Racing in a different TIME ZONE
The aspects of health may be affected by travelling to a different time zone.
There’s a potential for energy being affected by the time involved in travelling. Sleep and digestive patterns may be disrupted. The immune system may be impacted … often people pick up a cough or a cold following a flight.
One of the most important things to do is to plan to arrive at your destination a 2 or more of days before your race so your body has time to get in sync with the local time.
Tips to minimise the impact of a long-haul flight.
- Eat an easy to digest satisfying meal when you arrive at the airport
- Stay away from caffeine and alcohol
- Take your own healthy snacks and teabags for the flight
- On the flight drink water only and aim to sleep
- Avoid stimulating your mind with the inflight entertainment or music.
- Promote sleep by using an eye mask, noise cancelling ear buds and inhale relaxing essential oils to help you relax and sleep
- After take-off change your watch to your destination time zone – it may help get your brain in sync with local time
When you arrive at your destination, do your best to immediately sync with local time. So, if it’s daytime stay awake until local bedtime and if it is night-time, then go to bed and set an alarm to wake up at local morning time. That’ll help get your sleep patterns regulated.
Tips to alleviate travellers’ constipation and bloating include:
- drink plenty of water during the flight (avoiding alcohol and caffeine as we have already said)
- when you arrive and eat plenty fresh fruit and vegetables and stay hydrated
- consider taking some magnesium during and after the flight as this will help relax the bowel.
For most people their regular pattern of bowel movements will return within 1-2 days.
Supporting the immune system prior to travel.
These suggestions apply to anyone doing any race whether it’s near to home or further afield … if you’ve put a lot of effort into training … the last thing you want is to have a minor illness or infection in the days before your race.
Make the week leading up to your race supportive of your running goals – regular meals, minimal alcohol, optimal nutrition, and hydration, plenty of time for relaxing and sleep, keep your social calendar light on commitments and schedule in easy light activity for active recovery.
Consider adding some immune and digestive protective supplements e.g. a good quality multi vitamin and mineral designed for the immune system, Vitamin D, and perhaps some echinacea plus a probiotic to support your gut microbiome.
Food Planning ahead of your trip
The important thing is NOT to leave anything to chance.
Our advice is to plan/prepare/shop for/arrange/request whatever you require. You may be in in a hotel or self-catering or perhaps if you have a fridge in your hotel room you can make some of your own food.
You’ll need to think about your food to eat whilst travelling, in the days leading up to the event and for race day.
Our tips would be:
- At the Airport – check out what food choices will be available at the airport and if you need to take your own prepacked snacks
- In-flight – we have already mentioned that – try not to rely on airline food – it’s rarely nutritious – have a selection of snacks in your inflight bag e.g. protein bars, nuts/seeds, dried fruit, a natural yoghurt, perhaps a pre made salad box
At Your Destination
- Packing Food Essentials for the days leading up to the race and race day will help save time shopping at your destination
- Also check out information from your race organiser as they may be providing some food or may suggest local facilities
- If you’re self-catering – make a shopping list and plan how you’ll do the shopping
- If you are in a hotel … check their menus and room service options and search online shops and restaurants were nearby. It’s always a good idea to book a table for the time you require well in advance. If it’s a big popular race there will be hundreds or maybe even thousands of runners competing for table bookings
A couple of weeks before travel plan your race day nutrition timeline. Listen to Episode 134 Designing your Race Day Nutrition for more information.
An eating approach to help you at your destination.
- Avoid eating any food you are not used to (avoid digestive issues)
- Choose simple easy to digest food
- Drink bottled water
- Follow your usual nutritional and hydration foundations
- Eat at your normal times – don’t leave more than 5 hours between meals and snacks.
- Follow plate balance including protein, carbohydrate and vegetables
The benefits of planning recovery time before you step onto a flight home.
Taking a common sense approach to making food choices – doing the best you can with what is available.
Our list of easy to pack food
These items can be easily used for simple meals and snacks. You may not need ALL of these items but hopefully it’ll give you some ideas. You can pack some boxes or bags of easy to pack foods for traveling:
- Dried Fruit
- Nut Butter _ you can find sachets from some brands
- Oatcakes and Crackers
- Flap jack Bars
- Bars and Gels – we prefer brands who focus on natural ingredients e.g. Huma, Velaforte, Stinger
- Protein powder – there are sachets from Purition – when you get to your destination just buy some almond or coconut milk to mix up your own shake
- Fruit Puree Sachets
- Miso Soup sachets – you could add some chopped fresh veggies
- Small tins/cartons of beans/pulses/tofu/fish
Our travel checklist – if you’d like a copy, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we can email it to you.
ONE ACTION POINT to get you started after today’s episode – see below