Fall is prime time for marathons. Some runners make a dash to the airport just for the chance to cross the finish line in another city. Yesterday was the Baltimore Running Festival. Today is the Chicago Marathon. And more are to come.
A colleague of mine, Baltimore Sun copy editor Helen Jones, is a regular marathoner, and last spring, she ran her second Boston Marathon. This fall, she's headed to Maine. I asked her to give us some tips on traveling to a marathon. Jones says that, as with any travel, planning is key. Here are a few of her tips:
* Make your hotel reservation far in advance. You can always cancel if you get injured during training or decide not to race.
* Look for a hotel near the finish line. You don't want to have to walk a mile after running 26.2.
* When flying to your marathon destination, always wear your running shoes or carry them on board. It's hard to run a race when you're in Cincinnati and your broken-in shoes are in Atlanta.
* Carry a variety of running clothes - stuff for every weather condition. A forecast for cloudy and cool weather could easily change to sunny and hot.
* It's hard to resist walking around in a new city, but if you do that the day before your race, you could pay for it with extremely tired legs. Get to the city a couple of days early, if you can, and save the day before the race for lounging around and carbo-loading.