Traveling After a Race? Three Tips to Make Your Trip More Comfortable

When I put together Friday’s quick tip about the issues a runner faces when making a long trip right before the race, I was planning on today’s post being the natural follow up–things to do when you’re traveling after a race, either by car or by plane.

Traveling After a Race

Traveling After a Race?

I’m still going to do that post today, but it’s not nearly as topical as I’d planned.

(If you’re not following me on Social Media, you may have missed the announcement that I wasn’t able to make it out to California to speak and run the Running with the Bears marathon. I’ll share the details of the disappointment later this week.)

So instead of dealing with the post-marathon aches and pains I was expecting to face today, I’m writing this post based on past experience.

Jumping in a plane less than 8 hours after running 26.2 is something I’ve done before (twice, actually), and I’ve also taken an 8+ hour car ride right after a race.

So if you’re facing a trip shortly after a half/full marathon finish, here are a few things you can do to make your trip home as comfortable as possible. 

Tips for Traveling After a Race

  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!–The last thing you want to do if you’re stuck in a small place is catch a cramp. Hydrating is one of the best things you can do to minimize the risk of cramping. If you want to enjoy a free beer after the race that’s fine, but make sure you’re getting plenty of water into your system as well.
  • Get Up Often–Sitting and not moving for several hours is a good way to make sure you’re hurting when you do try to stand up–whether you’ve just run a race or not! When you’re traveling after a race, it’s a good idea to get up at least hourly to keep the stiffness to a minimum and encourage adequate circulation. In an airplane, hopefully you can get an aisle seat or else you’ll be that guy that’s constantly crawling over the person sitting next to you!
  • Wear Compression Socks/Sleeves–After running a half/full, you’re going to end up with blood pooling in your legs once you finish running. This is normal, but it does lead to some of the soreness and the feeling of “dead legs” a few days after the event. If you’re traveling after a race, or even if you’re not, compression socks can help limit the amount of blood pooling in your calves and increase the speed of recovery.
  • Wear Your Medal–Ok, so this isn’t really a “tip” for traveling after a race. But dammit, you just finished a half/full marathon, you earned some bling, so rock it!

Traveling after a race isn’t ideal, but it’s not terrible.

Traveling After a Race

Traveling After a Race–Me in an Airplane After the Blue Ridge Marathon 2014

I’ve been pleasantly surprised in how well I’ve felt after a long trip home after a race when I’ve followed the first three tips on this list.

Sure, there is still going to be some soreness and discomfort in the days after you get him, you did just run 13.1/26.2 miles for God’s sake, but if you do it right traveling won’t make that discomfort any worse.

And that’s a good thing.

What Other Tips/Tricks Have You Used when Traveling After a Race?

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