Tips for Destination Races

Last year, my sister and I traveld to Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon with the other members of the Saucony 26 Strong team. It was an amazing experience filled with good friends, relaxation, SUN and warmth! Even though it wasn’t a goal race for me, I was anxious and nervous about traveling 11+ hours only a day and a half prior to the start of the race. We flew out on a Friday morning, arrived that afternoon (Hawaii time) and ran the 26.2 miles early Sunday morning.hawaii

Between Hawaii, flying out to Los Angeles (~6 hours) for the LA Marathon two years ago and driving (~5 hours) to the Wineglass Marathon last month, I’ve had some experience with destination racing.

Destination races always sound so appealing when you are planning them, but if you are like me, reality sets in as the race approaches about how tough it can be on our bodies. Below are some of the things I did in the days leading up to and during the travel to Hawaii to ensure that I was as fresh and stretched out as possible. Many still apply if you will be traveling by car or other form of transportation.

Limit Salt: My hands, feet and calves typically swell when I fly. I reduced the amount of salt I was consuming two days out, as well as during the flight. I didn’t completely eliminate salt because I wanted to ensure I had enough in my diet for the race.

Walk + Stretch: Every hour, I made a trip to the bathroom (thanks to all the water I was consuming). On the way back to my seat, I’d walk around a couple of times before standing and stretching at my seat. It’s a bit tougher if you are driving, but consider making a few stops, (and you will likely have to for bathroom breaks) so you can stretch out your legs.

Bring water on the plane: The small cups of water that the flight attendants pass out will not be enough to keep you hydrated. I purchased (and drank) four 24oz bottles of water for the flight. You can also bring your own water bottle and ask the flight attendants to fill it up for you mid-flight!

Don’t rely on airplane food: We didn’t know what our options were going to be before the flight, so my sister and I brought enough food to last us the 11+ hours including a low-sodium wrap, tons of fruit (bananas, apples and oranges), bagels and salt-free nuts. Ensure you are carb-loading (if running a longer distance) and getting the nutrients you need for the race.

Compression Socks: This was the first time I tried this and truly feel like it made a huge difference in how I felt post-flight. I put on my socks right after takeoff and wore them until we got to the hotel.

Shakeout Run: This is a great way to run out the soreness and stiffness from the flight. It doesn’t have to be long. Just 20 minutes will do the trick. You can run it shortly after landing or the next morning.


    Related posts:

    5 thoughts on “Tips for Destination Races

    1. I also find that if we are going to make a mini-vacation out of the race, that we will schedule it so the race is at the beginning of our trip. For example, we will travel on Saturday, race on Sunday, and then relax for a day or two. I find that if we went earlier in the weekend, my eating is bad, I’m on my feet too much, and I don’t enjoy the vacation as much because I am worried about the race. It also helps that if the race doesn’t go as planned, I still have several days of fun activities to look forward to afterwards.
      Melissa girlchasingpavement recently posted..Life LatelyMy Profile

    2. Good tips :) I’ve never travelled outside the country for a race but will have my first one next year when I go to Paris for the marathon so I’m gonna try to remember your tips!
      Fiona recently posted..The Rain FactorMy Profile