Staying Loose While Traveling to a Race
by Ron Tribendis, D.C.
A few years ago, I traveled to Ironman Brazil. In the Florianopolis airport, I stood waiting for luggage with another athlete… and his wife and five children. I was baffled. I could barely handle the stress of traveling alone and this man brought a huge family to a race. I vowed to find ways to make travel less stressful. I wondered if I could even make it a positive experience that sets me up well for a race. It took several years -- and I’m not fully there -- but I’ve come a long way in reducing travel stress and staying loose in preparation for race day.
The first step was to decide: is the timing, venue and criticality of the race suitable to make it a vacation as well? Not every race is suited for a family trip. An A race in a not-so-kid-friendly venue often warrants a solo trip. A stressed out mom or dad and bored kids doesn’t make for a good vacation anyhow. For those solo events, I’ve found a few ways to keep my “home team” involved. They help me make a checklist of items to take and they help with planning and packing. I make sure that I plan something special for the week of my return so that I can shift focus back to family time.
If the venue is kid-friendly and I can make a vacation of it, I try to allocate extra time to mentally and physically prepare for traveling. With family along I have less time to focus on race preparation during the trip so I have to be more prepared upfront. I make sure to have my bike tuned up at least a week in advance so that I’m not scrambling at the last minute to get something fixed. I use a bike transport service whenever possible so that I have one less thing to haul. I’m also sure to arrive at the airport with time to spare. Nothing is more stressful than rushing through an airport.
Regardless of the type of trip, I find a few things are a must for me to enjoy travel and prepare for a race.
Ron Tribendis, D.C., is a member of the Endurance Corner coaching network. He has been competing in triathlons for 10 years, qualifying for Kona and the 70.3 World Championships. He has also coached multiple athletes to Kona and Clearwater. He currently lives in Frisco, TX, where he operates a sports medicine chiropractic clinic, North Texas Performance Chiropractic. He is a USAT Level 1 coach and active release (ART) full body certified.