I grew up in a running family. Weekends were spent loading up the station wagon and driving to a race or to run in the desert, mountains or beaches of California. Now as an adult I spend the majority of the year traveling or on the road, and running is almost always a constant part, if not the entire point of each trip. While I often take for granted that traveling for a race or running adventure “isn’t that different” from any other trip, I have developed a few hacks that are most certainly geared towards running. And since, secrets don’t make friends I am excited to share them with my fellow trail sisters!
1.Laundry: On the rare occasion that I travel without any plans to run I don’t even think about the issue of dirty clothes. That’s because the jeans you wear more than once have nothing on the stink factor of running shorts, sports bras and socks multiplied by several days (not to mention the extra layers if its winter). I always travel with trash bags to stash dirty clothes and keep them separate from the clean ones. Put your dirty running shoes in a trash bag too. To avoid over packing I have gotten to the point where I’ll wear my running outfits at least twice if they are not soaked or too stinky. I also carry Green Goo castile soap with me and wash my clothes in the sink leaving them to hang dry in the bathroom or even interior of my car.
2. Lady stuff: On long road trips or multi-day running adventures timing can be frustrating if it lines up with that time of the month. Rather than let it disrupt my plans I carry an arsenal of items to ensure that I have my game face on for these occasions: baby wipes, extra toilet paper, feminine hygiene items (the pocket sized sport tampons are awesome), ibuprofen or Midol, zip lock plastic bags. On multi-day running adventures I will just pack my trash out in doubled up zip lock bags.
3. Safety: Always have a game plan and always tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to be back. Don’t only rely on cell service for navigation (get comfortable reading topo maps and road atlas’). Have your car serviced before major trips. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason don’t just stay there—keep your wits about you and keep moving! Traveling solo does not need to be scary or intimidating but it is always important to stay alert and practice basic safety precautions.
4. Snacks: At some point the convenience food options just will not cut it or won’t be available. I always keep the following handy for the strike of inevitable post-run hunger: beef jerky, fruit, nut butter packets, water, electrolyte mix. I once relied on caffeinated Gu to keep me awake on a late night drive when there were no gas stations or coffee shops open for hundreds of miles—worked like a charm. If you are prepped with fuel for running you are most certainly ready for a big drive or day of travel.
5. A spirit of adventure: Inevitably there will be bumps along the way both on the trail (planned obviously) and during travel. While keeping my wits about me I like to roll with any unforeseen events as part of the “fun” that is traveling, versus sitting at home doing the same old shit. At times this has meant bivvying in the back of my Jeep for 12 hours to wait out a storm, eating chocolate bars for dinner (no complaints) and running in jeans. Learning to be flexible will ultimately make your trip more enjoyable no matter what the scenario and you’ll certainly have a better story for it.
Do you have travel hacks you want to share? Post your favorite tips in the comment section for the TS community to use and enjoy.