There’s a thrilling challenge to a destination race that can provide an extra kick of motivation to your race training routine. Instead of running past the same landmarks and through the same streets that you travel in your everyday life, you’ll be able to run through a whole new environment. By choosing a destination with a different terrain or climate, you can step out of the ordinary and look forward to an exciting adventure in an unknown place. Plus, you can distract yourself during long training days by mentally planning for your trip as you countdown the miles.
Tip: If you’re planning to run somewhere very different from your home city, be sure to train for the conditions of your destination. You may have dreams of sipping mai tais on a Hawaiian beach after your race, but running the Honolulu Marathon means that you'll have to prepare for 26.2 miles of hot, humid conditions. Before you sign up for a destination race and drop money on a plane ticket, research race details like weather, elevation, and course details to ensure that you know how you should prepare.
Sightseeing On the Go
Running through a city is an amazing way to sightsee and to get an up-close feel for an area’s neighborhoods. The experience of seeing something for the first time is also a great way to break through the tougher moments of your race, as an epic view of an iconic site can be all the motivation you need to keep going.
Tip: Your legs need all the rest they can get before your race, so limit any additional sightseeing until after your big day. If you’re dying to see a certain landmark or spot, plan your shakeout run (the short, easy run many runners do the day before their race) around the part of the city that you’d like to see. After that, you can spend the rest of the day taking it easy.
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Once the hard part is over, the celebrating can begin. Use the post-race resting period as a motivator to get through the harder parts of your training plan. It may go without saying, but be sure and schedule your race close to the start of your vacation so you can spend the majority of your hard-earned time off recharging and recuperating instead of worrying about your race. Plus, nothing caps off a successful finish than a celebratory carb-filled dinner (or two, or three!)
Tip: Be sure and make reservations beforehand for any big post-race dinners, especially if your hotel is in an area where many other runners are also staying. The most important thing to remember about your destination race is that it should be fun! Mishaps can happen during travel as well as on race day, but don’t let a lack of planning ruin the rest of your vacation. Be prepared, arm yourself with info and take any changes in stride. Remember: no matter what happens you should be proud that you combined fun with fitness and worked toward your goals.