Industry-leading endurance sports and nutrition coach Marni Sumbal provides four great tips on traveling internationally for triathlon races. Give Marni a follow on Instagram to get more great training/racing tips!
- Plan Ahead - Although you can't control everything, you can reduce anxiety/stress by being prepared. Create an itinerary detailing what may/will happen between travel and race day to keep you organized. Don't wait until the last minute to discover you missed a deadline or didn't confirm a registration. Well before travel, research the best places to eat, park, train, sleep, etc. so that you know your race location as if it were your hometown. If something disrupts your plan, this doesn't mean you are doomed to have a bad race. Remind yourself that traveling is knowing things will not always go as planned. Be kind to others, bring a positive and calm attitude, and always have a plan B.
- Trimarni travel tip: Always review the airline policy and fees for your bike bag. Every airline is different and some require you to make a reservation at least 72 hours before the flight. Confirm the amenities where you are staying, such as AC, washer/dryer, WiFi, kitchen appliances, etc. Make your passport isn't about to expire. Research the currency, language, cuisine, customs and driving laws for your international race location. If you have dietary requests for airline meals, reserve in advance.
- You Do You - Every athlete has a personal definition of what it means to feel race ready in the days leading up to an event. For some, it may mean staying busy and surrounding yourself with friends, teammates, and family. Whereas for others, it may mean isolating yourself away from people (or away from the race venue) and relaxing so you can stay calm in in your zone. Recognize what works best for you and then communicate this with your travel companions. Consider what helps you perform at your best. Take into account your needs when planning travel because you are the one who matters most on race day.
- Trimarni travel tip: International travel may require more time to get from point A to B and to find safe places to train. The language barrier may make it difficult to find food that works for your body. It's also easy to get excited by the race expo and sights, keeping you on your feet and outside longer than planned. Be sure to schedule down time for yourself. The last thing you want i to arrive to the race exhausted, sick, underfueled and stressed.
- Invest for the Best - To deliver your best on race day, consider investing a little extra on your travel. With a smart budget (and planning in advance), you can feel more relaxed at your race venue (and on race day). Instead of trying to save money (or feeling stressed) during your most important race of the year, save money throughout the year so that you can spoil yourself during your race-cation. Resist the urge to spend money on gear, equipment, and experiences that will not directly impact your race. Have trust in your plan and preparation.
- Trimarni travel tip: Consider hire a cleaning/yard service before you leave so that you don't feel overwhelmed with pre-travel to-do's. Opt for paying for the aisle seat or the extra leg room seat. Use the massage chair at the airport. Use your credit card/airline points to upgrade to business/first class. Select lodging close to the race venue, even if it means spending a little extra.
- Do Your Research - Regardless of where you race (in another state or in another country), you need to do a lot of research. Certainly, you will learn something new every time you travel but it's important to get familiar with your race venue. Keep up with your race website/emails for any last minute changes and ask for suggestions from others who have traveled to your upcoming race venue. Review course maps, race day itinerary/schedules, packet pick-up information, learn the transition area layout, read forums to better understand logistics/timing of the race week to-do's, review parking and look up things for your family to do on race day (or whether they can see you on the race course).
- Trimarni travel tip: Bring what you need, and a little more/extra. Consider anything and everything that could get lost or broken. Bring your must-have race gear with you on the airplane (also gear that you can use for workouts in case your bike/luggage doesn't arrive with you). Don't forget to pack medications and chargers. Don't let the predicted bad weather freak you out. Focus on what you can control.
If you enjoyed these travel trips from Marni, please consider sharing with your friends and teammates. Check back here each week for additional best practices and tips o' the trade.