I’d simply turned off the Thames river when the enduring residence of the British monarchy got here into view: Buckingham Palace. My quads had been burning, my tongue was hanging out of my mouth as I gasped for air, and Brits on both aspect of the course had been yelling on the high of their lungs. With lower than one mile left to one of many most-epic end traces in marathoning, I booked it with all the pieces I had left in my very useless legs.

I’d gotten the chance to run the London Marathon final month as a visitor of The Westin London Metropolis, since Westin Lodges & Resorts is the brand new official companion lodge of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. As a result of it was my first probability to get in a foreign country in virtually 5 years (because of grad college, a pandemic, and a child), I made a decision to take full benefit and convey alongside my husband and 10-month-old for a full-on, 10-day journey.

This wasn’t my first abroad racing rodeo. Again earlier than life obtained in the way in which of our wanderlust, my husband and I used to run a pair out-of-town marathons or ultramarathons every year. We discovered that touring for a race is usually a unbelievable approach to see a brand new place whereas doing one thing we love.

However planning a “run-cation,” as we nerdy runners typically name it, additionally requires some difficult logistics. Listed here are 9 methods that I’ve both picked up over time or discovered extra just lately from world RunWestin concierge Chris Heuisler.

1. Resolve how necessary your race efficiency is to you

A ‘run-cation’ has two elements: the race, and the holiday. However how a lot emphasis will get placed on every part can fluctuate based mostly on what you actually care about.

“Know why you’re there and what you need out of the expertise,” says Heuisler. Perhaps you’re after a PR, or possibly you simply need an excuse to journey. Perhaps it’s one thing in between. Clarifying your priorities will enable you to make the perfect choices about how one can plan your journey—particularly, how severely you’ll need to take the times main as much as the race.

2. Arrive early sufficient to regulate and keep away from journey stress

Most individuals can’t totally chill out into trip mode till after their race is over, so that you need to plan a run-cation in order that the working occurs close to the beginning. But you additionally don’t need to minimize it so tight that journey delays make you miss bib pickup, or the race altogether. (My husband and I as soon as flew to Kansas Metropolis solely to land after the race had already ended… Not very best.) Additionally, if you happen to’re heading to a brand new time zone, giving your physique time to regulate can assist you will have a greater race.

That’s why Heuisler—who’s at present on his personal quest to run a marathon in all 50 states—suggests aiming to reach 36 to 48 hours earlier than the race. “I feel what that does for me is I don’t really feel as harassed,” he says. “I’m attempting to account for airport delays, there may very well be issues stepping into my lodge. I err on the aspect of warning if my schedule permits for it.”

3. Plan to be off your ft as a lot as you’ll be able to earlier than the race

If racing properly is the first objective of your journey, save your sightseeing till after you cross that end line. As an alternative, get exterior (“direct daylight is a significantly better approach to kick jet lag than a nap,” factors out Heuisler), decide up your bib, do a shakeout run, then simply chill out. Heuisler says the day earlier than a marathon is definitely his favourite day of coaching. “Ideally I’ll simply kick my ft up and carbo load, watch some Netflix, some sports activities, and stretch and therapeutic massage my legs in order that I get up feeling fairly contemporary,” he says.

However if you happen to’re most trying ahead to exploring a brand new place, being caught in your lodge room for a day or two till the race can really feel tremendous irritating. Heuisler’s recommendation? Exit and see some sights, simply take it straightforward. “For those who’re hydrating, you’re caring for your self, I’d encourage you to not overthink it,” he says. “Take the elevator, take the escalator and don’t really feel dangerous about it.”

You possibly can nonetheless be a vacationer with out overly-taxing your legs: Take a bus or boat tour, or go see a present or a sports activities sport (with seats). In London, I spent the afternoon earlier than the marathon benefiting from The Westin London Metropolis’s spa, stress-free between the jacuzzi, the sauna, and the steam room—positively one thing I can’t do at residence, which made it really feel like a strong trip exercise.

4. Management the controllable

Each in racing and in journey, there’s so much that’s out of your palms. “It’s very easy for runners to be like, Oh my god, did you see the climate report?” says Heuisler. However irrespective of what number of occasions you examine the app, you’ll be able to’t change what it says. What you can do is be ready, and pack all the pieces for every climate situation predicted.

In the identical vein, you’ll be able to’t keep away from visitors or journey delays, however you may give your self sufficient time to get to the race so that you simply don’t have any nervousness. Among the best items of recommendation Heuisler gave me was, “Don’t get your coronary heart charge up earlier than the race.” Journey mishaps occur, so do what you should arrive at your vacation spot and the race itself with out stressing out your thoughts or physique.

5. Chat up some native runners

The night time after we landed in London, we went to a gap get together for the brand new Tracksmith retailer. A pair mates from residence in Boston (the place the model relies) had been there, however the perfect half was speaking with among the London-based runners.

