EARLY PREPARATION FOR TRAVELING ATHLETES
There are lots of things going through an athlete’s head leading up to a competition that involves travel, and these tips for traveling athletes will help you right out! The first thing to do is create a list of things you need to take with you. The sooner you start the list, the more likely you will remember everything rather than attempting to do it the day before your trip. One good suggestion is to have the list out while you pack for practice, making sure to note every single thing you are putting in your bag. If it’s important enough to go to practice with you, then it is most likely necessary to go on your trip. If there are certain pre-game foods or drinks you enjoy, bring as much as you can, do not assume that you will have the ability or the time to get them while on your trip.
Another major issue for traveling athletes is the lack of hydration. Often time’s traveling athletes either driving or flying to their destination will stop drinking to avoid constant stops or routinely having to get up and go. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. People may be irritated at first, but all those traveling with you would rather see you perform your best and bug them a few extra times to stop. Hydration does not happen overnight; your body needs to be well hydrated for 3-5 days leading up to the competition. One of the easiest ways to avoid dehydration is to avoid unnecessary time in direct sunlight. It is best to cover as much skin as you can while warming up or walking around with light clothing and a hat that will keep your skin safe and will keep moisture from evaporating off your body.
When traveling to locations that have a potential to be cold, make sure to bring multiple layers of clothing that you are still able to work out in. Multiple layers allow you to adjust throughout the day with the changing weather, rather than trying to predict the next few hours before you ever leave the hotel. Gloves are one of the most important items of clothing when in any cold weather because you will lose the feeling in your extremities (hands) before you feel it anywhere else. Losing hand mobility will make the anything else you are doing very difficult as well as being a constant reminder in your head that you are cold. As a traveling athlete, it is best to be prepared for any weather condition.
DISCIPLINE FOR TRAVELING ATHLETES
The plague that affects many traveling athletes is a lack of discipline while at the tournament sites and in the hotels. You, your coaches, and your family are likely making a significant investment to allow you to compete in these tournaments. Treat this opportunity like a business trip. Your job while you are there is to give yourself the best chance to compete each and every day. Staying up late and running through the hotel hallways is not in the formula for a successful performance. This trip is not the time to try “something new” to give yourself an advantage. You and your team got there by doing what you have done all season; changing that will more likely have the opposite effect. This principle carries over to what you are eating all throughout the tournament. If you have never had pasta the day before a competition and you decide you are going to do it to get the extra carbs and perform better, there is an equal chance you could wake up not feeling great because the pasta is still sitting heavy in your stomach. If in doubt, play it safe.
HAPPY TRAVELING ATHLETES
Michael Newton is a student at Eastern Michigan University and an avid supporter of track and field in the state of Michigan.