Travelling to mountain trail marathons can get complicated. All sorts of unexpected things can happen. I thought it would be nice to have a simple framework for the marathon weekend. The aim is to get through all the hassle in a relaxed manner, race well and have fun.
I composed this list on my return trip from Zermatt Marathon - better take advantage of all that thinking time while sitting on trains, planes and automobiles!
- Gear: be prepared for every type of weather. Get good trail running shoes and a light backpack with some sort of hydration system well before the race. Wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing (a cap, shirt, shorts and socks you have tested before the race). Consider taking a light pocket camera with an effective image stabilization system.
- Accommodation: make reservations with a 4/5 star hotel (the best one you can afford - search for special offers on the net) with a spa (for active recovery after the race), restaurant and comfortable location. Arrive there the day before the race (forget acclimation, unless you can spend weeks on the mountains). Visit the race office just to get the race number and other essentials. Avoid pasta parties, expos and other unnecessary distractions before the race. Make sure you can eat breakfast 2.5-3 hours before the race at the hotel (if they don't serve breakfast early enough, explain to them why it's absolutely necessary).
- Supermarket: travel with light hand luggage (pack as little stuff as possible). Buy everything you need from a local supermarket. Get enough drinks and snacks for the whole weekend. Don't run around the town shopping (forget souvenirs), use a taxi or hotel transportation if necessary.