Racing In Other States: Runcations, Destinations, And What To Pack

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Racing in other states means preparing in advanced, packing smart and think of the trip as a vacation. Racing In Other States: Runcations, Destinations, And What To Pack

There are two types of people who vacation: those who want to just relax, and those who seek adventure. For the latter, traveling offers a unique opportunity to be able to participate in out of state races that the runner would probably never sign up for. Racing in other states allows the runner to check out the landscape that specific state offers, while trekking where the locals run.

Some runners even plan their entire vacation around specific races. And we are all about the runcation. But for first timers, it might be overwhelming to plan for a race in another state. A different climate means the runner may not be used to the heat and humidity or cold and rain. Not knowing the terrain could also be intimating. Not to mention knowing where to say near the event that is safe and clean. Or maybe it’s best to stay somewhere not near the race and instead rent a car.

It can be hard to navigate through racing in other states because of the unknown. But these tips will have you ready to run without fear so you can focus on the race itself.

Runcations: How To Plan One

Planning a vacation around running, or a runcation, is a great way to stay fit and keep up with running goals. It can also be a refreshing change of pace compared to vacations that are filled with all you can eat buffets and unlimited drink packages.

First, the runner needs to decide if this is a solo trip, one with a friend or partner, or a vacation for the entire family. Who is going on the trip will set the pace of the adventure.

Hotels near popular race venues may book up fast, so properly plan ahead of time. According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation, flights are generally the cheapest when booked 50 days in advance.

Make sure to have the hotel and transportation plans locked in right before signing up for the race. The runner doesn’t want to register for the Disney Marathon to find their spouse can’t get out of work that week, or they cannot afford airfare. The good thing is many training plans are at least 12 weeks. This gives the runner plenty of time to start training and planning their accommodations for the out of state race.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

In some cases, it’s a good idea to stay near the event location for popular races so that the runner can head out early morning to the start and the family and hang around a local breakfast place and head over to the spectator space. This means a little research must be done including what are some open places for coffee and food nearby the course, and where are the spectating areas along the course.

Travel companions might want to check out another part of the city or state, so maybe a hotel near the race isn’t the best in this situation. It might make better sense to stay near the attractions and drive to the race event.

Either way, have a plan and figure the logistics about before shelling out the cash. Have a plan for race day, or which days are dedicated to running, but don’t be afraid to tweak the plan. It is a vacation when leaving your home state!

Where To Go: the Neighboring States vs Cross Country

The big city marathons and half marathons tend to be big bucket luck races for runners. This includes New York, Boston, and Chicago. Other popular ones are the Walt Disney World Marathon (and many other run Disney events) in Florida, Surf City Marathon in California, and the Cincinnati Flying Pig. Other runners are interested in the Rock ’n’ Roll running series in popular destinations like Las Vegas.

When it comes to racing in other states, the runner either picks the race for that specific event that happens to be held in whatever state, or they want to travel to a specific state and running a particular event is just an activity to do while there.

For those just looking to branch out to race in other nearby states, finding an event in neighboring states is the best starting point. This is a great way to pursue the goal to run all 50 states. Those on the East Coast can easily hit up states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, etc. without driving more than 3 hours depending on locations.

Once the runner has raced in neighboring states, it is time to look at booking flights to other states. This is a great way to explore the U.S. and visit places many might overlook. Racing cross-country allows the runner to explore that state in ways they might not as a typical tourist. Check out the USTAF route database or search online for nearby trails or places to run when not attending a race, or when looking for other places to run for the remainder of the vacation.

What To Pack

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Packing for a race in another state differs from packing for just any vacation. Instead of packing one or two workout outfits, the majority of gear in the suitcase is for running. Pack layers, such as an outer shell if it rains race day. Don’t feel guilty about overpacking running clothes. In this case, it’s better to have what is needed than be without. This means it’s okay to pack that extra pair of running sneakers.

However, it’s also a good idea to pack light when it comes to a carry on if flying. But it’s even smarter to pack a race outfit in the carry on just in case the luggage gets lost.

Make sure to pack all the race day essentials like headphones, race nutrition, and an empty water bottle. Bring compression socks for recovery and comfortable shoes for sightseeing after the race.


  1. Emily Polachek , Why You Should Plan a ‘Runcation’ (And Travel Tips for Runners) , Running Website
  2. Cass Gunderson, Financially Fit: How to Spend Smart on Runcations, Running Blog
  3. Daniel Bortz and Susannah Snider , 7 Insider Secrets to Booking Cheap Airfare, News Website
  4. Jeff Banowetz, 25 Must-Do American Marathons in 2017 , Running Website
  5. Alison Mango, Traveling For a Race? Here’s Your Packing List, Health Website