Run day Monday: MQ (Madinat Sultan Qaboos) 5.5km

Neighbourhood run around MSQ: 5.5km

MSQ 6km

Map courtesy of mappedometer.com. Route 539820.

It’s hot, it’s humid, and the beach is just too darn short. Time to eat dust and work out a gritty run around the neighbourhood.

I’m not a fan of road running if there’s a beach or river option available, but I’ve had to admit that there are some benefits to running a loop around the neighbourhood. During the stiflingly hot months of summer the beach is actually less pleasant to run along than the streets of MQ due to the wall of humidity that hangs along the coast. Being a couple of kilometres inland really reduces the oppressiveness. The trade-off is running in the dust that gathers on the streets of the city.

This run is a big circuit which includes some quieter residential roads, a great view of the mountains behind the city, a little up-and-down hilliness in the middle, and a section running along the cultivated green vegetation (‘grass’ doesn’t quite describe the sidings full of green, succulent ground covering that stands in for grass here) that lines the busy Sultan Qaboos street.

The easiest points to start the circuit are probably either at the top at Al Noor plaza (just behind the 5km marker on the above map), where there is car parking and, if you’re a member of Horizons gym you can have a shower after your run, or at the bottom corner where there is on street parking along Al Inshirah street (around the 4km marker above) and you’ll finish after some downhill running and a nice stretch of flat.

The toughest stretch is coming up to and around the British school around the 2km marker as this is hilly and dusty, a rough combination to run through. In the summer, setting out at 5:30 / 6pm will give you the best running conditions; the sun is much weaker and the sunset will paint all the buildings a lovely pink, and by the end you should be running in slightly cooler dusk conditions.

Remember to keep hydrated and replenish salt and minerals! I aim to drink a couple of litres during the day on a running day, and I generally down 1.5 litres out of thirst on my post-run return home as well as adding a generous teaspoon of salt to whatever I’m making for dinner. When I first started running here I found that lack of salt and not enough water affected me really badly. Finding the right balance for me was essential.

Do you make a habit of running in the heat? What are your tips to keep healthy on the dusty road?

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