There’s something really special about running in a new city or country or even a new-to-you trail. Not only is it an excellent way to explore, but the act of running is also universal — no interpreter required. That’s why we’re stoked at the idea of registering for a destination race that requires you to pack your bags and take off on an exciting adventure.
Here are a few top tips for someone traveling to run a destination race:
BE SMART ABOUT WHEN YOU SCHEDULE THE RACE IN YOUR TRIP
If you wait until the very end of your trip to race, you could regret it, says Steph Herrick, a run coach based in New York City. “I always suggest doing it within the first few days of arriving to a place. This gives you enough time to get adjusted and figure out the lay of the land, without being worried about things like walking around too much and getting tired or eating the wrong thing.”
DON’T ARRIVE THE NIGHT BEFORE
You never know what’s going to happen with travel, whether it be planes, trains or automobiles. Just in case something happens to go wrong with your transportation, give yourself enough of a cushion to arrive at your destination and breathe before you have to toe the starting line. “You want to have some time to adjust,” says Herrick. “Especially if there’s a time change involved. Avoid flying in the night before, and you’ll save yourself a lot of anxiety.”
PREP AHEAD OF TIME
Just like you would the week leading up to a race, lay out your gear for race day a few days before you’re set to depart. This includes everything from your favorite socks to your running belt, sneakers and so on. When you’re doing so, make sure to double-check the weather forecast and bring options, should it change.
On that note: Do you have traditions for race day that are non-negotiable? For example, a specific type of peanut butter you like to schmear on a banana pre-race or an energy gel you reach for every 30–45 minutes? Make sure to pack those essentials so you don’t have to go scrambling around a new place to find them. Just like on your home turf, the last thing you want to do is try something new on race day.
BE SELECTIVE ABOUT YOUR TRAVEL COMPANIONS
Of course, vacations are more fun with friends and family. However, communicate with the people who will be joining you on the trip all the things you’ll need to travel and race. Are you an early-to-bed sort of runner the night before? Do you have specific dietary restrictions to help you move your best? How about an expectation of them watching and cheering you on? Be upfront with your preferences so the trip is enjoyable for all involved.
MAKE TIME TO EXPLORE!
Half the joy of traveling to run a race is exploring the place where you’ll be crossing the finish line. Once you’re done with the event, make sure you take time to investigate the local culture. Book things like museum tickets, bus tours or dining reservations before you even get on the ground. This way, you won’t be wandering around aimlessly and can really make the most of your time.