Participating in a Marathon or Triathlon is not just about the event itself. It’s also about the day’s pre and post event. Try to arrive at least two days before the race so you can adjust to the time difference and recuperate from your flight. And leave a few days after the race so you can enjoy eating the local food and seeing some of the sights. Remember you have earned the time off!
Eating and Drinking
There will probably be wonderful dining and drinking opportunities at the host city of your race, however the time for experimentation is not until the race is over. Stick to your normal eating habits, and bring items from home that you think you might need. Make sure you drink bottled water too.
Season and climate
If your race is going to take place in a climate quite different from where you train, you will need to emulate those conditions before you go. Try to train in a simulated environment. For example if you are going to be running in Africa and you live in a winter climate, consider running in a sauna or wearing a lot of clothes while you pound the pavements.
If you don’t have the adequate fitness to complete these events you shouldn’t even be on the race line. While it could be possibly to “wing it” and finish a marathon or triathlon with little or no training there is potential for health risks more severe than a few tired muscles. During your training and preparation you should have completed the distance required in the marathon / triathlon already. Not only does this give you peace of mind that you’ll make it, but it also prepares the body for the rigours involved and aid in a faster recovery afterwards.
To ensure you arrive the most rested and ready to race on arrival, use your travel time wisely. Request an aisle seat so you can stretch out a little more and can get up and down more easily to stretch your legs on the plane. If you’re on a bus take an inflatable pillow to get a better sleep/nap. If you are flying take your running gear in your carry-on luggage, so if there is a baggage handling error you will still have shoes to start the race. Drink plenty of water during flights to prevent dehydration.
Registration and fees
Complete your registration well in advance of the event and you may score a cheaper early bird entry. Sometimes registration is limited to a certain time frame and in some cases limits the number of competitors. You may also need to submit times from previous races to qualify.
Many athletes travel to different destinations because they enjoy the opportunity to meet others who share a common interest and they generally find plenty of companionship along the way. While others get running or triathlete friends together or bring their family for support and enjoy a vacation afterwards.