Attending to know locals is all the time among the finest elements of touring, and after they’re runners—one among our sort!—it’s much more enjoyable. We obtained some insights in regards to the London run tradition, and insider tips about the marathon course that may by no means be posted on a race web site, like the place to count on the crowds to skinny out, and the perfect locations for my husband to observe. One other native I met the subsequent day at a shakeout run gave some top-notch neighborhood pub suggestions.

6. Err on the aspect of overpacking—however keep away from checking a bag

If the climate forecast has been flip-flopping, do your self a favor and pack for all eventualities. I had three doable tops to put on in London. “Simply do not forget that if you happen to’re overpacking for a marathon, it means you most likely can’t purchase a lot,” says Heuisler. That’s—except you’re additionally packing throwaways simply to maintain you heat in your approach to the beginning line.

Heuisler begins his packing with what he wants for the race. “So I can’t overlook something that I want for race day, it doesn’t matter what,” he says. Subsequent, he’ll suppose via what he wants for the day earlier than the race (primarily, comfortable sweats and socks). “After which after that, if I forgot anything, I’ll stay with it,” he says.

Personally, as a minimalist packer, I really like something that does double responsibility, like my Cep tall compression socks I can put on on the aircraft and after the race, or my Spibelt that I can stash my telephone in whereas working and whereas touring the sights so I don’t should lug round a handbag. I additionally swear by merino wool tops so my suitcase doesn’t get smelly (since merino is of course odor-resistant). For London, I put each a tee from Unbound Merino and my favourite long-sleeve, the Brighton base layer from Tracksmith, in my backpack since each can work for working and simply hanging out.

This two-for-one technique helps me maintain issues mild sufficient that I solely want a carry-on. For those who do examine a bag, simply make sure you maintain any race necessities (like your sneakers!) on the airplane with you simply in case baggage will get misplaced.

Cep Allday Merino Tall Compression Socks — $45.00

These compression socks assist my legs really feel more energizing sooner—whether or not after a multi-hour aircraft flight or a multi-hour marathon.

Spibelt — $27.00

Since this working belt takes up so little room in a suitcase, even when I don’t find yourself utilizing it, I’m not mad about packing it.

Unbound Merino T-Shirt — $85.00

Versatile sufficient to put on beneath a blazer for dinner out or throw on for a cushty run, this straightforward black tee has develop into a go-to journey companion.

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer — $88.00

My Brighton Base Layer just about all the time comes with me (except I’m heading someplace tremendous scorching). It’s equally mushy and durable, heat and breathable.

7. You probably have a choosy abdomen, pack acquainted meals

Runners might be explicit about what they eat main as much as a race. For years, the one breakfast I might have earlier than a giant race was a bagel and peanut butter, which I’ve carted with me to Istanbul and Havana. I’ve since grown a bit extra versatile, however I nonetheless be certain my backpack has loads of stomach-friendly snacks I can depend on, particularly if I’m undecided what choices I’m going to have the ability to discover at my vacation spot.

For London, I stocked up on Honey Stinger Oat + Honey bars, which I discover straightforward on the GI tract, with a strong dose of carbs to gasoline my miles, and simply sufficient protein to fill me up with out weighing me down. I snacked on one per day earlier than the race, and likewise introduced one to the beginning line together with a banana I’d grabbed from The Westin, which palms out snack packs on marathon day for each runners and supporters.

Honey Stinger Oat + Honey Bars (12 pack) — $33.00

I snack on each the unique and the chocolate chocolate chip flavors, relying on my temper. Both sits properly in my abdomen earlier than a tough run.

8. Spend the day after on energetic restoration

After you’ve run your race, among the finest methods to assist your physique get well the subsequent day is by going for a stroll, and doing a few of that sightseeing you might need been pushing aside.

It’s additionally price treating your self. “Scheduling a therapeutic massage is among the greatest rewards you may give your self,” says Heuisler. “And I do know it may be costly and I do know it’s premium, however keep in mind you simply spent most likely 12 to 16 weeks making ready for a 26.2 mile race.”

This race was the primary time I obtained a post-race therapeutic massage, and now I would like it to be a part of my marathon routine after each race. (Having the therapeutic massage proper inside The Westin London Metropolis’s spa was particularly luxurious since afterwards, I simply caught on slippers and hopped within the elevator proper as much as my room.)

On the very least, I plan to remain on high of my post-race self-care. The Westin’s “Gear Lending” kits embody, amongst different issues, a yoga mat and a Hypervolt Go 2 therapeutic massage gun. Having these proper in my lodge room obtained me to softly stretch out and therapeutic massage my super-sore quads so my physique didn’t completely stiffen up just like the Tin Man.

9. Skip your runs for the remainder of the week

As a runner, one among my favourite methods to see a brand new place is by working via it. I used to be even a working tour information for a number of years as a result of I feel it’s such an effective way to journey! However after an extended race like a marathon, give your physique the break it must get well.

“I feel lots of people return out too quickly. And I actually, actually warning towards that,” says Heuisler. Spend the remainder of your journey on different methods to benefit from the vacation spot—you’ll be able to nonetheless stroll or hike, bike or kayak. Or take cabs in all places. You do you. Particularly after a giant race, you deserve it.