In the last couple years it seems that most of our family’s vacations have been conceptualized after finding a bucket list race that either my husband or I (or both us) wants to do. It quickly became the spirit of vacationing for our family and a worldwide concept of pairing your vacation with your race, a term commonly referred to as a Racecation.
There are a number of things that should be considered when planning a racecation, so that neither the vacation nor the race aspect of the experience suffers. Believe me, The Hubby and I have learned that lesson!
- Plan your itinerary so that your race is within the first day or two. This allows your family to arrive at the destination, go to the race expo, stock up on any race/food supplies you may need that you haven’t brought with you, and have a low key day or two to keep you in the training mode while not expending too much of your energy on the vacation mode.
- Plan your itinerary for the vacation keeping your race recovery in mind. If you know that the day after a half marathon, marathon or triathlon, your body will be wiped out and you will likely want to spend the day resting or down at the pool, don’t plan to doing anything to crazy that would require you to expend a lot of energy that your body just doesn’t have. The day after the race you might not want to walk around a theme park all day or hike through Yellowstone National Park. Make sure to plan all that family fun into your racecation for the days AFTER your recovery.
- If you are the only one racing, consider the rest of the family. If your family is all in, then I’m sure they’ll be hanging at the race venue to cheer you on and carry your stuff to the car/hotel for you when you finish! If not, that’s ok. There’s room for your race and for family time, but make sure you plan some things into the itinerary for the rest of your family to go do while you are racing and recovering. If I’m not racing and it’s just The Hubby, we go watch him race and then while he’s resting and recovering, Mini Me and I go off and do something fun. If I’m racing, they do the same. Sometimes we all race and make it a family affair! Regardless, we catch up with each other later if someone needs to rest. The next day and the rest of the trip, we do family stuff.
- Pack Your Race Nutrition. Never leave home without enough of the tried and true race nutrition you know you need. You can’t always count on the nationwide chain or local running store/bike shop to carry the products you love in the flavors you love them. We always travel with our own protein powders, magic bullet, electrolyte tablets and other race nutrition. If you’re flying and you know these items can’t pass through security, check them in your luggage. If that makes you too nervous, preorder them online from somewhere like Amazon and have them shipped to your hotel for the day you arrive. The front desk will have the package waiting for you. When you arrive, you can pick up items like bagels, fruit, water, and other snacks at the local grocery store.
- Don’t expend too much energy pre-race. I learned this one the hard way! I have gone on racecations where I’ve spent the day before the race walking around looking at the sights. I was just walking. It didn’t feel like I was really doing anything. But, then come race day, I didn’t do my best because I had already spent eight hours the day before walking all over. That was at least 10-15 miles of energy that I expended that I could have used in the race.
- Plan for the worst. In other words, be prepared. I’m invoking the Girl Scout motto here. Don’t pick a venue for a racecation that you wouldn’t travel to for vacation if there wasn’t a race there. If something happens that the race gets cancelled or you get injured before the race, you still want to be able to travel and have a great family experience. So choose venues wisely before you set off to plan them as a Racecation.
Wondering where our family is heading for our next racecation? We’ll be heading to Paris to take part in the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon weekend followed by some vacation time in Paris, Spain and England.
If you and/or your family and friends need help planning your next Racecation, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help you turn your race into a vacation experience beyond the race!