You all know I love to travel to races. And Beer Geek just loves to travel. Period. We are also fans of driving trips. I grew up driving across America – my dad was in the military and we drove between stations plus did a lot of driving family vacations. In fact, I did not fly for the first time until high school. These days we fly more often, but even when we fly someplace, we tend to do long trips while there. (Our summer vacation involves flying to Denver, but we’ll then be driving to Chaco Canyon, Four Corners, Angel Fire, Santa Fe, and Durango.)
So you know that a road trip racecation is something I’m going to do. In fact, I’ve driven as far south as the Florida panhandle and as far west as St. Louis, just for one race. We’ve also done a multi race racecation that covered New England and the Riverboat Series that included Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. We leave on Friday for the Heartland Series which means driving as far away as Iowa and then back to Annapolis. We might just be a tad bit crazy… Luckily my family is coming to stay with the boys, so we won’t be dealing with whiny teens in the back seat. (I will give them credit – they did a great job on our whirlwind trip to St. Louis for Spring Break.)
Anyways, since today is a free day on Tuesdays on the Run, I decided I’d share some Dos and Don’ts of doing a road trip racecation.
- Pack all the snacks. Seriously. You never know how easy it will be to find what you want when you want it, especially after the race.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Before the race, it’s tempting to not drink enough in the car so that you can get there quickly. Don’t do it. The last thing you want to do is arrive in your race location already dehydrated. And on the way back? Hydrating properly means you’ll need to stop regularly, which leads me to the next “Do”.
- Stop and stretch and move around as often as your schedule will allow. There’s nothing worse than an 8 hour drive after a half marathon (or longer). Not only will you be sore and tight when you get out of the car, you will likely find that you will be sore for longer than normal.
- Wear compression. I personally prefer socks to sleeves for recovery because my feet swell in sleeves. But I put on compression socks for all of our long drives after races – even if I’m wearing shorts. Fashion be damned!
- Plan and pack for every weather condition. The beauty of driving is you usually have more room. I pack my planned outfit(s) and then add rain gear, tights or capris, and a long sleeve shirt. More than once I’ve ended up wearing layers that I hadn’t actually planned to run in.
- Schedule your race for the end of the racecation. Just don’t. While your vacation might make a great taper, you are also likely to have eaten different than normal. This can add some interesting moments to your race. I found this out the hard way in Missouri.
- Plan to be the driver after your race. That’s pretty much a recipe for stiffness. Sometimes you have no choice, but if you can convince someone else to be the designated driver, do it.
- Eat like you are road tripping. See the first don’t. It could have disastrous results.
- Forget your important run items. Make a checklist. Check it twice. Make sure your shoes match (yes, I have friends who’ve ended up at races with two left or two right shoes.)