No matter what type of racing you’re into — marathon, Spartan, cycling, etc, — traveling to compete is one of the perks of competition. You get to experience new terrain, have an adventure, and meet new people. Traveling to race is one way to expand your training and experiences in new places. For that reason, many racers are excited to compete in a place away from home. However, there can be some obstacles to travel as well.
By making sure to prepare, keeping your routine, learning to eat healthy on your travels, getting lodging in the right place, and having fun in your new location, destination races can be a fun time while still maintaining your training and health.
Being prepared for your race can make all the difference in your experience competing in a new destination. Not only will it help you to do better in the race itself, but it can also help in terms of safety and expectations.
- Research the race: Do your research and find out how long the race is, what the terrain looks like, if you need any special gear, or if you should be training differently. The more you research, the more likely you are to run a new race like someone who has done it before.
- Be prepared for your environment: It’s important to check the weather, humidity, and foliage that you’ll be racing in. This way you’ll know if you have the right gear, if you’re used to competing in those temperatures, or if you’ll be bothered by any allergies while competing.
- Bring extras: Extra gear, shoes, sunglasses, or supplements is always a good idea. Experiencing a new race is fun, but having the wrong gear if something is lost or broken can really make a new race more difficult. Bring extras and keep it organized.
Holding Onto Routine
The beautiful thing about destination races is that they can double as a racing opportunity and a vacation experience. However, it’s important for some people to hold onto their routine in order to be successful or have a good experience while racing. In order to hold onto routine, be sure you’re getting up at the same time every day, maintaining your workout schedule, and keeping your body in top shape to race. If you can, save your sightseeing and vacationing until after you’ve competed and you’ll save your best self for your race.
Eating Healthy On the Go
Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain a healthy eating schedule while traveling. Early mornings, airports, or road tripping can lend themselves to lots of coffee, snacks, and fast food. However, work on eating healthy on the go. This is important for anyone looking to have a good race, but it’s important for everyone to learn in general due to obesity being such an epidemic. Eating healthy can be hard, especially when traveling, so it’s important to set yourself up for success.
- Add food to your itinerary: Research restaurants with healthy options and add them to your itinerary so you’re sure to have healthy options built into your travels.
- Always have snacks: If you bring your own snacks, you’ll always have healthy options with you. Nuts, apples, dried fruit, and granola bars travel easy and will give you energy.
- Don’t skip a meal: When you’re in a hurry while traveling, or nervous about your race, it can be easy for you to feel like you aren’t hungry. Eat something anyway to be sure you won’t have a safety issue while competing.
Lodging can be vital for your success and fun experience while traveling for a destination race of any kind. Where you’re staying will be your home base while you’re somewhere new, so it’s important that you sleep well, find a safe location, and stay within your budget.
- Getting sleep: Be sure you’re setting yourself up to get good sleep. Even something as simple as a new place that affects your seasonal allergies can cause you to snore and get poor sleep. Be aware of any allergies, take note of time zone differences, prioritize a comfortable bed, and go to sleep at a reasonable time in order to compete at your best level.
- Lodging amenities: You probably don’t need a five-star hotel, but some amenities are important. You might look into a free breakfast, somewhere safe to keep your bike as a cyclist, a gym, or a location close to your race site.
- Lodging options: There are a ton of places to stay depending on what you need. You can look into hotels, Airbnbs, or even contacting someone in your race community to stay with a fellow racer.
Experiencing Your Location
If you are travelling to a destination to race, obviously that is the most important aspect of your trip. However, don’t forget to have a little fun as well. Be sure to get out and explore your new location. Look into local dining and treat yourself to a local meal after your race, or a healthy meal before your race. In places like Japan, eco-friendly travel is especially important, but you can take part in eco-friendly travel anywhere you go by taking public transportation or being mindful of your waste in a new city. Go on a hike, sightsee, or try out some local beer and wine. It doesn’t have to be all work, so be sure to add some play in your travels as well.
For people who like to race, it’s about pushing yourself, having an adventure, new experiences, and doing something you love. By competing in a destination race, you get everything rolled into one. However, it’s a little different than competing at home. You have to be prepared, keep yourself on routine, eat well, get good sleep, and add in a little bit of fun as well. When traveling for a destination race, it’s all about balance.