“Runcation tips” are travel tips for when you take a running vacation. A runcation could be for a destination race, a weekend getaway revolved around running, or to one of those running retreats that different companies or elites host for use mere mortals.
I’m currently on a runcation in Tokyo for the Tokyo Marathon. I’ve had a great time so far and am thoroughly enjoying the culture. However for this trip, I made sure to do some pre-planning that has definitely made the trip more enjoyable. These are my top 3 runcation tips, that I use when I travel abroad or domestically (like New York or Boston) for races.
1. Bring your foods or research where to find them
It’s a well-known mantra in the running world “don’t try anything new on race day.” Dealing with food in a different country did have me worried. What if i couldn’t find vegan food in Tokyo? What if I ate something the days before the marathon that made me sick? What if I didn’t have any pre-race nutrition?
I corresponded with the AirBnB host and looked through blogs and Yelp to determine if and where I could find vegan food in Tokyo. Turns out it was surprisingly easy! However, I also knew I would be traveling with 4 other people who would probably not want to eat vegan all the time. They knew that the day before the race would be important, but what about the days after?
Therefore, my first runcation tip is to bring any foods or snacks with you that you’ll need to feel confident about your race.
Checking a bag for the Tokyo Marathon enabled me to bring some of my favorite vegan snacks. I packed some oatmeal, peanut butter and black tea for my pre-race meal, trailmix and dried edamame for when we were out and about, and a few packets of protein powder just in case I felt like I needed it. Having those breakfasts and snacks on hand put me at ease; lowering my mental stress and getting rid of those “what ifs” enabled me to just focus on running and enjoying the trip.
2. Pack a foam roller
The point of a runcation is to get away from your usual routes and explore a new place. However, the travel required to get there can leave your muscles cramped and feeling lethargic. Runcation tip number two is to bring a foam roller. After a 13 hour plane, two-hour train and 20 minute walk, my legs needed some TLC. I packed my R8 (aka Mr. Clampy) so I could roll out immediately when getting to the apartment. And then promptly passed out.
3. Pack “just in case” outfits
When I went to Utah, I made the mistake of not bringing a “what if it’s rainy” outfit. As a result, I had a heartbreaking DNF.
Lesson learned: bring a few options for your race outfit. This is where checking a bag also helps. I had plenty of extra space for my standard race outfit, a cold weather option, a rain option, and a wind option. There would be no weather-related DNF this time!
I have many more runcation tips, but what are some of yours?
Ultra marathon training week 5 recap
Monday – 8 EZ
Typical steady paced easy morning run. It was nice enough to bike to work too! Total: 8.05 miles run, 3.5 miles bike
Tuesday- Speed. Dress rehearsal run.
1 mile warmup and then 4 at a tempo pace. I ran up to the Wilson Track to meet NP folk. Definitely ran it too fast; I got sucked into some magic track miles plus the “I’m feeling antsy” taper trap. Total: 6.25 miles
Wednesday- 5 EZ
Last minute easy run before heading to the airport. I went out early enough so I’d have time for a last minute ice bath and shower at the Edge. Slapped on some compression socks and headed to the airport! Total: 5.56 miles
Thursday- travel day, no running
This day basically vanished for us. We left Wednesday morning at 10:45am and landed in Tokyo at 3:15pm Thursday. Even though it was a direct flight. Took this day off as just a travel day.
Friday – EZ 3
After a long day on the plane and a zombie like walk to our AirBnB, Jon, Katie and I explored the city at an easy jog. I was so happy to shakeout my legs, even though all the parks we tried to run through were still closed. Total: 4 miles
Saturday – Shakeout run: 2 miles
Discovered a cute bike path that I’ll be doing some slow recovery runs on later on the trip. Total: 2.15 miles
Sunday- Tokyo Marathon
I will post my full recap later, but overall I enjoyed up through kilometer 33. Took some pictures, had some laughs, accidentally drank some Pocari Sweat and felt nauseous, and ultimately crossed the finish line in 3:27:14. With all the weaving I did, my GPS ended up saying 26.77 miles, yikes!
Total mileage: 52.21