How to Prepare for an Out of Town Race

Traveling for races allows you to visit new places, meet new people, and have fantastic experiences. However, if you’re new to traveling as a runner, there are a few things you’ll want to consider to help you have as successful of a race as you can.

Depending on the distance you’re traveling, the weather and altitude of the location compared to where you normally train, and your familiarity with where you’re going, some or all of these tips will apply:

Before You Go

  • Make sure you have all your gear and things you’re comfortable with, such as your protein powder and favorite flavor of Gu. Though you can probably find things when you’re there, bring what you know you like and helps you feel your best – this includes supplements, clothing, GPS devices, etc.
  • Pack all the cords for anything that needs to charge, including the watch you wear while you run. You don’t want to stress about missing cords. If you travel a lot, it might be helpful to purchase a second set and keep those together, just for when you travel.
  • If you have a small foam roller, bring that with you, or Amazon Prime one to your hotel! This will be a lifesaver after your race.
  • If there will be a time change, adjust your bedtime each night leading up to your departure to help you be better adjusted when you get there.
  • Get phone numbers of other runners you know that will also be there. That way if you’ve forgotten anything (or you need some support or socializing), you can reach out.

On The Trip

  • Bring two sets of running clothes: for both warm and cold weather. Even if you look at the weather report, things can change, especially if you travel a few days ahead of time. The weather you thought you were running in can be drastically different, so bring options for running clothes.
  • If you’re flying, wear compression socks both ways to help maintain optimal blood flow while decreasing swelling and discomfort.
  • When you arrive, find a nearby store and buy things you’ll want to eat like bananas and almond milk. There may be a pre-run breakfast if you’re staying at a hotel connected to the race, but having foods that your body is helpful.
  • At the hotel, ask for a microwave and an empty fridge (if possible) to store any food you need.
  • The night before, get everything ready: have your clothes out and your number already pinned on.

After The Race

  • Try not to leave right away. Stay an extra night if you can, or do a late checkout at the hotel. Try to relax, sleep, and eat well, and let yourself recover.
  • Foam roll and do an Epsom salt bath to help with muscle pain and soreness that you’re likely to experience after a run.
  • While the experience is fresh, make a list of the things you forgot so that you can prepare better for the next travel race.
  • If you enjoy journaling, now is a good time to capture your experience of the race while it is fresh in your mind, so you can reflect on it at a later time.

Traveling can be a fun experience, but can also create stress until you have your routine down. Use these tips as a starting point to create a list of reminders and items to bring, adjusting as needed as you travel more. The more you travel as a runner, the better you’ll get at preparing.

What are your go-to travel tips that you would like to share with other runners? Leave them in the comments below!

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