I logged 4 international races last year including a few half way to the other side of the earth and am about to start that again Sunday. Here are 5 key tips:
1) Use caffeine wisely. Skip it to sleep on the plane. Get on the plane decaffeinated so you sleep. Use as much plane time as you can to sleep. Sleeping, even naps release healing chemicals into yur body that are critical to wellness. When you get off the plane only have caffeine early in the morning, local time. This will help you adjust to the time change.
2) have a big ass water bottle. Fill it in the airports. Put it in your seat. Drink it. Bug the flight crew for extra drinks. They ration out the right amount based on non athletes. You need to perform better then most. Flying dehydrates you and being dehydrated will really wreck your performance. When you land drink a ton more water until your normal.
3) get on local time. To do this you need to give yourself a day per hour time change ideally. Your body won’t perform well if it feels like it’s 2am. Try to stay up until local bed time. If it’s bed time and you can’t sleep take meltonin which is what your body isn’t producing naturally because it doesn’t know its bed time. Beware: this can make you groggy so don’t use it the night before the race!
4) plan the trip to be a fun vacation. See the sights! Get away from the race venue. Stay in other towns etc. this will keep your mind off the race and the stress of race nerves. Get into town 48 hours prior to deal with pre-race stuff but besides that skip hanging around the venue.
5) PACK PRO FIT BARS! You want a high protein bar because your not training and the high protieny k sugar ration will keep your sugar from spiking and crashing. Also you want foods that are easy to pack and travel with. Also produce isn’t gonna make it through customs. Having a healthy food stuff will prevent you from being forced to buy over priced and unhealthy newsstand airport “food”.