Making the Most of Your Marathon Weekend: Tips From Hiltons Runners Concierge Team

Originally Published by Hilton.

With big fall marathons around the corner in several U.S. cities, runners from across the country are turning up the heat on their training while preparing to travel near and far for race days in cities including New York, Chicago, Orlando and Washington, DC.

There are many factors they should consider now to ensure they run their best race and start the recovery process while away from home. Hilton’s got them covered, thanks to expert advice from its Runners’ Concierge team a dedicated staff of fitness-loving Hilton insiders who help guests at two Hilton hotels in Orlando prep for major races in that town.

Through their annual, localized “Marathon Weekends” program, the team provides runDisney race guests with a curated, seamless experience filled with what runners need before (and after) a race from carb-heavy dinner options the night before to ultra-early breakfast options on race day and late checkout. The team even wakes before dawn to cheer on runners in the lobby before they head to the starting line (in complimentary bus transportation), and some even run the races themselves.

This team of fitness buffs has compiled their top seven planning tips for race-ready travelers, including advice on where to stay, what to ask before booking and how to squeeze in a little fun.

  1. Book early, and remember location matters: If you haven’t already nailed down a place to stay, now is the perfect time to book a hotel. Properties can fill up fast and securing a comfortable place will allow you to focus on the race. Some hotels even offer “early bird” rates to encourage runners to book right when race registration opens. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of staying near the starting line or close to easy transportation there.
  2. Make it a well-rounded trip: As long as you’re traveling for a race, why not make it a trip with a fun vacation feel The runDisney race series in Orlando is always popular; especially the Wine & Dine Half Marathon where you can enjoy delicious wine tasting and meal pairings at a special Post-Race Party. There are kids’ races during the weekend too. For runners planning way ahead, the Rock n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon in February has a family friendly health and fitness expo. You can also hear some of NOLA’s best amateur bands while spectators pass out beignets, Bloody Mary’s, and king cake (though you should probably wait until after the race to indulge.)
  3. When booking, check for hotels with special marathon packages: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creekand Waldorf Astoria Orlando offer a special package for the runDisney races that includes Welcome Bags, transportation to and from the starting line, a complimentary early morning fuel-up of coffee, fruit, and bagels on race day, late checkout, and carb-load options for pre-race dinner.
  4. Think of your concierge as a coach (for you and your family): At check-in, let your concierge know you’re there for a big race. See if they have maps of the course, can arrange for a wakeup call or know about local marathon-related celebrations. Stay connected by signing up for any text-messaging services the hotel might offer with race-related updates. And if you’ve got the kids, ask for logistical advice to juggle parenting and the race. If one parent is running while the other minds the kids, there might be a museum or playground nearby to occupy them.
  5. Do a Carb Check: Be sure your hotel restaurant offers an adequate menu of carbohydrates to power you for the race to avoid having to trek to a restaurant. Some hotels have bottomless pasta feasts the night before, as well as post-race celebrations. Conrad New York and Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile offer pre-race carb-load dinners that serve heaping pounds of everyone’s favorite carb.
  6. Time matters check on breakfast starting times and late checkout options: Sometimes breakfast isn’t routinely served until 6 or 7am and you may need to be up and out earlier for your race, so ask if your hotel will serve early enough, or whether you can order a fresh bagel (or two) the night before to save for morning. Late checkout is likewise important, since showering after the race is non-negotiable and resting is ideal. Plan B if it’s not available: see if your hotel will let you use the gym or spa facilities to freshen up.
  7. Ask About Nearby Walking Trails: While we don’t recommend a strenuous workout just before a race, it’s definitely good to get your blood flowing. Ask hotels if there are walking trails near the property or, if not, hop on the treadmill in the hotel fitness center for a light jog.

BONUS TIP Book a massage. Splurging on a post-race massage is always a good idea. So is simply soaking those tired muscles. Check to see if your hotel has a spa especially one with a hot tub or sauna and treat yourself for making it to the finish line! The Waldorf Astoria Chicago and Waldorf Astoria Orlando both offer signature muscle repair massages.

Local Properties Near Major Fall Races

Chicago Marathon – Chicago, Illinois (Sunday, October 7):

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Minneapolis, Minnesota (Sunday, October 7)

Marine Corps Marathon – Washington, DC Metro-Area (Sunday, October 28):

Monumental Marathon Indianapolis, Indiana (Saturday, November 3)

New York Marathon – New York, New York (Sunday, November 4):

Disney Wine & Dine Marathon – Orlando, Florida (Sunday, November 4):

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Las Vegas, Nevada (Saturday, November 10-Sunday, November 11):

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon San Antonio, Texas (Saturday, December 1-Sunday, December 2):

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