Heading to another state or even abroad for your next big race? Even if you aren’t trying to notch a PR, ensure you run comfortably and safely with these travel tips for destination marathoners.
Stow Your Running Gear in Your Carry-On Bag
No, it’s not like you’re going to need chafing cream or your running shoes on the plane. But if the airline were to lose your luggage — which face it, is not outside the realm of possibility — you absolutely do not want to be stuck scrambling for gear in an unfamiliar city, let alone racing in sneakers you haven’t broken in.
Stay Limber on the Plane
If you’ve got a long flight ahead of you, make sure you keep your muscles loose and your circulation flowing even if you’re cramped in coach class. Stand up and walk up and down the aisle once an hour, if possible. Waiting to use the tiny bathroom? That’s the perfect opportunity to stretch your quads. Even if you can’t get up, you can do a little in-seat yoga. Take turns bending each leg, lifting your knee and pulling it to your chest while you keep your opposite foot planted on the floor.
Save the Exotic Meals (and the Booze) for After Your Race
Getting to try new food and drinks can be one of the most amazing parts of traveling, but pre-race stick with what you know. You don’t want to risk an upset stomach (or worse), so it’s a good idea to stick with familiar restaurant chains and foods you know work for you. If you like a certain gel, energy chew or snack, bring your own. Alcohol is also a bad idea, especially if your circadian rhythms are already thrown off by crossing time zones. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, feel free to indulge — you’ve earned it!
Run First, Sightsee Later
There’s a reason travelers will often describe their non-running journeys as “marathons” — hitting up loads of museums, exploring new neighborhoods and taking in the great outdoors can be exhausting. You want fresh feet (and a fresh mind!), so plan the dates of your trip with your race at the beginning. The second or third day you’re on the ground is ideal; it gives you a cushion of time to get settled, as well as allowing for travel delays.
Bring a Few “Just in Case” Items
You’ll obviously pack for the climate where you’re headed, but it’s a good idea to pack a few items you just might need in addition to the stuff you know you’ll need. Just because a place is sunny nearly all the time doesn’t mean it never rains, and vice versa. If you know you’ve covered your bases before you leave, it’ll be easier for you to relax and focus on
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