Tips for an Unforgettable Running Vacation
You’ve been dreaming about taking a running vacation for years. You saved up some heard-earned cash and entered a destination race months in advance. And now the time has finally come. You’ve done your training and booked your plane tickets and accommodation. It’s runcation (short for running vacation) time! The last thing on earth you want to do is spoil it with some logistical mishaps that could easily have been avoided, right? But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips for making your long anticipated running vacation an unforgettable one.
About 90 percent of the success of a running vacation depends on good planning and preparation. Get that right, and the remaining 10%, i.e. things beyond your control that could possibly go wrong, can also be taken in stride.
First up: Packing.
Pack like a pro
If there’s one thing that you don’t want to start your running vacation without, it’s your trusty pair of running shoes. Sure, you can buy a new pair if yours gets lost in transit, but why spend unnecessary cash on something that could be avoided? The solution is simple: Wear your running shoes on your feet while flying and save your cash for a well-deserved treat.
One other thing that you don’t want to do without, is a comfortable running outfit. So stash one set of running gear in your hand luggage, and be sure to include things like your pre-mailed race bib and timing chip if you’re doing a destination race. You don’t want to spend hours of what could have been beach time frantically searching for a flattering pair of new running tights.
If traveling light is your thing, then it might be worth while making reservations at a hotel that offers running gear for rent to patrons at a nominal fee. Just give them your size upon arrival at the hotel and voila: A clean pair of running gear is delivered to your door on days when you want to run. Just remember that new-to-you gear may surprise you with all kinds of unexpected niggles. Pack your own if planning on doing longer races or runs.
One thing that runners often wish they could pack for a running vacation is a foam roller. Ah, the joys of rolling out those achy muscles… But a roller just takes up so much space! Why not invest in a smaller, travel-sized roller especially for your running vacation(s)? Or, if that seems like too big a splurge, why not pack a good old tennis ball? Rolling niggly spots over a tennis ball will bring some relief and can tie you over until you’re reunited with your roller at home.
And last but not least, there is one other thing that you cannot tackle a runcation without: Earplugs! Nothing spoils a long-anticipated early morning run or race like a couple of rowdy hotel neighbors that keep you up until the wee hours of the morning. Remember those ear plugs and kiss the frustration of sleepless pre-race/run nights goodbye!
Picking up a cold or flu a week before (or during!) a running vacation is any traveller’s worst nightmare. So be sure to religiously take a multi-vitamin or natural immune booster in the weeks leading up to your runcation. Also make a point of getting enough sleep and try not to be too stressed about your racing/running plans. Relax and enjoy the anticipation!
If you’re travelling to your destination by plane, remember to pack a travel-sized hand sanitizer in your hand luggage and use it often. Also request a seat change if sitting near a fellow passenger with a cold or flu. You don’t want someone sneezing all over you for hours on end!
It’s impossible to anticipate every eventuality, but a bit of online research can help prepare you for most.
Be sure to check out the long-term weather forecast before leaving and pack accordingly. Short on space for a rain jacket with only a small chance of rain forecast for your stay? Pop a (unused) trash bag in your suitcase. Cut out holes for your head and arms and wear it over your running gear to stay dry and warm.
If you’re traveling to an exotic destination with iffy food options, be safe and pack some tried and tested staples to eat before and during your race/runs. And as for water: Stick to bottled if unsure about the safety of tap water. Nothing is as frustrating as spending the last few days of your holiday sick in bed with a stomach bug! Just remember to research and keep in mind customs requirements with regard to taking foodstuff across borders if travelling internationally.
One last logistical matter to pay attention to before heading off on your running vacation, is the location of your accommodation in relation to the race starting line and/or other running routes. Simplify things by booking a room as close to these venues as possible.
Keep in mind that the chances are good that not everything will go according to plan. And that’s okay. Plan and prepare as best you can, and then be prepared to roll with the punches. After all, sometimes the unexpected is the best part of the adventure!