlands and a suspension footbridge leading to the building.
For more fitness tips, inspiration, and more, be sure to follow @mylesapparel on Instagram
Images ©: 1. Myles Apparel | New Orleans: Jacques-Imo’s — huffingtonpost.com; Cafe Beignet — tripadvisor.com; Vegas — Vegas New Orleans; The Avenue Pub — urbanbeerhikes.com; The National WWII Musuem - nationalww2museum.org —https://nationalww2museum.org | Phoenix: Angels Trumpet Ale House — phoenixnewtimes.com; Camelback Mountain — phoenixasap.com; Bunky Boutique — bunkyboutiqie.com; Altitude Coffee Lab — altitudecoffeelab.com; Citizen Public House — citizenpublichouse.com; Football — USA Today | Chicago: Willis Tower — skyscrapercenter.com; The Publican — thepublicanrestaurant.com; Star Lounge Coffee Bar — starloungecoffee.com; Haberdash — blog.haberdashmen.com; Ezra’s — chicago.thelocaltourist.com; Chicago Lakefront Trail — wikipedia.org | Austin: Lamberts — fedmanwalking.com; Wright Bros. Brew & Brew — fourword.fourkitchens.com; STAG — stagprovisions.com; Mohawk - myfreeconcert.com; Hamilton Pool Preserve — amazingplacesonearth.com | San Diego: Epic Series - https://epicseries.co/events/epic-san-diego/; Chicano Urbana — https://lynnedoor.blogspot.com; Little Italy Coffee Bar — https://lynnedoor.blogspot.com; Aloha Sunday — https://www.sandiegomagazine.com; El Dorado — https://eldoradobar.com; USS Midway — https://famouswonders.com | Nashville: Mud Run - https://activenow.com; Husk — husknashville.com; fido — bongojava.com; Hatch Show Print — https://americandesigns.net; Holland House Bar & Refuge — https://www.southernliving.com; The Johnny Cash Museum — johnnycashmuseum.com | Philadelphia: Force of Nature — forceofnature.com; Serpico — serpicoonsout.com; Burlap & Bean — burlapandbean.com; Franklin Mortgage & investment Company — https://jetsettimes.com; Philadelphia Museum of Art — wikipedia.org; Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction — artintheage.com | San Francisco; Dipsea - wikipedia.org; NOPA - nopasf.com; Sightless - sightglasscoffee.com; Mission Bikes - missionbicycle.com; Bergerac - bergeracsf.com; Point Bonita Lighthouse - wikipedia.org