Q&A: How Can I Adjust to Racing in a Different Time Zone?

With big city marathons becoming more and more popular, runners are traveling to different states and countries to run. This means dealing with jet lag. Studies show that it takes one full day to recovery from each time zone you travel through, if you don’t prepare yourself beforehand.

Here are a few ideas for how to avoid jetlag before running in one of these big city marathons.

Adjust your internal clock. Several days before departure, gradually shift your sleeping and eating times to coincide with those at your destination. Once you arrive, adopt the local time for your daily routine.

Opt for an overnight flight. This will allow for you to eat dinner at a normal time, and you are much more likely to sleep on an overnight flight than a daytime flight.

Set your watch. When you get on the plane, set your watch to the time of your destination to keep yourself mentally aligned.

Avoid coffee and alcohol during your flight. Both of these will make you dehydrated, and can prevent you from sleeping properly both on your flight and the day following.

Stay hydrated. Drink at least eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air, even if you aren’t thirsty. This will help keep your muscles hydrated and keep your body feeling race-day ready.

Following these few tips will help you to be race-day ready when running in a different time zone. Good luck! 


Erin Corbo

Erin Corbo is a doctor of physical therapy and a board-certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery Integrative Care Center. She is a lifelong runner and has completed one marathon and numerous half marathons. Erin specializes in runner’s injuries, as well as general orthopedic injuries.
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