Tips For Destination Racing

A few weeks ago I ran my first destination race–the NYC Half Marathon. I am pretty pleased with how everything went, and want to take note of a few things I did right and a few I might do differently next time–since I already know there will be a next time! I hope these lessons from my first destination race are helpful, and would love to hear your tips for destination racing.

tips for destination racing
I’m joining the Friday Five 2.0 link up at Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness

1. Make Travel Plans Early. I made my hotel reservations as soon as I found out I had gotten into the race, and wish I’d made my train reservations earlier. Since there is no lottery for the Denver Colfax Urban 10 Miler, I checked airfare before registering and booked the race hotel right away.

2. Start Packing Early. I started assembling my NYC race gear right after I ran my first race of the year–while race day essentials were still fresh in my mind. That approach worked because I didn’t forget a single thing!  

NYc Half race gear ready to go

3. Pack Options For Race Day. I drove myself crazy stalking the race weekend weather forecast and ended up packing two full outfits for race day–with lighter/heavier options from head to toe. The weather should be more predictable in Denver in May, but I still will pack options in case I change my mind.

4. Bring Fuel From Home. Following the “nothing new on race day” rule is essential when it comes to race fuel. I packed a tube of Nuun tablets to add to my water bottle on race day, and a few packages of peanut butter crackers for my pre-race breakfast and post-race tummy-settling. But I won’t be bringing Shot Blocks again! 

my broken crown 🙁 

5. Check Out The Race Area. I was familiar with the Central Park portion of the NYC half course, but had never been to Wall Street. On race day, I was really glad we had spent some time the day before walking around the finish area and picking a meet-up place.

**Don’t Hold Out For Post-Race Brunch** I seem to be able to avoid post-race GI issues if I eat something right away–like a banana and/or bagel. Between my broken crown and wanting to maximize our time in NYC, I didn’t eat anything until we had made it back to our hotel. My stomach complained, and we had to nix our plans for one last meal in NYC–although my husband was brave enough to try the food truck outside our hotel. If there’s even a chance of going to brunch after my next destination race, I will need to eat something from the post-race goodie bag on the way back to the hotel. 

What are your tips for destination // racecation racing?

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23 Responses to Tips For Destination Racing

  1. All good tips. I find that I am way less stressed when I can drive to my destination instead of flying! I am so glad we were able to drive into NYC!

  2. I Always bring my own fuel as well especially for a race like a Ragnar where you just don’t know if you will be able to find it. Great idea to bring 2 outfits

  3. I have an extensive spreadsheet for destination races. As long as I check everything off, I’m good. (Let’s not discuss those times I didn’t do a final check to make sure I’d checked things off.)

    And if you have to fly, shoes and running bra go in the carryon. Other things are usually replaceable (I might throw a skirt in as well, just in case.)

  4. Destination races are a whole other kind of stressful! I don’t set the bar as high for those.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Drinking the Rainbow: How to Make Smoothies that Will Brighten Your Day and Change Your AttitudeMy Profile

  5. Kimberly G says:

    Totally agree on making travel plans early – that’s when you get the best prices! I always book my Amtrak or plane travel months in advance.
    I always bring my own fuel as well because you just never know what will be at the Expo.
    Kimberly G recently posted…5 Brands I’m Proud to Represent + A Giveaway!My Profile

  6. I can’t believe you packed that early! I can’t really pack until it gets closer to the race & I have at least an inkling of the weather. I have a printed out packing list. I put it in a file protector, and that way I’m able to check items off and reuse it again & again.

    I also usually travel with a large insulated bag or insulated backpack. I make most of my own breakfast (breakfast cookies, muffins), freeze them, and take them with me that way.

    Also, I REALLY like to have at least a refrigerator in the room, if not a fridge & a microwave.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…NOLA & Sightseeing: TOLTMy Profile

  7. Chaitali says:

    Great tips! The packing for a destination races always stresses me out because I’m afraid I’ll forget something. I have a standard packing list I keep on Google docs that I always start with so at least the usual important running stuff is on there to begin with.
    Chaitali recently posted…Friday Five – favorite drinksMy Profile

  8. I love that you mention the Colfax races. The Colfax marathon was my first marathon back in 2015. The whole weekend has a hometown race vibe, the courses are great and Denver is the perfect quick getaway or racecation. Nearly all my races are destination races and these are some solid tips! Have fun in Denver!
    Alaina @ The Simple Peach recently posted…Currently: 5 Rambles (Sam’s Club, Fitness Motivation + more)My Profile

  9. Lesley says:

    Yes, early is key! I booked my hotel the day after I registered for Tink 10k 2016. Then I kept track of the airline I wanted to use to watch for when that window opened. The last was the shuttle to and from the hotel, but that’s one piece that can wait a little bit.

  10. All good tips – it’s all about early planning…though I must admit I usually don’t pack until the last minute. So far I haven’t forgotten anything…did I just jinx myself?!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…RtR Training – What happened to Week 4?!My Profile

  11. Packing for destination races is tough…I usually over-pack and have numerous options for race day. I try to bring as much of my own food/fuel as possible (oatmeal, granola bars, gels, etc.). I still have a rough time eating anything after the finish line…I don’t feel sick or anything like that, I simply have no appetite for anything.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Half Full or Half Empty?My Profile

  12. Twyla Luke says:

    If you travel to a different time zone there are a couple of things to plan for. Be aware of your “potty” schedule. I ended up missing a PR sitting in a port-a-pottie because of the 3 hour time zone change. I thought I had prepared but it didn’t work.

    Also if you travel overseas account for major time shirts. I just completed the Jerusalem marathon last month (great bucket list event, but be wary of major hills) I incorporated the time change into my training which meant several of my long runs were done at night. I am an early morning runner but early start time in Israel is evening in the Northwest!

    Oh….and definitely take your own pre race food.

  13. Farrah says:

    These are all really great tips! Making plans early and doing the packing early definitely helps a whole lot!
    Farrah recently posted…Recipe Makeover (giveaway!)My Profile

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