Destination races have become the way to vacation. Flying one hour, five hours, or even all over the world has become commonplace. Some runners are even doing seven races in seven days on seven continents. But did you know that if you are traveling to a race, there are some steps you need to take for your body’s health?
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it after security. Or purchase a big bottle before you get to your gate.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes so you can move freely. If you are traveling far, wear compression sleeves or socks. This will help reduce inflammation especially if you are stuck on a plane changing altitudes for a couple of hours.
Do not drink alcohol. Or at least wait until your are hydrated and fed.
Drink plenty of water and beverages with electrolytes. Tablets containing electrolytes are easy to pack in your carryon and your race day bag.
Eat a post-race meal containing protein and carbohydrates to help rebuild the muscle you just used. If you can’t consume a lot of food after a tough race, try a drink like chocolate milk. Consuming 200-300 calories right after your race is essential to recovery. Then you can eat a bigger meal later in the day.
If you can, take a cool bath. This can help reduce swelling and decrease inflammation, which will ultimately help flush out the muscles due to constriction of blood cells.
Book an aisle seat so your legs can have space. Also hydrated runners may need to get up to use the bathroom more often than usual. If you are stuck with a middle or window seat, sit with your legs open and store your bags in the overhead compartment to give your feet more room.
Make sure you move around on the plane. This will help prevent blood clots. It also increases blood flow to the legs and feet to reduce stiffness. Also try not to sleep for hours. There is a higher chance you won’t move around as much if you do sleep. If you do feel a dull pain and it persists, see a doctor immediately. Blood clots are something you do not want to mess with.
Once again, wear comfortable clothing and compression sleeves. If you would wear it post-race, wear it on the plane. No one will care about your fashion statement. Drink plenty of fluids and eat your protein.
Have fun at your racecation but remember these tips when you decide to fly.