Travel tips from Mel

I do alot of planning before I travel, whether it’s down the road or out of state.  Even for “spur of the moment” trips, I at least have a bit of routine.  I pack my usual stuff for every trip and the first thing that always goes into the suitcase is…

yes.  The workout clothes.  No, I am not workout obsessed, I just like keeping my schedule or close to it while I am traveling. I always take the workout clothes and associated gear.  Working out keeps me sane.  Plus, one of the BEST ways to see an area is to run or walk it.  I guarantee that you will take in way more than you would in a car or other mode of transport. 

Road trips: 

~Pack a cooler with snacks or shelf stable items.  Bottled water, fruit, veggies, bars, whatever.  Starbucks is great place to get breakfast or a snack and stay on track. 

~Don’t buy anything inside at the gas station unless you have to.  It’s overpriced and most of it is crap.

~Put said cooler in back seat.  That way you aren’t eating stuff just because you are bored.  Keep a bottle of water near your seat at all times.

~I  keep shelf-stable snacks in my glove compartment at all times, as well as in my purse…just in case.

~Take breaks to walk around and get some circulation going.  You’ll have to stop and go to the bathroom anyways, after hydrating with the bottle of water.

Air trips:

~Take an empty water bottle, you can fill it once you get through security.  No need to pay $5 for a bottle of water.

~Keep snacks in your carry on.  I often take oatmeal, teabags, cocoa, Luna or some other bar, etc.  Maybe some nuts and some fruit.  You never know what you’ll find in the airport or on the plane, better to have some of those emergency snacks than be stuck eating something you’d rather not have.

~If you do need to eat in the airport, most airports have a Starbucks or similar coffee shop, something like a Panera, something like Subway, and something like a Wendy’s.  They all offer the NI on their menu items and have a variety of items that are somewhat healthy. 

Working out in place you don’t know:

~Research, research, research.  I always research where I am going to see what my options are.  Safety first.

~Book a hotel with a gym or with a gym contract somewhere.  Yeah, this doesn’t always work, many hotel gyms are pretty sparse, but if your trip is short, most hotel gyms will do

~If you belong to a chain gym, see if they have locations where you’ll be.  I have used Gold’s Gyms in Florida, College Station, San Antonio, Selma, Helotes, Dallas, and Waco areas.  Even if you don’t need a gym, you never know when you may need a place to shower 😉

~Set the town on fire with your feet!  Do your research first though.  Looks for tourist walks, parks, running club recommendations,, etc.   Pay attention to surroundings, lighting, sidewalks, traffic etc.  I’ve made the call before to not do any outdoor activity on some of my trips (like my last work trip to Houston).  The area wasn’t safe enough, so I stay confined to my hotel, since I didn’t have a car.

Traveling for a race:

~If you fly, put the shoes in the carry-on

~Pack a post-race bag with clean clothes and your toiletries.  That way, once you are ready to shower, you can have everything together.   This especially makes rushing to get out of a hotel after a race easier (as proven in the last 2 RNR SA marathons).

~Pack some post-race nourishment just in case you aren’t up for what the race provides or if you are picky like me.  Leave this in your gear-checked bag or in your car, so you don’t have to haul it.  I’ve found at races like Frankenthon and Angies Half Crazy, that I haven’t been wild about the post-race food.  I’m just not into tons of sugar, sodas, or BBQ. 

~Pack your pre-race breakfast.  I always bring my own oatmeal breakfast premade for race day.  I just add water and heat at hotel or wherever I’m staying.  I’m not wasting energy or money looking for breakfast that morning or the night before.

~Make sure if you are doing distance, that you’ve planned ahead to have enough fuel (whatever you use) for the race.  I seem to always run low on gels right before the race, so I go buy what I need and then some.  Better to have extras in your bag.  I am not one to count on what’s on the course, especially for more than a half.  I don’t carry water or sports drink, but I do carry my own gels.

~If you have pre/post race rituals, include them in your packing.  For this weekend I have bottled water, magazines, epsom salts, Zensahs, flip flops, etc. packed already.  

~Pack your meds.  If you have allergies like me, make sure you have that medicine.  I also pack Simply Sleep, which I rarely take, but will before a big race.  Mostly because if I don’t, I will keep myself up at night thinking.  Not worrying or getting nervous, but thinking about running.

~Plan to eat something after the race after you leave.  Like some people, distance supresses my appetite the day of (I tend to be hungrier the next day).  EAT.  Your body needs to start recovering and what you eat is important.  Eating protein, carbs, and fat is ideal for recovery.  I once took a poll of some ARC members and the overwhelming response to the perfect recovery food was cake/desserts, followed by Mexican food.  I will say that for the last 2 years and hopefully again this year, my RNR SA will include both, but not in the same sitting 😉

~I like to stay in hotels that are extended stay, or at least have a microwave and fridge.



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