One of the great things about running is that it takes you to so many amazing places. Traveling to a race can be great fun, but it can also be tiring and stressful if you’re not prepared. Traveling with kids doubles the opportunity for fun but also raises the stakes when it comes to frustration.
Since the whole point of a runcation is to enjoy the journey, here are some tips for a fun trip.
Both kids and runners alike are known to be happiest while enjoying a steady stream of snacks. Unfortunately, good quality food can be hard to find when you’re on the road, so plan to bring plenty of your own. In addition to the usual favorites like fruit, trail mix and pretzels, we always bring a few bars along too, so that we have something substantial to tide us over if meals get delayed. Don’t forget the post-race snacks too, we’ve found that chocolate has miraculous recovery properties!
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Sure, you want to be prepared, but don’t let packing drive you crazy. Worrying takes energy and you should be saving that for your race. If stress gets the better of you, consider giving yourself a little pep talk. Surely you have packed for many trips before and never forgotten that one super-duper important thing you are worried you will forget. (Or, maybe you did? Well, then you definitely won’t make that mistake again!) The point is, be kind to yourself and remember that everything will work out okay.
Rent a House
For so many reasons, using HomeAway to find a rental for your race is infinitely better than staying in a hotel. Perhaps most importantly, having access to a kitchen means you will have much more control over when and where you eat, which is a lot better than searching for a decent restaurant and hoping the food agrees with you. Staying in a house also gives you a much better perspective on your destination, allowing you to experience it more like a local than a tourist. Oh, it’s also a lot of fun! Piling family and friends into one big rental, with everyonesharing meals and stories, beats “meet you in the lobby at 7” every time.
When you’re new to running and traveling to races, everything seems pretty overwhelming. After a while, though, you realize that the packing for most of these trips is pretty similar. Indeed, I could probably pack my go-to race supplies in about 10 minutes if I really had to. Keeping a list of the essentials handy will make this process even faster, and you won’t have that nagging feeling that something might be missing. If you’re traveling with kids, you can work with them to write their own packing lists, which is a great way to get them thinking about the trip.
Wherever your journey takes you, make sure that you allow yourself to really be there. Like I said, the point of a runcation is to have fun, and it’s pretty hard to have fun if you are worrying about things you have to do back at home. Chances are, since you took all the time and effort to travel somewhere, you were craving a break from your daily routine. Recognize that you are the only one who can truly give yourself that break and consider it your duty to relax! Whatever is waiting for you at home will keep waiting whether you worry or not. The same cannot be said of your runcation destination, which you may only have a short time to enjoy. Make the most of your time there, you deserve it!
If that all still sounds too complicated, remember that all you really have do is get yourself to the start line, race hard, and then celebrate the finish—runcation success!
Ready to take your own runcation with HomeAway? Enter for a chance to win a stay on a five-acre farm-house vacation rental with a private pool, plus two VIP entries to the 2017 Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon. Enter for a chance to win!
Monica DeVreese is a life-long runner, mother of 2 boys and co-founder of the running apparel company rabbit. Starting as a miler in high school, Monica has competed in nearly every type of running race and is currently focused on trail ultras.