Professional runner Lauren Jimison talked with coaches and athletes and put together some top travel tips.
1. Raw Foods, Hydration, And Stretching
Danny Mackey, Brooks Beasts Coach in Seattle, Wash., shares some tips he gives to his athletes for flying. Mackey states that his athletes travel 16-20 times a year, four of those trips being coast-to-coast, and 2-3 international. Mackey advises, “A good rule of thumb is I have them say ‘yes’ every time a flight attendant asks you if you want water. The airplane has dry air, so being on top of hydration is simple but important. I encourage them to wear compression socks or leggings because of the pressure change in the airplane and because being sedentary will cause blood to pool in their legs. This is not good for recovery; you will notice the difference with compression socks. The last part is every 45-60 minutes, the athletes get up to do 10 double leg body squats, 10 knee raises, 10 heel to butts and 10 calf raises. It takes 2 minutes but it makes a huge difference on long flights, and getting some hip mobility will help. If you bring some raw healthy food, hydrate, wear compression garments and look like a fitness freak doing squats in the isle, then travel should not be too bad.”
2. Stay Positive
When travel does not go as planned, be flexible and positive. Staying stress and worry free are essential for traveling, whether by plane or car. Remember that even if the days leading up to your race are not ideal, this does not mean your training has gone to waste. In fact, the weeks leading up to a big race are just fine-tuning weeks; your fitness has already been built. Stay positive and focused on race day. Enjoy travel by bringing your favorite books, journaling, or finding good restaurants to try. Relax as much as possible and roll with the punches.
3. Travel Early And Stick To A Routine
Tyler McCandless, a Newton Elite athlete who recently represented the U.S. team at the Boulder Boulder 10K, shares his key tips on traveling early: “Biggest tip is to try and book travel in the morning. There are less flight delays in the morning because there’s no chance of an incoming flight delay. Also, stick to the routine you’re used to! Justin’s Nut Butter makes squeeze packs that are easy to travel with and make it through security. Simple things like that make traveling easy, minimize stress and minimize the time you need to do errands when you arrive at your destination.”
4. Plan Ahead
Melissa Johnson-White, a Hansons Brooks Athlete, advises to carry your most important race items with you, to be prepared: “I always bring a carry on bag when I’m flying. I use this bag to carry my uniform, racing shoes, PowerBars, and a few essential items. Flights get cancelled, connections can change and the last thing you need is to lose your luggage before a big race and not have your racing gear. I always bring PowerBars and snacks with me for the same reason. You could be sitting in the airport for several hours because of delayed flights or connections and you don’t want to change your schedule too much before a big race. I’d rather plan ahead and be prepared if something happens. Focus on what you can control and don’t let the rest bother you.”
5. Rest And Recover
Extra rest is a key for traveling. If your travel day involves an unbearable early start or a flight that gets in at midnight, it is OK to take an unplanned day off. When you arrive to your destination, rest as soon as possible. Putting your legs up on the wall can help drain and circulate the blood in your legs so that you recover quicker and are ready to run the next day. If you have time, an easy shake out run can also help circulate the blood and speed up recovery post-travel. Sleep in and then adjust to the time difference, if there is one. Allowing a day or so to settle in is a good plan to have. Traveling early to a destination is also a good idea, so if plans change, you aren’t arriving the day before your race or missing your race.
6. Travel With Teammates
Traveling with teammates, your close friends or family can help you in preparing for the best or worst with travel. If you are with people who have your back, combating the annoyances of traveling can be a bit easier. This way, if something happens, you are not left on your own. And, you have people that can hold you accountable with doing the best you can to travel safely and travel smartly. Plus, more company makes it enjoyable. Traveling does not have to be dreaded; it can be a blast.
About The Author:
Lauren Jimison is a professional runner for ASICS Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. She graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2012 and is looking to be a fast competitor on the roads.