An extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home, combined with a race or training regimine.
While it might seem like an oxymoron, it is actually one of the best ways to tour a new city or country. A race will often take you on a tour of the city’s top sights, and hidden gems you wouldn’t normally see on your own. If you are not participating in a race, hitting the road can be a great way to explore, especially if you don’t like those double decker tour buses. And remember, a race-cation should be considered just that – running or racing, AND a vacation. Be easy on yourself, rest, and indulge. Below are a few other tips I usually keep in mind before venturing on a race-cation.
- Pick a destination that has an interesting place to run and explore. For example, Chicago has a great path along Lake Michigan, and Boston has endless trails along the Charles River. For not so obvious trails, do some research on Map My Run or Google maps.
- Carry-on your running shoes, and other running necessities. If your luggage is lost, at least you can put in a few miles near your hotel while you wait for the rest of your stuff to arrive.
- Don’t forget your running “necessities” for the comforts of home. This might mean compression socks, a GPS watch, sunglasses, body glide, or an iPod. Pro-tip: compression socks are great for promoting circulation in your legs during long flights.
- Layers, layers, layers. Pack for all kinds of weather. Be ready for cold, rain, heat or humidity by bringing a base layer, mid layer and lightweight outer layer. By combining those three in different ways, you can take on almost anything that mother nature throws at you. Saucony’s travel essentials are a good place to start. Plus, if you have room, bring two pairs of shoes in case one pair gets wet.
- Drink lots of water. People often forget this crucial step when they’re out of their daily routine at home. Plane flights, lots of walking and spending time in the sun are all ways to get dehydrated fast. Add running to all that and your muscles will not be happy unless you keep the fluids flowing!
- If you have a sensitive stomach, or dietary needs, bring fuel with you just in case you can’t get it on the road. This might include gels, power bars, Nuun Tablets, or instant oatmeal (I make this every morning in the hotel room with hot water from the coffee maker).
- Bring a “First Aid Kit” – band aids, Advil, arnica gel, pepto. Traveling can be hard on the body and you might have more aches and pains than normal. Being prepared for anything will help you bounce back quickly.
- Be smart and safe. Run with a smart phone, and / or a GPS watch so you don’t get lost. Let your travel partner/s know exactly where you’ll be if you decide to split up for a while.
- Recovering from a hard run is even harder on the road. I bring The Stick and a tennis ball with me since they don’t take up too much room in my suit case. These tools allow me to stretch my IT band and plantar fascia in my hotel room.
- Be flexible. Being on the road means a break from your normal routine. You may not have the ability to run at the same time you normally do at home, and weather might be an obstacle. Have a backup plan, run at a different time than normal, or hit the gym in your hotel room.
- Make friends. Stepping up to the starting line or post-race drinks is a great way to meet the locals. And in turn, get great travel tips.
- Last, but not least, be easy on yourself. Don’t expect to run or train as though you are at home. Your body needs a break. After all, you are on vacation!