What could be more exciting than completing a marathon or half-marathon in a city you’ve always wanted to visit? It’s a reward that’s sure to keep you motivated during your training. But before you register for your race and book that flight, keep in mind that running a destination race comes with its own set of considerations.
There are only so many times you can run the same races held in your hometown before you get bored. Which is why destination races — traveling to run a race — is such a fantastic idea. It’s a reward built into your physical pursuit and dangling that little carrot in front of you mentally as you pound the pavement in months of training will help keep you going like the Energizer Bunny.
That said, because destination races take you out of your surroundings, you will have factors to take into consideration that could affect your race day. Read on so you can hit the ground running.
Prep for the travel and time change
Getting enough sleep even when at home before a race can be hard when you’re so amped up. Add in travel (always exhausting) and a time change, and it could be a recipe for one very tired runner. If possible, try to adjust your sleep schedule in advance of traveling to your destination so that you are already living in their time zone.
As for long drives or flights, sitting for extended periods of time may cause your legs to swell. Wearing compression stockings can help alleviate swelling. Also, try to get up and take a brief walk at least every hour if possible and elevate your feet if possible when seated. (Also, don’t forget to stay well hydrated — airplane cabins are notoriously dehydrating).
Bring any must-have snacks and electrolyte replacements you’ve been training with
You can’t count on your brand of electrolyte beverage being sold in the city you’ve traveled to. Similarly, be prepared to have to alter your breakfast the morning of your race. If you’ve become used to a certain type of food and you’re nervous to eat something else before running, bring it with you if it’s travel-friendly. Or, if you plan to eat out, research restaurants near your hotel before arriving so that you know where you’ll have your carb-heavy dinner the night before the race and your early-bird breakfast.
Pack your running essentials in your carry-on
Luggage can get lost or delayed and you do not want to have to purchase brand new gear you have not yet tested out to wear on race day — who knows whether it’ll cause chafing and blisters! So pack all of your race-day gear in your carry-on to ensure you have it.
Now, what are you waiting for? Get online and find your next race!