Travel Like a Runner

Man trail running with handheld water bottles

7 tips for keeping your body and mind fresh en route to your next big race

Training for a race takes months of preparation. So it makes sense that you want to maximize race-day potential by winding down with a proper taper and low-stress pre-race travel. Unfortunately, the latter isn’t always the easiest, especially if you’re dealing with long drives, security lines or airplane rides. But don’t fear; despite circumstances out of your control, you can still travel smoothly and have a fantastic race day. Here’s how.

Wear Compression.

We can’t stress this one enough. Sitting or standing for long hours at a time not only leaves you feeling lethargic, but it also causes swelling (from decreased circulation) and, in the most severe cases, blood clots. So, wear compression socks (like these from CEP) every time you travel. And, if you’ plan to go overseas, consider taking your compression game up a notch: to full compression tights.

Move around and stretch.

If you’re on an airplane, get up every thirty minutes and walk to the back of the plane to stretch and use the restroom. While you don't have much move-about space on domestic flights, even standing up to stretch for a couple of minutes will help keep your legs fresh and prevent stagnation. Pro tip: Choose an aisle seat whenever possible to make it even easier to get up without bothering your neighbor.

Pack your own food.

Sure, this extra step takes extra time. But it’s worth it, especially if you have a sensitive stomach or pre-race jitters. Sticking to the types of food you normally eat will keep your entire system running smoothly. Everyone can agree that’s ideal when you’re waiting in the porta-potty line before the start.

Keep all your race-day gear in your carry on.

Sometimes baggage gets lost. It’s rare, but it happens; the last thing you want to have to do before a big race is to go shopping for new everything—especially if you're traveling to run in another country. So, play it safe and bring your shoes, socks, race-day clothing, nutrition and hydration system on the plane.

Bring a reusable bottle.

And drink copious amounts of water to prevent dehydration (dehydration causes a major blow to your athletic performance. See our recent post to learn more). We like this bottle from Nathan.

Bring massage tools.

Runners like gear. And there's plenty of travel gear for runners that makes trekking less of a pain. A roller or massage ball goes a long way to quickly and efficiently work out tired muscles and get your blood flowing after a long day on the road or in the air. This roller from Addaday is easily packable; perfect for a carry-on.

Listen to a book or playlist.

If you’re prone to getting over-the-top nervous en route to a race, plan for this by downloading an audible book you like or curating a pre-race playlist to calm your nerves. This is especially useful when flying because you can drown out cabin noise.