Traveling For Your Race? Here Are Nine Tips for Success

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Traveling For Your Race? Here Are Nine Tips for Success
traveling for a race Now that we are full-swing into racing season, many endurance athletes are preparing for their big event of the year. Often times, unless one is lucky enough to live in a place like Boulder, CO, that big event involves some type of travel. “Destination races” -- which combine both the opportunity to complete an event and spend a week on vacation -- have become popular in recent years. While they are a great way to pursue endurance and travel goals simultaneously, these opportunities require extra preparation due to changes in routines, packing equipment, new dietary options and more. And if you plan to race in a different climate, you will also have to adapt your training to prepare for the change in weather. To help you tackle traveling and racing, we talked to a few SaltStick retailers and asked them to share their top tips for success. If you have any traveling tips of your own, please send us a tweet.

No. 1: Do the research

“Do your research beforehand on where you will eat the night before. Check and see if there are running stores nearby should you need essentials you may have forgotten or grocery stores in case there are no restaurants that appeal to you.” -- John Ritchie of National Running Center “Know what traveling does to your body and how to fight back. Increasing water, eating your perfect, wearing compression socks and sleeping a little extra should help.” -- Matt Petersen of The Fitness Pursuit “I try to know where I am going and what food options I will have, trying to stick as close to my normal as I can, either by shopping for my food or ordering with good communications.” -- Matt Petersen of The Fitness Pursuit “Bundle a marathon into a vacation. It's a fun way to travel, and you don't have to waste money on crappy souvenirs because you get your marathon souvenirs! Also, when you run a marathon, you see a part of the area in a different way than you would if you were just visiting. You're literally spending three to five hours looking around at a much slower pace than if you were driving.” -- Michael Collofello of Dick Pond Athletics

No. 2: Don’t try new food until after the race...

“Take food with you that you’re used to eating (e.g., granola, energy bars, protein bars, pretzels, nut butter, bananas – anything packable and easy to eat on the go). If you’re traveling outside the country, you may be enticed to try new things, but save your culinary exploration for after the race!” -- John Ritchie of National Running Center “If you like certain foods be sure to bring them from home. Don't rely on buying once you arrive.” -- Mike Petrina of Sayville/Smithtown Running Company

No 3: ...But be adaptable if need be

“When travelling to another country we try to keep with food that is closest to what we have at home. You can't go wrong with rice, chicken and common vegetables.” -- Mike Petrina of Sayville/Smithtown Running Company “I suggest basic and plain foods, especially the day before. I go to a sub shop, and I get a chicken breast sandwich on wheat bread with lots of vegetables and no sauce (maybe a little mustard). It's a very boring sandwich but it gets the job done and doesn't lead to an upset stomach.” -- Michael Collofello of Dick Pond Athletics

No. 4: Work with the hotel to make sure you get enough sleep...

“Choose a hotel that is convenient to the starting line or where shuttles pick up so you do not have to worry about transportation. Also, schedule a wakeup call with the hotel (if available) to avoid late-for-the-race nightmares. Finally, if your hotel is noisy, turn on the fan to drown out sounds.” -- John Ritchie of National Running Center “I try to unwind a little early the night before the race and set a good room with temp, noise and light to help me sleep.” -- Matt Petersen of The Fitness Pursuit

No. 5: ...But get enough sleep before traveling

“Start practicing your wakeup and bedtime routine one to two weeks prior to event if possible.” -- Mike Petrina of Sayville/Smithtown Running Company “If we are travelling far and jet lag may be a factor, we will try to get as much sleep during travel as possible. Upon arrival will we get straight into the daily routine. If needed, we will use a melatonin tablet to help us with our sleep cycle.” -- Mike Petrina of Sayville/Smithtown Running Company “Whenever possible I get there at least two days before race day, especially if I'm traveling to a different time zone. That way, I can hopefully acclimate a bit to the time of the area.” -- Michael Collofello of Dick Pond Athletics

No. 6: Don’t walk around too much before the race

“I recommend getting to your destination one to two days before the race and planning on staying one to two days after so you can explore the area. It is too tempting to go to a destination race and be on your feet all day, which could negatively impact your race. I had walked 11 miles and five miles the two days leading up to the Boston Marathon, and at mile one, I already felt like my legs were tired! Save the tourist attractions for after the race.” -- John Ritchie of National Running Center

No. 7: Find a group of pals

“Find a running store or see if there is a group shakeout run taking place locally. This is a great way to meet new friends. I met a runner at a group run before a race, and we ended up running the marathon together. It’s amazing the people you can meet while traveling!” -- John Ritchie of National Running Center

No. 8: Be sure to stay hydrated

“We recommend upping your hydration intake of water and electrolyte replacement drinks. If the race is in a hot time of year we will have SaltStick Caps with us.” -- Mike Petrina of Sayville/Smithtown Running Company

No 9: Bring your running clothes on the plane

“When flying we always pack our racing gear and a set of running clothes in our carry on. This includes our shoes and underwear. If our luggage gets delayed we can go for a run or make it to the starting line. Everything else can wait or be purchased.” -- Mike Petrina of Sayville/Smithtown Running Company Thanks to our helpful retailers. Please take some time to give them a shoutout on social media: National Running Center Sayville/Smithtown Running Company The Fitness Pursuit Dick Pond Athletics Happy racing! If you have any traveling tips of your own, please send us a tweet.