Demystifying the Destination Race

Guest post by Arianna at

We’ve all seen the ads for fun races in exotic locations. Want to run a marathon in Hawaii? You can do that. Want to do a triathlon in Cozumel? You can do that too! Combining racing with travel is a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone and make your big race an even more memorable experience.

If the logistics of a destination race seem daunting, fear not! I’m here to help. Last year, I traveled to Philadelphia for the Feel the Love 5k and learned a few things. Here are some tips to help make your next race in a far off locale a big success!

Choose the right race: Picking the perfect local race can be hard enough but when you start looking at out of town events, there is even more to consider. How far can you realistically travel? Is the location difficult to reach by your preferred method of transportation? Are there activities for your family to do during your race? If you pick a place with lots of options for entertainment, a destination race can actually turn into a mini vacation for the whole family!

Make your travel arrangements: Decide if you are driving or flying and if you will need a rental car. When choosing your lodging, consider staying as close to the race site as possible. It might cost a little more but it can make life a whole lot easier! If cooking your own food is important, you may want to consider renting a house through a home rental site such as VRBO. Accommodations during big races can fill up quickly so it’s best to book your lodging as soon as possible.

Make plans for your pets: Traveling with your pets can be a lot of fun but if you are planning on bringing them along, there are a few things to consider. Do your accommodations allow animals? Is your family willing to wrangle them while you are busy with the race? If you decide to bring them with you may want to find local dog boarding to care for them on race day. We were able to find a last minute sitter who was willing to take Brodie, our lab, that night and for the majority of race day. Remember that most races start early so you should arrange your plans for your pet at least a day before to avoid a crazy morning before the race.

Plan your pre-race meals: Think about what you will eat in the days leading up to the race. Pre-race food is unique for every runner and by this point you should have figured out what works best for you. Make sure you have access to that food! If you are relying on the hotel for breakfast, be sure that the food will be available early enough for you to eat and digest it before your race. Some runners prefer to carb load and others rely on just a protein bar to hold them over. Before a shorter run, I will do a bit of fresh fruit and a protein bar, as I don’t want a heavy stomach during my run.

Pack wisely: Make a list and check it twice, three times if need be! When making your packing list it may be helpful to mentally go through every part of your race day. Start first thing in the morning: What will you eat for breakfast? What will you wear? Visualizing your day can help ensure that you don’t forget anything important. Check the forecast but be prepared for any type of weather- light clothing that layers easily usually work best in any uncertain situation.

Don’t overdo the pre-race sightseeing: You’ve worked hard to get here and you’ve probably spent the last few weeks training. Don’t over exert yourself with too much walking! A little walking is a great way to loosen up after a long travel day but don’t overdo it. Save the bulk of your sightseeing for after the race. For our race, we booked a hotel for 3 days: the day before, race day, and the day after, that way I had enough time to prepare and enough time to relax after.

Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at !

Thanks Arianna.  This advice will be very helpful to me (who loves to plan race-cations) and to my other readers.

Happy Running! Anything that you would add to this list?



One thought on “Demystifying the Destination Race

  1. Great post! Living on an island, most of my runs are vacation type runs.. I completely second the “pack carefully” point…nothing messes up ur mojo like realizing you dont have your Garmin…
    I always bring my pre race oatmeal, earplugs (in case your new sleep place is loud) and my pillowcase. It may sound silly, but my pillowcase smells like my bed – and it always calms me the nite before…
    Never try and see the day b4, just eat and chill and do the sightsee after – you will enjoy it more, have less stress and be more into the fun!

    xoxo from Trinidad


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