Exercise and travel may seem like opposing forces, but a runcation—a vacation planned around a race—is a great way to motivate your training and explore a new city.
A few years back, some family members, my husband, and I planned a vacation to run a half marathon in Nashville. It was our first time visiting the city, and I fell in love at first mile.
By exploring over thirteen miles of Music City on foot, I experienced neighborhoods that I never would have seen as a traditional tourist. This was a unique way to reconnect with family, meet fitness goals, and create lasting memories.
Here are a few tips on how to plan an entertaining and rewarding running vacation.
Choose the Event
Runcations are perfect for any racing distance, from a 5K to a full marathon. When planning your trip, the first step is deciding which distance is right for you. Consult the friends and family members who are joining you on the trip.
Once you've decided which race to tackle, it's time to pick a destination. Weather and landscape should be considered, as the hills of Colorado or the humidity of Florida may present additional challenges. And choose a travel method that works best for you and your group. I prefer driving to flying because there are no luggage restrictions.
Arrive Early, Eat Smart
You'll want to be in town to pick up your race packet at the expo, which is usually a day or two before the event. It's best to budget time to explore after the race, as you won't have to worry about overdoing it before the big event.
A food plan is essential to successful runcations. Pack staples—foods you've been eating throughout your training, like granola bars and bananas—to have before and after the run. When it comes to meals, you can premake your own pasta and oatmeal, or you can book a hotel or rental space with a kitchen and cook on-site.
If you're flying and need to eat out, stick to what you know. Go to national chains, order something that you've eaten many times, and avoid anything adventurous. You probably don't want to eat a heavy cream sauce—which could provoke a stomachache or worse on the course—so stick with what you know. After you cross the finish line, you can celebrate by sampling the local cuisine. After all, you've earned it.
Enjoy the Journey
You don't need to be an elite athlete to enjoy a runcation. In fact, you may get more out of it if you leave your watch at home, forget about a personal best, and simply appreciate the course. Perhaps you'll observe a cute coffee shop or an artisan clothing boutique that you and your running buddies can visit the next day. This is the perfect time to figuratively stop and smell the roses.
A runcation is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.
Have you ever gone on a runcation? Tag @toms_of_maine on Instagram to show us your favorite running destinations!
Image Sources: Laurie Fanelli | Unsplash | Laurie Fanelli
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Why It's Good
A runcation gives you a chance to explore a new city while meeting your fitness goals. Add friends and family, and you've got the recipe for an unforgettable adventure.