Race Travel: How You AND Your Family Can Stay Sane

Hey friends!  Happy Tuesday and last day in February! To end our partnership theme month, today I want to talk about how to travel to a race with your family. Sounds simple at first right? You’re probably thinking, how can this be any different than a vacation? Well it is VERY different. Here are some tips to help you make the best out of race travel so that everyone leaves happy!

Pre-Race

Tip #1: Set expectations

Well before your big race, it is important to set expectations for the trip.  Is this a race you want to take seriously?  Is this just a bucket list race? Your fellow travelers need to know these things.  If you are taking the race seriously, your family needs to understand that the night before the race you need to be in bed early, time will need to be spent at the expo to pick up your race bib, you may need to eat a very specific diet leading up to the race, etc.  Your family is probably thinking this is no different than a vacation. Also explain what you need from them.  Do you want them to spectate the race? Do you need them to drive you to the start line? Do they need to have a large fountain soda waiting for you when you cross the finish line?  Ok, that last one is really one of mine 🙂 Luckily my boyfriend is gracious enough to make sure I have one after every race.  Thanks honey! He also knew it was important to me to take a picture of the Boston Marathon finish line prior to race day.  How amazing is this picture he took?!

FinishLine

Tip #2: Create a spectator map

If your family is spectating your race, it is critical that you create a spectator map so they will know exactly where to be, at what time, and when to expect to see you.  Your family likely has no clue what the course is or the race start. Make it easy on them by writing down all the details.  This past October my boyfriend and some friends were spectating the Marine Corps Marathon to see myself and another friend.  I made a cheat sheet of what time to be at the train stop to get to D.C., what metro line to hop on once in D.C. and the times, where to catch breakfast before the race, and what intersections to be at and what time.  I have to toot my own horn.  It took a LOT of work so I suggest doing this at least one week in advance. I also suggest checking the race website for spectator tips.

Post Race

Tip #3: Have a meeting point after you cross the finish line

If you are running a huge race with thousands of people, you need a meeting area. If you only listen to one of my tips, it needs to be this one.  The last thing you want to do after a race is walk (er, limp) around trying to find your family. Some races have a family meeting area.  Frankly I do not find this to be useful because usually they are too far from the finish and that is where everyone else is meeting.  I suggest picking a landmark near the finish such as a store or restaurant. I always have my phone on me as well, that way my boyfriend and I can touch base and find each other.

Tip #4: Celebrate WITH your family, not just your achievement

You may have endured some grueling miles, but your family has endured waking up super early on a Saturday, shuttling you around, transporting themselves through the race course, and being extra nice to you even though you were stressed and moody before the race. Be sure to thank them and treat them to dinner or an event. You want them to keep supporting you, don’t you? 😛

That’s it for now!  Share any tips or stories you have in the comments below.  Happy running!