Racing in a Different Time Zone

June 15, 2023

Racing in a different TIME ZONE

Time Zone changes and flights prior to a race can “upset your biology” and this adds a few more considerations to take when preparing for race day. Listen today so you may be fully prepared and avoid problems which any affect your race day plan.

There are so many iconic races around the world and many runners love the experience of travelling to a new race destination however there are a few things which need to be taken into consideration.

Today we are going to talk about:

  1. Tips for staying healthy on a flight
  2. Planning ahead before you leave home
  3. Some real food suggestions to help you at your destination

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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:

  • Oats
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • 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 and we can email it to you.


ONE ACTION POINT to get you started after today’s episode – see below

ONE KEY ACTION POINT to get you started after todays episode

Racing in a different TIME ZONE

If you have a race in your calendar that involves long-haul travel … get your diary out and allocate some time 2 weeks before your travel to do some food planning and shopping.

We’d love to hear about your travelling tales when racing in a different time zone please share with us at

Related Episodes:


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Remember we are available to support you if required contact us at hello@

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