6/17/14

Going International! Travel tips for athletes


I sure do love my triathlon lifestyle but it's not an easy process to pack for a 3-sport race!



Karel and I love to travel and we love to race so it is a wonderful opportunity when we can combine two things that we love in one trip. 


We are just a few days away from embarking on one incredible journey! Not only do we get to use our body to cover 140.6 miles but we get to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles on June 29th in Austria!

 This is our first international race and my second trip to Europe so I am sure we will learn a lot during this journey but I am excited for all that we will experience during our race-cation. 

I will be sharing lots of pics and posts via social media so be sure to stay up-to-date with our travels (including a trip to Karel's hometown in Znojmo, Czech Republic): 

Facebook: Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition
Twitter: Trimarnicoach
Instagram: Trimarni

Traveling to another country is not easy so as you can imagine, an athlete traveling with swim, bike and run gear can be a very overwhelming experience. 
And in our case, we get to double everything for I will be racing my 8th Ironman with Karel on the same course, racing in his 2nd Ironman. 

Although there are dozens and dozens of tips that I can provide, here a few of the tips that have been on my mind lately for traveling to another country for a race. 

TRAVEL


-Review all airline policies for your bags and bike (if not using Tri Bike Transport which is a great service!) and print out everything. Arrive to the airport with extra time (at least an hour) for any extra delays. 

-Traveling with your bike is not cheap or easy so be sure you educate yourself on how to best travel with your bike to your final destination. 

-Consider how you will get to your final destination from the airport with your bike, bags and yourself and others. Rental car, bus, van, etc. 

-Always confirm all reservations and arrangements the week before your travel to make sure there are no mistakes made in your travel itinerary. 

-Consider costs vs simplicity. Many times it costs a bit more for an easier travel experience. Do not expect stress free but many times you can plan for a smooth trip by paying for convenience. 

-Review your lodging arrangements. Can you get everything you need for nutrition, gear, etc. by your lodging or do you need to bring/pick up items? Can you eat healthy while dining out or do you have to be creative in your hotel room?

-Always allow extra time. If you think you only need 3 days to get yourself adjusted to a new time zone, give yourself 4. I also recommend to enjoy your race-cation after the race and give yourself a few days to explore with your well deserved finisher medal and t-shirt. 

-Consider races which are family/friends-friendly. Having a team travel with you can be a very enjoyable experience and many times, an athlete needs extra help (ex. driving around/dropping off, cooking food, running errands, etc.) in an unfamiliar environment. It's a great trade-off to have a team with you to help you out and you cover some of their travel expenses. 

-If you are traveling with people/kids who have dietary/health issues, be sure to be prepared with notifications for airlines, lodging, etc. Be prepared for issues before they happen. Be sure you have all medications with you. 

-Notify your bank (credit card) before you travel so that the 'foreign' charges do not cause your credit card to be frozen. Also, be sure to have a written paper of all emergency numbers that you carry with you as well as to give to someone at your home. 

-Make a list of what you need to bring with you that can not be found at your final destination (ex. nutrition, gear, etc.) and what you can purchase at your final destination. Be mindful of the country you are visiting and be respectful of a different culture if applicable. Never assume anything when you travel. Always be prepared. 

-Don't forget your phone, Go Pro and camera!

GEAR


-Don't forget chargers and gadgets and be prepared for different power plugs and sockets. 

-Pack your transition bags (swim, bike, run gear) in plastic/grocery bags before you leave to make sure you have everything. Here's my Ironman packing video.

-Bring your must-have race items with you on the plane (especially if you use Tri bike transport) or in your bike box for comfort measures, instead of your suitcase. 

-Pack sport nutrition in your suitcase if you are unable to purchase the same fuel overseas. 

-Consider items that you can get/use at your final destination -  bike pump, bottles, CO2, suncreen, shampoo/conditioner, etc. For your favorite gear items, it's recommended to have extras of goggles, socks/compression socks, race outfit, etc. in case anything happens to your gear while traveling or at your final destination. 

NUTRITION

-Stay hydrated during your travels, with water and electrolytes (Ex. Hammer FIZZ, NUUN, OSMO). 

-Bring snacks with you during travel as well as bars for emergency/snack situations. 

-Research the common cuisine at your final destination. Will it be easier for you to control your food intake by preparing all of your own meals/snacks or will it be easier for you to eat out?

-Be mindful of food and drinking safety while traveling. Consider how food is prepared when you are eating out in a new country as well as any hidden ingredients that may not be well-tolerated in your nervous/traveling belly. Explore a new cuisine post race whenever possible.
Consider the water safety at your final destination and plan to have bottled water with you at all times (if needed).

-Eat mini meals every 2 hours to adjust to a new time zone. Do not overdo it on caffeine to stay awake during traveling. When you arrive to your final destination and if before evening, try to stay awake until the evening so that you can get a good night of sleep (10+ hours) and quickly adjust to a new time zone. Be aware that everyone adjusts differently. 

-Try to follow a similar eating pattern to your regular routine in your home environment. The body loves routine. 

-Be firm on your dietary needs and requirements and be confident with your food selections. If a food/meal concerns you, do not eat it. I am all for enjoying a new culture but not at the expense of a body that is not well-fueled or sick on race day. 

MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME


-Bring your recovery routine to the new country. Foam rollers, trigger point therapy sets, compression socks (a must for travel!), epson salt, etc. anything that you like to use on a daily basis, bring it with you. 

-Trust your training and your race plan. Even though you are in a new environment, your body is race ready. 

-Get good sleep. It may be tempting to wake up early and get your pre-race workout complete but sleep is a top priority. 

-Review all course maps, your race week schedule and any other race detail that will bring you a more enjoyable and controlled race experience. Review the weather to be prepared and always be prepared for the unexpected. 

-Search out safe training environments or train with others so that you do not compromise your health/safety before your race. 

-Be sure to thank your team, even if they are not with you in your final destination. Facetime/Skype, call, email - be sure to communicate with those who support you and believe in you. 

-Thank your body. You are not able to do what you love to do without your body. Even if things don't seem to go as planned, keep in mind that your body is incredible that it gets to take you to another country and to race in another country. 

-Have fun! 
Remember why you trained for this race and why you love what you get to do. Life is all about experiences and making memories. Don't wait for the perfect time to do something. A healthy body is designed to move and explore - get your passport ready for it's time for your next race-cation!









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