IMG 1140 tmomExperiencing different cities is part of the thrill of destination running. Exploring new sites while adding more road races to my list of accomplishments makes my training and running experience even more exciting. This weekend I will trek through the streets of the Windy City when I run my second marathon – the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9. I’ll be traveling from Atlanta the day before the big race so I need to make sure I have everything planned and in place now. I’ve done several destination races including my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. and Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in Florida, and I’ve been learning the do’s and don’ts along the way. Here are a few tips of what you can do before you leave to make sure things stay as smooth as possible:

Double Check TRAVEL Arrangements
It sounds logical but surprisingly so many people don’t confirm their air, ground and hotel accommodations. Mistakes happen and it’s easier to rectify them ahead of time instead of at a crowded airport or in a sold-out hotel lobby. Take the time to reconfirm and put your mind at ease.

Scout Out Your FOOD
I like to eat a whole wheat pasta dish before a long race; and in the morning it’s all about a natural peanut butter sandwich. When I’m flying I can’t bring that with me so I need to know where I can pick up my goods once I arrive at the hotel. Check on the internet or call the hotel concierge and they can advise you where to go.

Pack a PLAN B Outfit
I start stalking the weather report about 10 days out. Weather people are more on point these days, but you still need to be prepared for an unexpected change. What if it rains or if the temperature drops? Running gear is expensive so you want to be prepared. This is one time when it’s OK to over-pack – but just a little.

If your toothbrush, your jacket or even your panties go missing you can easily buy new ones, but your running shoes – the ones you’ve trained in – are harder to replace. If you’re flying carry them on the plane with you; or even wear them on your feet. You don’t want to deal with shoe drama the day before a marathon.

Write and RELAX
Write up a packing list, a to-do list, and your race day plan. It’s so easy to forget things in the heat of the moment. Running is as much mental as it is physical. You need to focus on relaxing and having a good race, not logistical details that could’ve been taken care of days or weeks before.

Until next time, I’m off and running …