A big benefit of living in Atlanta is that our airport is a major hub, so I can often get direct flights to major cities for very reasonable prices. One of my favorite things to do is to meet up with my girlfriends for a “racecation”, and in just a couple of weeks, I’ll tackle the Richmond Marathon which will take me back to Virginia. It’s so much fun to have a weekend away that revolves around running! However, there are a LOT more logistics to navigate through if you are tackling a race out of town. I’ve rounded up the lessons I’ve learned below, which will hopefully make your next race-cation a little smoother.
Try to arrive two nights before your race. This isn’t always an option because of work or budget, but for very big races (like my goal marathon race) I try to make it happen. I don’t know about you, but travelling stresses me out! I like getting a solid night’s sleep two days in a row, and the day before the race is very low key. For the Richmond Marathon, my friend and I are arriving on Thursday night. We don’t really have many plans for Friday, and I like that! It makes it a lot less stressful.
Start your “to pack” list a couple weeks out. If you’re running the Richmond Marathon in a couple of weeks, start your list now! I keep a running list on the counter and I add things to it as I think of it. There are a lot of lists on Pinterest and other blogging sites for a good start.
Wear your running shoes for travelling. Why? So you don’t lose them or accidentally leave them at home. Funny story: I almost forgot my running shoes at home before the Diva’s Half Marathon back in September. We got all the way to the interstate and I somehow remembered. I realized it was because I almost always wear them travelling!
Carry on your race day essentials. Don’t risk a checked bag getting lost. Even if you check a bag, carry on a small duffel with everything you need for race morning.
Pack your pre-race nutrition or plan ahead where you can get it. Read ahead for your airline to see what you can bring with you. You can usually find what you need at a local grocery store, but the more you can bring with you, the easier it will all be once you get there.
Ask for a “quiet zone” hotel room. And one with a tub. Not all hotels have these, but ask at check in. Nothing is worse than not being able to sleep because you back up to a busy street. I also like to ask for a tub so I can take a hot epsom salt bath the night before the race, and an ice bath afterwards!
Book your hotel early (you can usually cancel it until a couple of weeks before the race) but wait to book your air travel. I like to secure my hotel early because those usually go fast, but I’ll wait to book my plane ticket just in case something happens.
Utilize friends and family who are not flying to bring other essentials for you. My friend Christina is driving from Charlotte, so she is bringing me hard boiled eggs and also her foam roller. Plus a bunch of other stuff I’m sure we won’t need, but like to have to be prepared!
Research restaurants, the best route to the start line, and other race logistics in advance. I make reservations and write down all the race logistics in advance. I’ll even sometimes print out a map of the area so I have that when I arrive. It just makes the weekend so much easier to not be figuring it out on the fly.Traveling out of town for your next race? Here are 15 tips to get you ready. #runchat Click To Tweet
Bring all your electronics chargers – even if you think you won’t need them. Got a full Garmin battery? Still bring that charger. You never know when you’ll accidentally leave something running. Just bring them all.
Compression socks. This is a must if you’re flying, they feel so good on your feet and lower legs!
Drive the course once you arrive. This isn’t always possible, but if you have access to a car, try to do this on the day before the race. It will begin to mentally prepare you for race day. If you’re running Richmond, note that they have free chartered tours, that I highly recommend!
Get your bib mailed to you, if it’s an option. You usually have to sign up for this at the time you register, but I almost always pick this option if it’s not local. You never know when a travel delay will nail you, and having my bib in hand means that if I don’t make it to the expo, the only thing I’m missing out on is extra merchandise.
Book a late enough flight home so that you’re not rushed after the race. This one is hard, but I like to take a later flight home if I have to travel the same day as the race. Yes, you get home later, but it’s nice to not rush to check out of the hotel. Plus, then you get to have a celebratory meal before you head home!
Have fun. Take the time to plan out your race weekend, and then enjoy the efforts of all your hard work! It’s so much fun exploring a new city through running and other activities.
What tips would you add to this list? Are you running Richmond in a few weeks? How are you feeling about race day?