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’.
[inlinkz_linkup id=689759 mode=1]
19 thoughts on “TOTR: Tips for planning a racecation”
I thought this topic might be good for you! Great tips!
Great tips! My husband and I tend to travel for marathons, and usually we will sign up and say we will figure out the flights/travel plans later. It always works out, but sometimes it makes things a little stressful when we realize we cant get in at the time we want!
If there is a place I want to vacation to, sometimes I will look up running in the USA or another similar site to see if there are any races that are taking place around the time I want to go.
Great tips! Research is key! Now in days hotel rooms can be hard to find and I don’t want to travel to a race book the hotel room and still travel far to the race start! I just registered for the Best Damn Race in New Orleans and yes, the hotel room search took the longest but oh so worth it 🙂
These are great tips…I’ve only ever done a few racecations, and packing is always tricky!!! You definitely don’t want to forget some key items and realize it race morning!
Totally agree with booking the hotel before registering! When I was researching 70.3’s to do this year I was set on doing Eagleman until I couldn’t find a hotel with a kitchen nearby-already all booked up!
I usually get to do one Racecation a year and it is usually a Ragnar with my besties. The rest of my races are local or within 2 hours
All good tips Erika! All but one race was a destination race last year – this year it’s looking like just the opposite.
This is so helpful! My sister and I are doing the Disney Princess weekend (5K and 10K) and I wouldn’t have thought to book our rooms before signing up…now I know why! I’ll keep your steps in mind for my next trip!
I research the race out the wazoo. I like research and races are a fun topic. What is the course like, what is the average weather, what about hotels, driving to the start, all of that fun stuff. I don’t want any surprises race morning.
Because I ended up taking someone else’s (very sweet) hotel reservation the last time I ran Boston, I had to fly home a few hours after finishing the race. Oh no that wasn’t too stressful…
Good to know I’m not the only one who’d ever done that!
Hoping to get into Ragnar Napa this year! Currently awaiting lottery
Love all the tips!
and if you are going to be away somewhere why not race?! It is good to see if something is running if you are traveling anyway 🙂
I CANNNNOT BELIEVE I HAVE ONE COMING IN APRIL.
great tips. I need for $ and time, though LOL
You know what’s funny? I’m so good about budgeting for our regular vacations but when I’m running a race I throw that completely out the window! And the result is I usually spend far more than I should. Need to check out your budgeting tips and remember that even though I’m running and that’s sort of work, this is for fun! And I can’t write it off . . .although wouldn’t that be nice;).
Great tips! Reading blog race recaps is so helpful. I’ll be remembering all this advice for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler! 🙂
I think there might have been only one family vacation that didn’t involve a race. I ran of course just not at a race and maybe a few weekends without races but they are few and far between. If we did not have our RV to stay in I can say without a shadow of doubt I wouldn’t be able to do near the many races just because of cost.
I’ve also yet to fly anywhere for a race, I do want too it’s just expensive and requires planning and saving!
Thanks Erika for the link up.
I’m all about the racecation, too! Great tips. I’d like to do more local races, too. There are just too many good ones around here.