Who wouldn’t want to run along the shore of a tropical island, climb the Great Wall of China or race through the heart of London? I know these race destinations are on my bucket list.
Right now, destination races are very popular among the running community. Many races are so popular you can’t simply sign up to run them; you have to enter a lottery and wait to see if you are one of the chosen ones.
So what makes destination races so popular and why should you sign up for one?
Destination races provide an event that you can train for and a new place you can look forward to visiting.
I am most committed to train hard for a race when I travel to run in it. Something about booking a hotel and flying to a new place makes me push myself extra hard in training. Since I am basically planning a long weekend or vacation around a race, I want to be well prepared and crush my race goal time.
I’ve compiled a list of the perks of running a destination race and why you should make your next race in a new city:
- Motivation: You have a goal race that allows you to set up a strong training schedule. Book your destination race at least three months before race day and you can use the race as a motivator to train.
- Sightseeing: When you travel to a new city, you get to see the city in a whole new way through running. How often do you normally walk or run 13.1 or 26.2 miles through a city on vacation? Let’s be honest, it just doesn’t happen if a race isn’t scheduled.
- Escape the hot summer or cold winter: Book a race on a tropical island during winter and you’ll have something to motivate you to train during those cold winter months.
- Food can be enjoyed: You heard me right. You have been training for a race and burning calories like they are going out of style. You have earned the right to eat a delicious dinner and dessert (or two desserts!) with no guilt — especially post race. Eat the cake and the cookie. Go ahead, you earned it!
- Friends: Recruit your running buddies to join you and you can turn a race weekend into an awesome girls weekend or romantic weekend with your significant other. Honestly, my favorite races have been when I traveled and spent the entire weekend with the ladies! Girls just know how to have fun.
- Social Media: You can post your fun adventures all over social media and show your non-running friends just how fun running can be. You might even convince them to join you next time.
- Recharge your running legs and mental game: If you are feeling unmotivated to train or run, the idea of running in a new place can reignite the running fire.
There are a few negatives to running a destination race, but you can easily turn these into positives:
- Destination races can be expensive: Overcome this obstacle by combining expenses with friends. Share hotel costs, buy groceries and make your own meals.
- You might forget an important clothing item or your running shoes at home or your luggage might get lost: This actually happened to me once, so come prepared! Pack your race day gear in a carry-on, that way no matter what happens, you are always race-ready.
- You injure yourself during training and can’t participate in the race:Let’s face it, injuries happen. I understand your disappointment, but you can still go on the trip, enjoy the vacation and cheer on runners on race day. Become a volunteer for the event and give back to the racing community. This can often be even more rewarding than actually running.
It should also be noted that destination races don’t have to be in another country — they can be a few hours from your home, just far enough away that you can make them into a mini vacation!
A few of my favorite local destination races are the Zooma Run Women’s 10k and Half Marathon in Napa Valley and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. Both races provide plenty of pre and post-race festivities and are ideal locations to enjoy with friends.
Traveling to a race always enriches the running experience for me. I learn about new cities, meet fellow runners from around the world and get a sense of accomplishment. It’s long been said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” however, in this case, it’s a little of both.
Want to run one of my favorite destination races? I’ve partnered with Zooma Run Napa Valley as an ambassador for their amazing race coming up on June 20th and would love to see you there. Fiterazzi readers can save 10% off their race registration with code: KAREN15.