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Published with permission from NDeckerRunner.
Earlier this year I traveled to Gulf Shores, AL for my seventeenth half marathon—the 4th Annual Gulf Coast Half.
I have run the Pensacola, FL series once and Mandeville, LA twice so it was time for me to FINALLY finish the three location series with ALABAMA! The drive to Alabama is only about 3 hours away, and as I was preparing to leave I wrote down a few tips for those with a racecation road trip weekend coming up.
- Pack ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute. Make a list and check it twice. I even pack my list so when I am leaving I remember everything I brought. This also helps on race morning so I remember everything I need and nothing gets left behind at the hotel.
- It is okay to over-pack if your unsure about the weather. Bring a throwaway sweatshirt or mylar blanket if you think it will be a chilly morning. Remember the 10 degree rule—you always warm up after the first mile so disposable layers are key.
- Put in all of your addresses (Expo, restaurants, hotel) ahead of time into your GPS. This way you are not scrambling for time and can plan.
- Charge your iPod, phone and watch ahead of time. Test everything before leaving.
- Bring your own snacks, drinks, breakfast and race day energy supplies (such as GU). Your stomach may not like surprises.
- Clean up your house and pay bills before leaving. The last thing you want to do when you get home is chores. You will want to stretch and rest because more than likely you have to work the next day.
- If you know of somewhere fun to stop on the way to your destination, DO IT! Trust me, you won’t feel like it on the way home after the race. I remember one of my favorite stops with friends on the way to the Pensacola race was “World Of Beers.” Memories with friends is part of the experience.
- On your drive home from the race weekend stop every hour to stretch and wear comfortable clothes. Even compression socks on your legs will be helpful.
You want have the least possible amount of headaches for your race weekend to give you the best possible race day results. Remember the journey is part of the experience.