Racecations should come with a step by step guide. But, since they don’t, I’m putting together this post to help others out there from making the same mistakes we have so far! Whether it’s a travel tip or general lessons from races around the country, I hope these will help you along the way! Please note this is not a comprehensive list, but just a few of the things that jumped out to us these past few trips.
Bring trash bags or plastic bags for dirty laundry. This may seem obvious but there is nothing more disgusting than finishing a race and having nowhere to put your sweaty run clothes for the duration of your trip. Unless you are staying somewhere that you can get a quick load of laundry done, plan to bring a trash bag or plastic grocery bag to keep your race clothes separate from the rest of your apparel.
Transportation can be tricky depending on where your racecation is taking you. So far, almost none of our races have been in the same area we were flying into. We try to choose unique/great views/fun events for our destinations and sometimes that means we are over an hour or more from a major airport. A lot of places do have shuttles or possibly trains that run near the races, but definitely double-check the schedules ESPECIALLY if they are seasonal! We usually just rent a car which brings me to another recommendation.
If you’re in the market for a new car and truly want to “test drive” the potential options, use all the rental car bookings as a way to try different makes and models. Rental cars are a great way to see lots of different options when you’re traveling quite a bit and seeing how they handle in traffic, how well you can load your gear/passengers, and different driving conditions.
Speaking of rental cars, with all the travel required to run a half in every state we have made sure to FINALLY join the loyalty programs for air, hotels, and car rentals. We have the apps on our phones which make everything a breeze but it also makes it less stressful trying to manage multiple reservations for different states/races and we have already received loyalty rewards and perks which makes travel a little less stressful and a bit more affordable. Always look into what benefits and options are available within the loyalty programs ahead of time, specifically for hotels, so you don’t miss out on any chances to save or freebies during your stay.
Packing for a racecation is already hard enough (we all know run shoes somehow take up half a bag!) so I have started trying to focus on a capsule racecation wardrobe. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of my outfit posts. I stick to a lot of basics and neutrals in my day-to-day life but maybe even more so when packing. It makes life so much easier to travel with just a carry-on and stick to easy mix/match outfits everywhere we go I’m taking it one step further though, and starting to plan my racecation capsule wardrobe. Think easy breezy materials, the ability to dress up or down, and versatile enough to work in Napa, Denver, or NYC. While I’m just starting to pull together these pieces, I know this will make it even easier to pack, unpack, and repack for the next 45 states.
Oh and on the apparel note, pickup $1 ponchos anywhere and everywhere you can find them. Dollar stores, big box stores, grocery stores, wherever. Bring them with you for EVERY race. You won’t feel bad leaving a $1 poncho behind on the course if the weather clears up. You will be sad melting in your super fancy rain jacket though. Speaking from experience.
Bring a race day list. Seriously. Make this a note on your phone, on a piece of paper, wherever. When you’re going from your home state to a race state, it’s easy to end up in a different time zone and completely fatigued on race morning. A list will help you make sure you have everything you need for race day. I lay out all of my clothes the night before but at our most recent race, I had to charge my watch the night before and COMPLETELY forgot it for the Cape Cod Half! Y’all. I had no idea what pace I was running, and I went out way too fast. Moral of the story. Make a list. Check it twice. Thanks, Santa, for the life lesson.
If you’re like us and one spouse/travel buddy is significantly faster than the other, ALWAYS bring a change of clothes. Poor hubs has almost frozen waiting for me at more than a few races after he finished. Sweaty, wet clothes in freezing temps are not a good post-race hang out. Throw in a thing of makeup remover wipes/deodorant wipes/wet wipes. Whatever you have. If you’ve got a bit of waiting around to do and don’t have access to showers, this is a quick and easy way to at least feel a little less sweaty and gross when you’ve finished the race. Especially if you plan to stick around and go straight to post-race activities.
One significant lesson we have learned is we need to try to fly in the day before the race (unless altitude or significant time change). Granted, there is only so much we can do depending on race day, vacation days, and schedules, but when possible, this has so many benefits for us. We like to explore which means more often than not we end up taking an accidental 10-12 mile walking tour of a city a day (or 2 days in a row) before a race. Sure, it’s great to get your steps in. But we are usually wearing cowboy boots, booties, or boat shoes. News flash: not recommended for foot health or wanting fresh legs for a race.
Have more questions? Send them my way! We have 45 states left so I’m sure this list will keep growing!
Thanks for stopping by!