Here are our top tips on how to travel to races abroad.
Plan your travel and accommodation:
The first thing to look at is the timing of your travel. A lot of races abroad can be hotter than here in the UK. Travelling out 7-8 days before a race in a hot country is ideal because this will give you time to get used to the conditions. This isn’t practical for most people but what to avoid is travelling out 4-5 days before because you’ll feel your worst in hot conditions after that time in the heat. So the best time to travel to a race abroad is about 2-3 days before the event. Look at the pre-event timings, like registration and briefings, so that your arrival time gives you plenty of time to do things in a relaxed manner.
Make sure you choose good flight times if you can. Paying a bit extra for optimal flights is worth it when you have already invested a lot of time, effort and money into an event.
Pick your accommodation carefully. Location is key as you want to minimise time spent travelling around at a race. If you can get close to the race start/event set up for a little extra then it is worth it. When booking somewhere, look at reviews about things like noise as some people end up booking hotels above night clubs which doesn’t lead to a great night’s sleep before race morning. If you’re staying in a hotel, favor ones which advertise things such as early morning pre-race breakfasts. You may not use this service but you will know that it is set up for athletes and will be accommodating of your needs.
Look after yourself on the plane:
Take a hand sanitizer with you so that you can keep your hands clean in the airport and on the plane.
Drink regularly throughout the flight so you don’t become dehydrated. Including an electrolyte tab in your water can help keep you better hydrated.
Wear a face mask if you want to reduce the chances of getting a virus.
Some advice says that turning on the air vent above you and having it directed on to your hands can blow germs away from your mouth and nose. Choosing a window seat can help reduce the chances of getting sick versus sitting in the aisle.
Take healthy snacks with you to keep your energy levels up.
Clothing and Footwear
Wear lightweight technical clothing that is comfortable. This will help your skin breathe better and stop you from getting hot and uncomfortable. This is important for travelling and wearing around at the race venue.
Take a cap or visor if it’s going to be hot as this can help prevent symptoms of heat stroke.
Wear comfortable footwear. Don’t walk around in flip-flops! They will make your feet and calf muscles work too hard and create fatigue. Equally, don’t wear your running shoes that you’re going to race in. Walking around in them will crush the foam, and they will lose cushioning.
Food and Hydration:
Take snacks from home with you. You can pretty much put anything in your hold luggage so take your favorite snacks that you eat at home as your body is used to this and it will give you a sense of normality. This could foods like cereal bars, dark chocolate or nuts.
Don’t eat lots of new foods that you’ve never had before. This is a recipe for your disaster and could easily cause gut problems come race day.
Avoid sugary drinks as they’ll dehydrate you. Instead, drink bottled water and add electrolyte tabs as needed to help keep you hydrated in hotter conditions. Do not drink tap water from hotels or self-catering houses/flats. Bottled water won’t be expensive and it’ll help you stay healthy. I even use bottled water to brush my teeth.
Take things to read:
Taking some books to read is a great idea because it takes your mind off the event and can help you relax.
Avoid books that are completely related to your sport as they can sometimes lead to athletes questioning their training and even what they’re going to do in a race. Save that for after race or when you’ve got time to try the strategies.
Don’t read books on digital devices and this can prevent you from going to sleep. A good old-fashioned paper back is usually the best.
Take a small medical kit including any medicines you normally use.
Pack for all conditions. You should have the right kit with you that allows you to race in the rain or sun.
Make an itinerary so you know what you’re doing each day and you’re not rushing around.
Stay off your feet and relax.
Only make plans to meet up with friends if it is convenient. So many people end up tired and stressed because they have tried to coordinate meeting people in a foreign place and there simply isn’t enough time sometimes.
Thanks for reading. Please get in touch if you have any further questions.