Running Destination Races: 15 Tips to Prepare & How To Pack

Woman warming up for a race in Paris.

Passionate runners know the feeling… We not only squeeze our running shoes into every bag or suitcase when traveling, we even travel to run. Whether it’s the NYC Marathon, running a race on the Great Wall of China or an adventurous run across Walt Disney World Resort – we want to explore the world running.

We’ve compiled a list of useful tips and insider information from our in-house hobby runners to ensure your runs are successful – even when running thousands of miles from your home route.

15 running tips rock your next destination race

1. Get your offline playlist ready

One thing’s for sure: music motivates us when running. Have you compiled a running playlist packed with all your favorite songs? If you usually listen to your tunes via streaming, play it safe and download your playlist for offline access. Better safe than sorry! You don’t want to risk pressing “play” at the start and freaking out because your headphones remain silent due to a bad internet connection.

Woman preparing playlist for a race

2. Create your Runtastic running route

Prepare for the run and create a Runtastic Route. This way, you’ll know what’s waiting for you during the race. No surprise hills!

3. Stay curious, not nervous

Make the decision to approach the event with curiosity and positive excitement instead of being nervous. It will for sure be an unforgettable experience! Not everyone can say their running shoes already ran the Great Wall in China or [insert your favorite running location], right?

4. Be open to meeting new friends

The more open-minded you approach the start line, the higher the chance of your next running event leading to interesting new acquaintances. Many great friendships among runners started out at the start or finish line.

5. Pack power snacks

Whether it’s the breakfast buffet overload at the hotel or the lack thereof at the hostel – make sure you’re prepared for the race by bringing your own ingredients for your favorite runner’s breakfast and snacks.

Power snacks for race

6. Running gear in your carry-on

The conveyor belt stops moving but there’s no sign of your suitcase? To prevent your running shoes, apparel and snacks from solo-traveling to another airport, pack everything you need for the race in your carry-on. Don’t forget the necessary documents: registration confirmation, route, etc. They’re best carried in your backpack or handbag. Wondering what you’ll forget? Check out our equipment checklist & make sure you’re ready to run.

7. Rest & relax

Try to seize the chance to relax during long-distance flights. Bring a sleeping mask or wrap a scarf around your head to help you get some shut eye.

A woman sleeping in bed

8. Airplane food? We say skip it

When we get hungry on the plane, we don’t really have a choice – it’s either bread rolls or pasta with tomato sauce. If you’re unsure whether the in-flight food is the right fit for your healthy diet, just bring your own snacks – like fruit, rice waffles or nuts – and decline the plane food. The right nutrition is vital for your run.

9. Stay hydrated

Although the flight attendants walk around with little cups of water on a regular basis, we still drink way too little when traveling by plane. Air conditioning is an additional factor that dries out the air and our skin, so make sure you buy a big bottle of water at the airport (after security control of course). And while alcoholic beverages are complimentary on international flights, save alcohol for your post race celebrations.

Stay hydrated before race

10. Walk down the aisle

Everyone wants the window seat for a better view, but go for a seat near the aisle. Firstly, because you’ll have to go to the toilet more often if you drink that big bottle of water and, secondly, because you can stretch your legs and walk up and down the aisle a bit. Some airlines even have “exercise suggestions” in the printed material in the seatback in front of you nowadays!

11. Give your feet some rest

Let your feet breathe and take off your shoes during the flight or at least loosen your shoe laces to improve blood circulation.

12. For the morning races

Have a reasonable portion of carbohydrates for dinner the night before and focus on staying hydrated. Then, 2 to 3 hours prior to the race, you should eat your usual runner’s breakfast: cereals with skim milk, toast with jam or oatmeal – whatever works for you.

13. A little caffeine boost

Coffee or tea can up your energy levels before the run. However, never do this without having tried beforehand. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine and that’s a reaction you’ll want to prevent on race day.

Coffee cup

14. For the afternoon races

If the starting pistol is fired in the afternoon, opt for carbohydrates for dinner the day before and also for breakfast that same morning. For lunch, have a light salad with egg or chicken breast, some crackers or a granola bar. Make sure you only choose what you’ve already tried and tested before – no experiments on race day! If the race starts right after lunch time, eat a bit earlier than usual, approx. 2 to 3 hours before the start.

15. And for the evening races

Fill up on carbs for breakfast and lunch. Have a light snack in the afternoon, but go without an abundant dinner. Opt for lots of liquids until the early afternoon for ideal hydration levels.

Follow these tips and your destination race (while it might not turn into a walk in the park) will for sure be an awesome experience!

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