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Sep 23, 2021

Road Trippin’

Live races are back! Woohoo! Who’s ready for a road trip?

Are you traveling out of town, out of state, or out of the country for a race? There are a few things you should consider before packing your bags. Pam Bright, Run Ambassador and recently certified run coach for BGR Greensboro, and Merlina Newman, BGR Virginia Beach, have been running since 2011 and 2014.

Pam and Merlina met in 2014 and ran the half at the NJ Marathon. Together, they’ve run in several races since then. Individually, they have traveled up and down the East Coast and as far as Indianapolis for races and offer a few tips based on their personal experiences:

  1. If your schedule and budget allow, arrive 2-3 days early to the host city. Alternatively, try not to return home the day after the race. Instead, take time to relax and explore the city.
  2. If traveling by air and you must check a bag, pack everything essential for race day – from your sports bras, socks to your phone charger – in your carry-on.
  3. Write hotel info and phone numbers of the people you traveled with on a sticky note and place in a Ziplock bag. Stash in your pocket or run belt during your run. You never know when your phone will die, or worse, you leave it somewhere after taking all those post-race selfies.
  4. Pack extra running clothes! You’d hate to pull out your favorite running tights from your bag only to snag them in the zipper and rip a gaping hole in them! Or, you’re fully dressed and ready to head out the door on race day only to notice an unidentifiable stain on your shirt you hadn’t seen before!
  5. Don’t WEAR anything new on race day. That tip goes for clothes and shoes. For example, those running shoes or running tights may have felt good when you tried them on at the store a month ago, but they may feel completely different after a few miles on the pavement.
  6. Don’t EAT anything new in the days leading up to your race. For instance, that fiber-rich, protein-packed overnight oats recipe you found online? It may leave you off the pavement and on the porta-potty on race day.
  7. BYO nutrition – gels, protein bars, hydration tablets, etc. Out-of-town options vary, and you may not be able to find your “go-to” in your race city.
  8. Be sure to pack recovery items, e.g., foam roller, massage stick, foot roller, and recovery slides.

My first race, the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, was scheduled for April 2020. But we all know what happened in 2020. Wah wah. So now, with these tips from my sole sisters, I have everything I need for my first live race during The Philadelphia Marathon weekend this November!

Traveling for races is the best way to see and explore a new city. Take in the scenery, culture and all the events, especially the expos! You’ll score some cool swag! Meet new friends, and most of all, enjoy the experience!

By: Danielle Barnes – @dannibsays (IG) @dannib413 (Twitter)

Danielle Barnes is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University. Her superpower is her ability to captivate audiences with her words whether it’s in person or on paper. Danielle enjoys devouring a good book, volunteering for causes she’s passionate about, staying active, and traveling the globe to see the world in all its glory.