I believe it was marathon coach and writer Hal Higdon who gave the guideline of arriving a day early for every time zone you traveled to get to the race. So if your race is 16 time zones away, arrive 16 days before the race.
OK, he never stated 16 hours – I think he was talking about flying 3-4 time zones away, probably within the US, but the idea is right.
And even if your race is in the same time zone, I suggest arriving at least two days early. Arriving the day before the race is just way too hectic.
I believe it was Cebu 2016 – I had arrived the day before the race – don’t ever do that. If I remember correctly, I only got to my hotel at about 3 or 4pm, and still had to check into my hotel, pick up my race pack, get my gear ready, rack my bike, eat, and whatever else.
And get to sleep early? I don’t think so. I remember I ended up bonking then (I don’t mean bonking in the race, I mean bonking just trying to check in!) because I wasn’t fed properly on the plane, and then missed the chance to eat anything upon arrival.
The expo was so big yet there was no food. So travel, compounded with the hectic rush, combined with lack of food resulted in a pretty bad, both physical and mental setup before the race.
All of this can be avoided if you just arrive a few days before the race. Yes, you’ll have to get more time off work, but to think that you have trained and planned for months for this, it doesn’t make sense to drop the ball at the last hour.