Survival Tips for Traveling to Endurance Races

July 30,2015

I travel a lot for races, and chances are that many of you do too. We have yet to have an Ironman in Pittsburgh so I have a feeling I may be traveling for a while. In the past year I have been to 2 countries and 5 states to race. It’s really cool to get to see and be apart of new and exciting places and it can also be really stressful. There is so much to do in the days leading up to a race that if everything isn’t in line it can be really challenging.

It’s really cool to get to see and be apart of new and exciting places and it can also be really stressful.

Traveling can really take a toll on your body both physically and mentally and arriving in tip top condition can be challenging when there are long miles to drive or fly. But the great news is that you can be smart about how you travel so that once you do arrive to the starting line, you can enjoy all of those emotions from the moment the gun goes off till the second you cross the finish line!

Do your research- Know where you are going and what potential issues you may run into. Think logistics like transportation, spectator information, and food. If you are going to need to use public transportation it’s best to get all of that information ahead of time so that you are not confused and stressed in the moment. It’s probably a good idea to tell your family where to meet you after the race, especially if it’s a point-to-point one. Also know where the nearest supply stores are in case you forget anything you will need on race day.

Prep your food- If you are traveling overseas I recommend having your own fuel and snack stash (I took a small luggage full to the Philippines and Mont Tremblant). I literally packed all of my go-to staples for training and race day, including my PB&J. I had to be sure that I would have it. Also know if the water will be safe to drink or if you will need to have plenty of bottled water. Knowing if your hotel has a refrigerator and microwave will also help in your prep.

Pack your bags strategically- If you are driving this is not so much an issue as if you are flying. Regardless you still need to arrive with all your items. I have about 4 extra bike helmets because for whatever reason always forget my bike helmet. It now stays in my trunk full time and I haven’t forgotten it since. If you are flying you always want to consider the possibility of lost luggage. And if you’re like me it will get lost every time! For this reason always pack a small carry-on bag with the essentials you need for the race. This way if your luggage goes to Japan and you are going to Pittsburgh, you’re ready to roll regardless.

Have a support crew (or Ironmate)- Practically none of my success in racing would be what it is today without the love, dedication, and support of my Ironmate. My husband is part of the reason I am able to compete in this sport and on race weekend that is no different, especially if we are traveling. He doesn’t just cheer for me on race day but he helps me stay calm in the days leading into an event and even drives so I can rest or nap. Now, I’m not saying you need a husband to be successful, but it is helpful to have a support crew to help you out. Oh and I definitely recommend letting them drive you home!

Practically none of my success in racing would be what it is today without the love, dedication, and support of my Ironmate.

Connect with the locals- Depending on what type of race you are doing, there may be more involved than just running. For example, in a triathlon it’s important to check out the race course ahead of time and even ride it if you can. We also have a practice swim and even run the course just to get the feel for the terrain. I like to meet locals who may have inside knowledge about parts of the course that I may not have time to see or train on. Using resources like a local club or group will allow you to jump into some of the course tours and get the inside scoop.

So like I said at the beginning of this long post, traveling can be stressful but it can also be very relaxing if well prepared. Some of the best moments have happened in beautiful places that I was visiting for racing. I can’t even imagine not having the opportunities that I have been so lucky to be apart of, and to think that they all revolved around racing. Now that’s worth traveling for!

– Amanda Gabarda

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