There’s no doubt that when you’re picking a race to train for and complete, ones that are out-of-town in amazing areas of the world are a pretty compelling pick. I mean, I love the Midwest and all, but there’s a reason why Tish and I chose Walt Disney World for our marathon back in 2010. The warm weather! The palm trees! Mickey! But packing for those away races can be … well … tricky. Which is something that professional triathlete Lauren Goss knows well. She races all over the world (Beijing, Uruguay, Miami … ) and knows a thing or two about how to pack for an away race. Here are Lauren’s tips, straight from her!
Packing and traveling for a triathlon can be very stressful if you are not organized. Keep in mind, you’re packing for three different sports instead of one, which results in a lot of luggage. Flying without luggage these days is expensive, let alone flying with sporting equipment. Airlines can charge up to $200 each way for bicycle fees.
Packing for a race still overwhelms me even today. However, I found having this list allows me to turn my brain off and just grab what I need. I always pack: a large backpack (transition bag), a roller bag (carry-on size) and a bike case.
In my backpack: I carry mostly what I need for race day. I keep this bag packed year-round so it’s always ready. I also like to have my cycling shoes and bike pedals on board in case the bike gets lost en route to the destination. This way I can use another bike but have my own shoes and pedals.
- TYR Velocity Goggles (three pairs: mirrored, smoke and clear, depending on the sun during the swim start)
- Swim cap
- Body Glide
- Race suit
- Race belt
- Smith Arena sunglasses
- Garmin 510/920 and chargers
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Water bottle
- Vitamins (vitamin C, zinc, BioAstin, MgSport Magnesium, OptygenHP, MultiV)
- Shimano bike pedals
- Cycling shoes
- Phone charger
- Snacks for flight (mixed nuts, dark chocolate, PBJ)
In my roller bag: I carry everything else that is allowed to be carried on.
- 1 cycling kit
- 2 running outfits
- 1 swimsuit
- 3 sports bras
- 1 pair of shorts/jeans
- 3 shirts
- 1 dress (you never know!)
- Casual shoes
- Toiletries all (4 ounces or less in Ziploc)
- Brush/hair elastics
In my SciCon bike case: I pack everything else that cannot be brought on board the plane. I also bring a race-day breakfast that includes a container of rolled oats with cinnamon, salt and nuts already mixed in so all I have to do is add water and microwave. This eliminates the stress of finding my normal morning breakfast at the race venue.
- Trek Speed Concept bubble wrapped and carefully packed
- Bontrager Race Wheels
- Bontrager “Travel Charger” travel pump
- Tools/Pitstop (wrapped in bubble wrap)
- Bontrager “Flare R” light for early morning transition setup
- Race day First Endurance nutrition (EFS liquid shot gel and drink mix)
- Beet Performer (two cans bubble wrapped)
- My TYR FON wetsuit
- Small foam roller
Carry on Your Essentials
Always travel with your running shoes and cycling shoes in case your bike case gets lost so that you can have the opportunity to borrow another bike.
Time Your Travel
On average, I race about 15 times a year. I usually travel Thursday-Monday, assuming the race is on Sunday.
Pick Clothes That Can Do Double-Duty
I travel in a comfy shirt, yoga pants, compression socks, my race day running shoes, a light jacket and a hat. I also wear this same outfit on the trip home after the race to avoid packing an extra outfit.
Always bring your own food for the flight in case you have to run to a connection and do not have time to get any snacks at the airport.
Go With the Flow (and Get Creative!)
If you miss your connection it is better to not panic and just go with the flow. I have missed many connections to foreign countries and you just have to trust that you will make the best out of the situation, instead of worrying about it.
I once had a flight delay of 12 hours in Quito, Ecuador, and I had to recheck my bags so I had them with me. I unpacked my bike at the airport and went for a ride around the airport. I was able to pay to store my other luggage. Before the flight I had to repack my bike and recheck my bags! It was a pain, but I had to get the ride done. I ended up winning the race and made the best out of the situation.
Have you ever had to pack for an away race? What was the race and where was it? I thought packing for a marathon was pretty challenging — it’s hard to imagine packing for something like a tri across the globe where you have so many sports to do. Talk about awesome. —Jenn