Planning Ahead · Racing

Planning The Perfect Race Weekend


Traveling out of town can be stressful. Throw in a race and it can downright overwhelming!

Since most of my “big races” have been out of town I feel as if I have gotten things down pat and I wanted to share with you some tips to make your race weekend fun and low stress!


The main thing you must remember is to plan ahead.

By planning ahead I mean this:

1. Figure out if you will need a hotel room. Book as soon as you sign up for the race because hotels near the start usually fill up quick. Even if you are not 100% sure if you will need one, read the cancellation policy and book just in case- you can cancel if you end up not needing it! *I repeat read the cancellation policy before you book*

2. Check race expo hours. If your race does not offer day of race packet pick up make sure you know the expo hours and make it your one and only priority to make it there. Plan your arrival time into your destination based on this!

3. Make a dinner reservation. Even if it is months in advance it is never to early to start thinking about your pre-race dinner. Start looking at menus, reading reviews and asking friends that live in your race destination where you should eat! (Last year before Cherry Blossom we did not make a reservation and we struggled to find somewhere to eat because of the large amount of people in town- we learned our lesson for this year- reservation made!)

4. Plan your before race transportation and after race meeting spot. How will you get to the start line- walk? Metro? Get dropped off? Have a plan and even a back up: you never know. As for after the race- if in a group do you have a meeting place once you all finish? After race pictures are always the best so be sure to plan to some photo opts!

5. Ask for late check out. Even though most races start early enough for you to return to your room and shower and pack- late check out is clutch. You do not need to rush and you can take your time and relish in your awesome race as you get your things ready to go!

6. Check the weather. This is one time when it is OK to over pack. Sorry weather forecasters we know you do your best but you are not always right which means us runners need to pack options.

2014 Cherry Blossom- Talk about the perfect finisher photo!
2014 Cherry Blossom- Talk about the perfect finisher photo!

Other things to think about (and I always do)

  • Pack a cooler with water or your after race drink of choice.
  • Bring your breakfast- just in case the expo doesn’t have what you want and you cannot find a store
  • Check out cool places and stores around your destination (think specialty items local to that area)
  • Buy something with the date and race info on it
My 26.2 shirt from Richmond- just in case I forgot when and where I ran my 1st marathon!
My 26.2 shirt from Richmond- just in case I forgot when and where I ran my 1st marathon!

Be sure to enjoy your race, your surroundings and plan ahead. If you do those things race day will go off without a hitch!

Do you have any tips for runners traveling out of town for a race? 

2 thoughts on “Planning The Perfect Race Weekend

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