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How to Pack for a Race or Runcation

February 27, 2017

How to Pack for a Race or Runcation


I have raced in over 38 states in the US at nearly every distance and in all types of weather.  I have over-packed, under-packed, and at times have found that happy medium.  As I race more and more often away from home, I am finding what works – and what doesn’t.  Listed here are my tips for packing when you plan to race or run out of town.

Running Clothes
The biggest struggle I have is packing too many clothes.  I often find myself worrying about inclement weather, and if I will be warm enough.  My advice is to look at the weather before you go, and pack for one day that is 20o colder than predicted, and one that is 20o warmer than predicted.  I also cut down on clothes in cooler weather, because I don’t sweat as much when the temperature drops.  In this way, I can rewear some of the bulkier clothes instead of packing multiple items.  Here is my list:

-socks (# of days + # of runs + 2)
-underwear (# of days + # of runs + 2)
-sports bras (# of runs)
-shorts (if 50o F or above; # of runs)
-capris (if 32o – 50o F; # of runs)
-tights (if 32o F or below; # of runs divided by 2)
-t-shirts (# of runs)
-one rain jacket
-long sleeve shirt (# of runs divided by 2)
-compression gear for travel
-running shoes (two pairs if possible)
-competition shoes (if applicable)
-complete racing kit (taking into consideration all weather possibilities)

Recovery Tools
One Thanksgiving I decided to pack up my foam roller, yoga mat, recovery roller balls, stretch band, and The Stick, and I fooled myself into believing I would use all of these items.  If traveling for a vacation, do not kid yourself that you will follow your normal recovery routine.  Instead, save space and pack your one most essential recovery implement and make a point to use it daily.  Bear in mind that many recovery tools can be DIY as well.  Instead of packing a foam roller, roll sore muscles on a Nalgene water bottle.  Didn’t get your Stick through airport security?  Ask your host if you can borrow a rolling pin. 

If traveling for a race, however, pack whichever items you truly believe you need.  Never try anything new in the few days before a race, or cut out important components of your routine.

The most difficult part of traveling is getting out of your normal nutrition and hydration routine.  I have a number of food sensitivities, which can make traveling especially hard for me.  This is one area where I tend to purposely over pack, because it is always better to be safe than sorry.

-2 - 3 types of nutrition bars (# of days + 2)
-energy gels (4 for marathons, 2 for half marathons, 3 for 20+ mile runs)
-rice cakes
-Green, Black, and Peppermint teas
-oatmeal packets
-single-serving macaroni and cheese
-single-serving peanut butter packets
-shelf stable almond milk
-electrolyte replacement tablets

Of course, there are a few miscellaneous items as well that make the list:

-running watch and charger
-hydration pack
-water bottle/thermos
-sponsor tattoos (if racing)
-race day make up
-training log
-book or magazine

Overall, packing doesn’t have to be stressful once you figure out that works best for you.  Keep notes each time you travel to help prepare for the next trip.  Additionally, rest assured that if you do forget an item, you can likely find a replacement at a nearby running store.  Above all, don’t forget to pack normal items (i.e. toiletries), as well, as those can easily be left behind in the rush to make sure you don’t forget anything running related!

By Anna Weber

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