Planning a race in a new city or overseas is a huge undertaking, from making sure your luggage doesn't get lost to, well, making sure you don't get lost either (it happens to the best of us). The logistics involved can be overwhelming, but no one needs extra stress cramping their training style. That's why it's important to make sure everything is in order beforehand—because certified running coach and ultra-marathoner Robin Arzon can attest that even the most seasoned runners can slip up from time to time. Since she knows the ins and outs of running pretty much anywhere, we sneaked a peek at her upcoming book, SHUT UP AND RUN, which looks into all the elements of race running—planning included—to make your PR goals a reality.
There's no better way to see the world than with a pair of running shoes. Hop on a plane and explore a new city, or take the time to explore your neighborhood. From Berlin to Tokyo or Cambodia, I've let my legs take me around the world. I highly suggest destination races. The energy around a race in a new city has a particular frequency. You get to race, get a medal, and see a new place. Winning!
These are my tips for traveling to races:
- If you're traveling to a new time zone, try to arrive either a week before or within two days of the race day to adjust to the time change. I find that either fully adjusting to a new time zone or letting the adrenaline carry me is the best way to race. A weird three or four days in between leave me sluggish.
- Leave sightseeing for after the race. This seems counterintuitive, but walking after the race will leave you less sore and you won't be totally drained on race day if you leave that trek up the Eiffel Tower for afterward.
- See if a local running store is hosting a shakeout run. Running tours are also common in a lot of cities. (See Running 101: A Beginner's Guide)
- Destination races are great opportunities to race for fun. Not every race should be a personal record. Some races are meant for high-fiving kids, taking selfies, and hamming it up. You can run in vacation mode.
- Pack everything you need for race day in your carry-on. Under no circumstances should your race shoes be in your checked baggage! Remember, luggage gets lost and the last thing you want is not having your running shoes on race day.
- Have a game plan to get to the race and meet with friends and family afterward. I spent two hours trying to find friends after the Amsterdam half marathon, with no phone, no plan, and no food. It wasn't cute. I got majorly lost in Paris on the way to the marathon because I took a wrong turn and had no map. Don't be me times two. Plan ahead and set up a meet-up location.
- Check what your health insurance offers while you are abroad, in case something happens. If your insurance doesn't cover international travel, consider buying travel insurance through companies like Allianz or Travel Guard.
SHUT UP AND RUN hits shelves June 21st. Pre-order your copy here.