Have you ever gone on a racecation? I love to racecation. In fact, vacationing without a race very seldom happens around here anymore.
While I do love a local race (and 2017 is going to be a bit more local focused), combining travel and racing is my favorite. Today on Tuesdays on the Run, we are discussing whether you are more of a weekend warrior (aka local racer) or running off on a racecation.
If you’ve been around my blog for long, you know I’d be traveling and racing every weekend if I could manage it. So, I’m going to share how I go about planning my trips.
Decide what aspect is most important to you.
Do you have a specific race in mind? Or are you going on vacation and want a race nearby? Or maybe you are on your 50 states quest and want a specific state. Does it need to be a specific length? Are you looking for a race that’s large or small? Are your dates set in stone or flexible? Is there a brewpub nearby or good beer at the race? (What? Just me?)
Choose a race.
Obviously you can skip this if you have a specific race in mind. I like to check Running in the USA, HalfMarathons.Net, and Active.Com to start. If I have trouble finding something, I turn to Google. There have been a few times where there really were no options at all, but usually I can find a race that works.
Research the race.
Read every page on the race website. Read blogs. Check out Facebook to see if it has a page or a related group. If it’s a half or a full, check out the Half Fanatic and Marathon Maniac Facebook pages. You’ll want to figure out if the race has any weird logistics, when and where packet pickup is, if there are any refund options, etc. (I’m sure this is where I should say you should look at the course elevation, but umm, I never do that. Apparently I like to find out the morning of that the race I’ve chosen is hella hilly.)
Book your hotel.
Yes, book the hotel BEFORE you register for the race (assuming you aren’t already staying in the area.) Sometimes races are larger than the housing options in the area, so you want to make sure you have a place to stay and race morning logistics thought out before you spend the money on the race. (Usually hotel reservations can be canceled if need be.)
Make your travel plans.
Figure out your flight plans or driving plans. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to get to the race and to get to the airport after the race. (I know plenty of Marathon Maniacs who have had to run faster than planned to make flights. If you can avoid the stress of tight travel, do it.) If you the race you are running involves a lottery, don’t actually buy the tickets yet. If there will be no issues registering, go ahead and make the arrangements.
Register for the race.
Finally it’s time. Sit down and register for the race. While I’ve never had a DNF, I’ve had a DNS or two over the years when I’ve screwed up my travel planning. I’ve also had some surprise logistic issues when I skipped the research stage.
Boom! Enjoy your racecation!
Check out my racecation budgeting post for some tips on how to make racecationing affordable and my packing for a racecation post for some tips on making sure you arrive at your destination with everything you need. Hint: don’t put your running shoes in your checked luggage. Just sayin’.