Training for Destination Races

Do you have a destination race on the calendar for later this year? Thinking about signing up for a 2016 destination marathon? If so, you'll need to prepare differently than if you were training for a race near home.

Destination races mean unforgettable scenery and a lifetime experience, but they can also mean dealing with time zone changes, achy travel legs and drastically different race conditions. Here's how you'll need to train for a destination race day.

For Heat or Humidity

Simulate climate conditions.
If you're lucky enough to live in a city where temperatures don't top out in the 100s, but you're aiming for a race that's predicted to be a scorcher, you'll want to train hot. Once or twice a week, complete a workout on a treadmill and adjust the thermostat to simulate a warmer temperature.

Train with extra layers.
A few times a week, wear an extra layer or two on your outdoor run. Your body will get a feel for running in the heat, and since your body will be working harder to sweat, you'll train yourself to adapt to humid conditions. Pushing yourself through the uncomfortable heat of the extra layers will mean less of a shock on race day.

Change your expectations.
With the humidity and heat, you can expect that your mile splits will be slower than what you're used to. Don't beat yourself up if you don't nail your PR—or even your normal time—at this destination race.

Pay attention to nutrition.
Leading up to the destination race, be sure to stay hydrated and snack on salty foods, such as nuts or air-popped popcorn, to prepare your body for excessive sweating on race day.

More: 9 Possible Reasons Why You're Sweating So Much

For Cold

Simulate suffering.
Looking at a race that will be frigid? Most of your training will probably be done in the warmer months, but as race day nears, take advantage of the dropping temperatures to log your workouts. Resist the urge to skip workouts because it's too windy, cold or rainy. You'll want to train your body to adapt to the temperature change.

Practice running with extra layers.
Come race day, you'll be racing with gloves, hats and even jackets, if the temperature is really frigid. Try out different styles and fabrics during training to figure out what feels most comfortable. Make notes of the temperature during workout days and what you wore to give you a good idea of what (and how many layers) you'll need to wear on race day.

Change your expectations.
Just as a hot or humid race, you'll want to modify your expectations for a cold race. A windy day will mean you'll be working extra hard on the course and thus, might have a slower finish time.


For All Races

Research, research, research.
Know what to expect in terms of the race course, number of participants, expected weather, transportation and general race day logistics. Since you might not be familiar with the area, you should be as prepared as possible to show up and run.

Plan Your Down Time.
After the race, it's time to relax. It's always nice to schedule some time to explore the area off the run course. Don't plan to sightsee or do too many tourist things before race day.

More: Taking a Break from Running May Do You Some Good

Travel Planning Tips

Arrive three to four days before race day.
A long travel day can wreak havoc on the body and throw off your sleep and even digestive routine. You'll want time to adjust to the time zone and climate. The extra days will give you the rest you need to hit the starting line refreshed.

Slip on compression socks.
Long travel days could lead to decreased circulation in your legs, which could lead to sluggishness. Compression socks will help increase blood flow during travel.

Stay healthy.
Traveling can mean exposure to different sicknesses, so remember to take antibacterial hand gel and any other immune-boosting chews and drinks you're used to. Also, stay hydrated to prevent fatigue during travel.

Plan your snacks.
Traveling can mean facing foreign foods or rich restaurant fare. Stay balanced by packing energy bars and snacks you're used to eating. Save the exotic food tasting for post-race.

More: What to Eat Before a Run

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About the Author

Amanda Casanova

Amanda Casanova is a writer and journalist living in the Dallas, Texas area. She has worked for the Houston Chronicle, the Abilene Reporter-News and the Galveston County Daily News. She is an active runner and regularly competes in races in north Texas. She is currently training for her first half marathon. She blogs at and tweets at @acasanova10.

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