First IM (LOU) coming up next year ... How many days before the race should I plan on arriving in town? I'd like enough time to take care of all the pre-race logistics without having to run around all day, but not get there so soon that I'll go bananas (and do something stupid like go for a 100 mile ride two days out to burn off some stress...). Conversely, how many days afterwards before I can reasonably expect to be able to board a plane to fly home???
I like to get in on Thursday and leave on Tuesday, but depending on where the race is, Tuesday can be a sight-seeing day and then fly out on Wednesday.
My general schedule is:
Thursday – wander around
Friday – register – light short run - check out IM village
Saturday – swim practice – light short ride – rack bike - shop
Sunday – race
Monday – race photos – shop
Tuesday – sight see – fly out
If you haven’t already gotten a place to stay, I recommend getting a place as close to IM village as possible (I prefer staying in a condo so I can cook instead of having to eat out 3 times a day). You will find, especially on your first IM, that you are making 3 trips a day to IM village. The first full is a little nerve-wracking; just remember to breathe. If you have done your training, everything will be fine.
I drove to both IMFLA and IMLOU (one day trip for LOU and two for FLA). I try to get to my lodging late on Wed, check in and walk aorund IM village on Thur when the crowds are low, then relax and stay away from IM village until the mass in-brief the night before the race (except for bike check in).
Did IM Lou last year and came in on Friday afternoon. Manageable but not recommendable! I would have liked to be there and settle in at least one or two days before. Also I struggled in the heat (95 dgrs) so depending which conditions you are used to you may include that in your planning.
I stayed at TownePlace Suites Louisville North (own kitchen) across the river which was fine, good price and still within walking distance for raceday.
I left Louisville Monday morning which was OK for me. A little sore and stiff so the flight was kind of uneasy as your could imagine.
With the practice swim at Louisville on Saturday, arriving on Thursday should be fine. After the Ironman, it helps staying on Monday to recover before heading home. My plan is just that, arrive on Thursday and depart on Tuesday.
Thurs - Tues. This ensures you get the best gear shopping at the expo.
Lake Placid will be my first but I'm planning on arriving early Thursday and leaving Wednesday. I wanted to spend extra time there after the race when I'm feeling less anxious and can enjoy the town while recovering.