Tips for Planning Your Best Race-Cation
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Tips for Planning Your Best Race-Cation

Ok #262squad - We are getting REAAAAALLY close to race day!

Now that I’ve started to get all my gear in line for race day, I’m also getting all my plans in place for traveling to Honolulu. If there’s anything the gear convo with BibRave Co-Founder Tim has taught me, it’s that figuring everything out in advance is critical to avoid stressing out on race week. So, I asked my other BibRave friends for some extra tips on how to optimize my trip to have a great race. Yes, even vacations need to be optimized! Here are some of the nuggets they forwarded that I’ll be getting sorted... STAT.

Research the start/finish of the race, and coordinate lodging accordingly

A lot of marathons have very complicated transportation logistics TO the start or FROM the finish, so it’s critical to become familiar with these details when considering where to stay. If the course isn’t looped, you’ll want to consider whether it’s easier and more desirable to stay near the start or near the finish (a la Boston Marathon, which finishes right in the heart of downtown near many hotels). Thankfully, while Honolulu isn’t a fully looped course, the start and finish are only about 2 miles apart. In between is the main drag of Waikiki hotels - so we’ll be staying on the beach just 1 mile away from the Start and Finish.

I’ve also learned from my Coach Chris Heuisler - the RunWestin Concierge - that some hotels offer runner perks and services on race weekend. This can range from breakfast offerings on race day, suggested running routes, running gear lending, and more. Thankfully, our hotel is a Westin property so we’ll be able to fully take advantage!

Manage your schedule and feet time

Vacations can often be about activities and exploring, but that’s not ideal pre-race. Save any extensive exploring on-foot for post-race, also knowing that you’ll be moving slowly 🐌. Don’t forget; you’ll be getting a 26.2-mile tour of the city during the marathon!

If you want to do a separate city tour, consider a bus tour, which will keep you off your feet but still move you around to different points of interest. Another great tip is to hit the expo two days before the race if possible, so you’re not spending a ton of time walking around and exploring the day before the race. Thankfully for me, many of my pre and post-race activities will involve the beach and a beach towel. But, I do want to get on a paddleboard at some point, and will probably save that for after!

Plan your meals, food is important

As with all trips, finding great places to dine can be an essential part of exploring a new city. I’ve heard - and experienced while working race weekends - that reservations can be challenging to secure when there are thousands (or tens of thousands) of runners all looking to have a good meal before race day. Research a great local spot, make sure transportation to and from the restaurant does not require a ton of travel time (aka stress and/or walking), and book your reservation in advance. Especially if you’re traveling with a group bigger than 2-4 people, no reservations = waiting for a table and delaying your meal and bedtime!

Pack the essentials, and plan for scenarios

So, have I mentioned I’m running my very first marathon ever?!?! The packing part definitely seems daunting. How will I make sure I have everything I need? Team BibRave told me to do a few final “dress rehearsals” with my race day gear, and then make a list so I can check each item off once it’s packed - everything from my apparel, shoes, hat, sunglasses, watch, nutrition, belt for my phone, body glide, etc., etc...the list is long! I was also told to bring a few “back-up” options in case of unexpected weather changes. In Hawaii, it’s unlikely to take a cold turn, but rain is certainly a possibility, so it can’t hurt to have options.

Throwaway clothes were another part I was unfamiliar with since I’ve only run races in the Summer and early Fall. Again, it shouldn’t be a huge issue in Hawaii, but for those running cooler Fall/Winter races, Team BibRave suggests bringing throwaway clothes so you can stay warm while you’re standing in the corrals waiting to start.

Finally, this tip made me 😲. Bring all race day gear in a carry-on in case your checked luggage gets lost! I would NOT have planned for that, and I love bringing ALL the things in a large suitcase. Said suitcase is still coming with me, but I’ll now be packing another carry-on for my race stuff and guarding it with my life.

I’m so grateful to be getting the full marathon and race-cation 101 throughout this process. Traveling and running my first marathon, while keeping myself motivated, does present some additional coordination and planning. I’m slowly getting my plan entirely in place so I can arrive in Honolulu ready to crush this 26.2, and hopefully feel calm (as possible) about race day!