I’ve run everywhere from Las Vegas to NYC to Disneyworld to Israel. I love running and I love traveling. Here are some of my best tips when you are traveling to an international marathon or half marathon. Happy running and safe travels!
My favorite thing in the world is traveling to a new place to run a marathon. My second favorite thing is traveling just to run and eat (without a race). I was invited to run the Nevis Marathon this weekend but had to cancel due to a personal health issue. I’m super disappointed. Ugh. I was really excited to run on a Caribbean Island!! I want to go somewhere tropical and gorgeous!
As I was preparing to make the trip I put together this list of travel tips for running an international marathon. Hopefully, you can use it to travel and run somewhere awesome. And hopefully I can use it for another race soon! If you run the Nevis Marathon or another tropical race tell me all about it so I can go next year!!
Travel Tips for Running an International Marathon
1. Make a packing list.
In addition to the usual clothes, toiletries and electronics – when you are traveling for a race you need all your running gear.
Make a list specifically for your running needs. Go from top to bottom (hat/visor down to shoes) and list everything you put on your body for a race.
I write my list right on the gallon sized ziplock for all my non-clothing running needs:
2. Pack two days before you leave.
So if you realize you forgot anything you have time to get it. This is better than running around like a crazy person the day before you leave.
This also leaves time in case something you want to bring (but didn’t make the list) just suddenly pops in your head in the shower/middle of the night/whenever stuff pops in your brain.
3. Check the weather report.
Check what the weather will be on race day – specifically during the race. If you’re living somewhere cold and traveling to a tropical climate you might have to dig out your summer running gear (or vice versa). Pack for the weather, but bring a few warmer or cooler options in case it changes or your body responds differently to the weather.
4. Passport, immunizations, doctor’s notes…
Make sure your passport is valid and the expiration date is not coming soon. Some countries require a ‘cushion’ of time from where you’re traveling to when it will expire.
Check the CDC website to see if travel to that country requires any immunizations or special health advisories.
Make sure you can drink the water. If you can’t drink tap water there hit up a store and stock up on bottled water right away so you are hydrated for the race.
Check the race website for any other requirements. I was going to run a race in France two years ago and needed a health record when registering.
5. Running food – Pack some snacks you can eat before the race. Pack the fuel you’ll want to eat during the race.
Depending on where you are going you might not have access to your usual pre-race bagel and PB. If you have a sensitive stomach and can’t just switch out the usual food for something else you have to bring fuel with you.
6. Travel in comfortable clothes.
Consider wearing compression socks or sleeves on your flight. Wear something you can move around and sleep in. Sitting in a small plane seat for hours at a time can cause you to tighten up – get up to stretch if needed. Walk around the airport in between flights and stretch.
I have full-on traveled with and used my foam roller in an airport! No one cares. Yes, they looked at me like I was weird but um… I am.
7. Get some sleep.
Look up the time difference from home to where you’re traveling. What time will the race begin? This might throw off your usual schedule so be prepared for it.
Consider bringing a sleeping aid to help you wind down. Bring or request chamomile tea from the hotel. Melatonin is a more natural option if you don’t want to take a sleeping pill.
Bonus tip: In addition to sleep make sure you’re getting rest before the race. Try to schedule major sightseeing and time on your feet for after the race.
8. Carry on.
Keep calm and carry on – your running gear. Put the clothes you want to wear for the race in your carry on. Hopefully the airline won’t ever lose your checked bag, but just in case at least you have your running essentials.
9.Research the race.
Check the race course elevation profile (and try to train for that).
Is the race measured in miles or kilometers? <- When I ran the Jerusalem Marathon the race was in km and it was a little confusing at times.
When is the expo and what documents do you need to bring to it? Print out race confirmation forms at home before you go.
Where is the start and finish line of the marathon? Can you get a hotel nearby to make it easier?
10. HAVE FUN!!
This is (probably) the only time you are going to run this race in this country. It’s a once in a life time experience. You are running in a new place! Soak it in. Take pictures. Enjoy every single minute!
Question: What is your dream travel destination or race?
Me: ALL of them. All all all of them
I would love to run a race in the Caribbean or somewhere island-y . And I’d love to do the Great Wall of China. And Comrades. And Berlin. Is there a race on the moon yet?