We train arduously for race day, but often simple mistakes can derail months of work. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is travel fatigue. Since the most important races on my calendar are usually at least an ocean away, I’ve accumulated a number of tactics to ensure that I arrive ready to deliver on the fitness I’ve spent hours developing. Here are the top things I do to make sure that long travel doesn’t ruin my race.
1: When arriving at your place of departure, change your watch/phone time zone to that of your destination. That way, during travel, you’re more likely to sleep at the correct time and are one step ahead of jet lag.
2: Pack ear plugs and an eye mask in your carry on. These let you tune out the annoying single serving buddy who invariably pursues in-depth discussions of government cover-ups and intense conversations about the up-coming election
3: Download a bluelight filter to your smartphone to make falling asleep easier. The bluelight emitted from phones has been shown to be more disruptive to sleep patterns than a cup of coffee.
4: Wear compression socks before sitting for a long time. When I forget these, I end up with cankles and feel terrible when walking around at my destination. Make sure to wear long pants, too, because otherwise you’ll look like an idiot wearing those compression socks around.
5: When flying, request either an aisle or a window seat. An aisle helps if you want to walk around, a window seat helps if leaning your head against the side of the plane helps you sleep. The middle is great if you like not moving and doubling the odds of sitting next to aforementioned talkative chap.
1. Check out the layout of your connection layover airports. I flew to Cape Town this year with miserable connections which made the trip take 50 hours. However, we did discover that Dubai airport has a pretty sweet gym inside the terminal. I felt not too bad when I finally arrived to South Africa.
2: Walk around! If you have a long flight, make sure to stand up and walk around every hour or so. It’ll help you feel better when you land. These is easier if you have that aisle seat.
3: Drink! Water, preferably. It’s easy to get dehydrated on long flights because the recirculated air is dry. Make sure to pack a water bottle.
4: Sleep! Once you have your watch set to your destination’s time zone, try to sleep at the time you intend to upon arrival.
1: Get outside! If you arrive in the day, make sure to spend time in the sunlight. This helps reset your body’s clock. Even if you arrive later, going for a brief walk/jog before bed will help you feel better the next day.
2: While it’s important to be on the right time zone, I find it’s unproductively stressful to be overly rigid with bedtimes. If I keep naps under 30 minutes and eat dinner late so that I don’t fall asleep too early, then I get the quality sleep I need for a good race.
3: If you find your hips are easily misaligned, think about getting your hands on a Backjoy. I find it helps keep me even.
4: Make sure to stretch out your hip flexors after long periods of sitting. These are some of the most important muscles to have loose for that long stride you need to run fast. Here are a couple good stretches:
And that’s it! But the main thing to conquering travel is to stay relaxed, for which the Grillington approved attire is many very stylish Hawaiian shirts. These can be found at all quality Goodwills.
Happy traveling. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at: gregory @ gregorybillington.com