Tom Hale: Fitness and Active Travel

Backroads Founder Tom Hale in the hills of the California coastI used to be pretty serious about the whole competitive running thing. I've run my whole life. And I've run myself into the ground--quite literally. I've had plenty of injuries. Too many, in fact. I've spent a lot of time figuring out what works for me, and I've learned a few things over the years. For instance, I am still only too happy to take a 10 mile trail run, but now I do it without getting injured.

Below, you'll find a quick list of some of my favorite fitness tips. Not only do these keep me going on my active trips, but they guide me in my every day well-being. Hope this helps!

  1.  Set goals: Measure times, distances, etc. and strive toward improving
  2.  Be flexible: Keep your goals in mind, but allow for change
  3.  Try different workouts: For balance, injury prevention and to avoid burnout
  4.  Rest: It's OK to rest--don't feel guilty when you need a day off
  5.  Make your fitness routine fun: Involve friends, try new routes or take active vacations
  6.  Get your family on board: It's great quality time, it's motivational and it gets the kids away from their screens
  7.  Eat well: Eating healthy makes you feel better and enables you to be even more active
  8.  Be realistic: Develop a system that's sustainable with your lifestyle
  9.  Be honest with yourself: If something isn't working, ditch it and try something else
  10.  Make it natural: You're never too busy to exercise and you don't need an expensive gym or trainer--just go outside and move
  11.  Know you can: You're never too old or too unfit to get in shape
  12.  Get the right gear: The weather is never too cold, too hot, nor too inclement to exercise (you just need better gear)

Do you have any tips to add? Let me know below.

4 Responses

  1. Tom

    Tom, my wife Cathy and I met you while cued up to check in for a flight Florence to Paris, March 15/14. We were impressed to hear of Backroads, more so having now viewed the website. Kudos to you for having created this. Quebec-Vermont is now on our bucket list, perhaps the fall of 2016 when I retire from Teaching/Coaching. I did some tenting/cycling trips (B.C., Nova Scotia, Ontario) in the 80s and have always wanted to do so with Cathy.
    Chance meeting with you has rekindled that interest. So thank you.

    Tom Callaghan

    • Tom Hale

      Thanks, Tom–it was nice meeting you and Cathy too. We hired about 30 new trip leaders in Florence and Paris, and I’m sure they can’t wait to lead whichever trip you choose. Good luck in your retirement and travels, and we hope to see you on-trip!

  2. Tom

    Just read more of your bio. Our son, Ciaran’s favourite movie is Prefontaine. You are referred to in the movie are you not?
    Too cool!
    Ciaran could be a potential trip leader in the future, he is studying kinesiology currently and has worked summer camps etc. hockey and track mid distance running were his favourite activities.
    I have to tell him about meeting you.

    Tom Callaghan

    • Hi Tom, we’re happy to hear you met Tom Hale while traveling! We hire trip leaders every year and encourage your son to check out our leader hiring page ( for information and to apply.

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