This morning, I’m jumping in an airplane and heading to the left coast to run a marathon tomorrow.
I’m stoked for the trip for two big reasons: I’m knocking another state off of my list on my Quest to 50 and I’m speaking at the pre-race event the night before the race.
The only real downside to the trip is that I’m literally flying in, speaking, running, going to bed, and flying home.
While I would much rather spend some time in California before/after the race, it’s just not in the cards this time.
Sadly, just about every state I’ve raced in (except for Florida) has involved a quick visit. If you ever find yourself traveling for a race, whether you’ve got aspirations of running in all 50 states or not, here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to make the race as good as possible if you don’t have much time between the road trip/flight and the starting gun.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!–Waiting for the last minute to hydrate before a race is bad enough, but flying when you’re dehydrated isn’t any good either. Make sure you’re plenty hydrated before you jump on the airplane, and make sure you’ve got plenty of water to drink during the flight as well.
- Set Lowish Expectations–If your goal is a PR, it’s probably not a good idea to fly into town the night before the race. Your normal routine is going to be completely jacked up, you may be dealing with jet lag, and a whole host of other issues could easily impact your performance on race day. To be clear, a PR when traveling for a race isn’t impossible, but it’s definitely more difficult.
- Try to Squeeze in a Shakeout Run–It’s nice to break a sweat and see part of the course if you can get to town with enough time to do so and still check in to your hotel room, pick up your packet, and figure out what you’re going to eat. Speaking of eating…
- Have a Meal Plan–If you’re staying at a hotel, gourmet pre-race meals may not be an option. If you’re like me, and a big breakfast is ideal, take the time to find a Denny’s, IHOP, or other diner that you can get some food at 4 in the morning that’s nearby.
- Have Fun!–Getting off of a plane to run a marathon isn’t the best way to BQ of PR. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Stop for pictures, chat with other runners, or do whatever else seems appropriate during the course of the 26.2 miles to make sure that you enjoy the experience!
For this race, I’m not sure I’ll have time for the shakeout run, but I’ll be putting the rest these tips into play this weekend for sure!
If you’d like to hear me go into a little more depth about traveling right before running, just press play below!