What to pack for a race
Now that it's getting closer to spring races and after having a couple of years without races, it's a good time to gather what you might need for a race kit. Use our checklist to make sure that you have every item you need to make your race a success. I usually put everything in a large travel bag and then put what I need at the race in a smaller bag and take that to the race. In warmer weather you can leave out some items like a long-sleeved shirt but most of the time I pack everything anyway just in case.
Most of the items here are ones that are self explanatory but I've given reasons for why I pack each although some are pretty obvious. You can print out the list without the explanations by clicking here.
1. race number and pins - I usually pin the number to the shirt or singlet I'm using for the race the night before so I'm not trying to do it in the morning in the cold, rain, dark, or even perfect conditions at the race itself.
2. race instructions, map, ect. - having the race information where I can easily access it is really useful. Now most bigger races will have a lot of this information online and you can just save it to your phone.
3. shoes - pretty obvious but you should use a pair you are used to running in and not something new on race day.
4. socks - comfortable socks that you've used before are essential.
5. shirt - pack a short sleeved shirt that you can run the race in or to use for your warmup before changing to a singlet.
6. shorts - depending upon your level of modesty and the length of the run, pack a pair that will work with your race plans. For a longer race I'll pack something with pockets for gels and other nutrition. If I'm at the race alone I'll also need pockets for my car key.
7. long sleeved shirt - I'll usually pack a shirt because even when it's warm out, it's usually a little cool hanging out before the race begins.
8. long pants - I'll do this for the same reason as the long sleeved shirt.
9. gloves - My hands are usually a little cold so I use gloves most of the time.
10. hat - If it's raining or misty I'll use a visored hat.
12. 2 bottles water - Having some water to drink is usually a good idea especially if you are in the corral for a long time.
13. energy bar - I'll eat this for a quick meal about 4 hours before the race so I pack it in the big race bag.
14. gels - These are in a small plastic bag so that they are easier to find when I need them for the race.
15. newspaper to sit on - I don't like getting wet before the race starts so I'll pack some to sit on.
16. shoe tag - If I'm running by myself I use the shoe tag to store my key and medical information.
17. vasoline/body glide - This is pretty much self explanatory.
18. sunglasses - Squinting is never good in a run since you don't need any additional tense muscle groups. Also, sports specific sunglasses work better than prescription lense glasses.
19. toilet paper - Everyone has had the no paper situation occur at a race and I'd rather not experience that again.
20. sunscreen - Getting sunburned and then trying to enjoy the post race experience isn't fun.
21. headband - Headbands let your bodyheat escape from your head while still keeping sweat from getting into your eyes.
22. race bottle - In races longer than a 5K I like drinking when I want to so I usually run with a 10 ounce bottle.
23. racing flats - I'll warm up in regular shoes and then change to a more race oriented shoe if it's a goal race that I'm wanting to run a good time in.
24. band aids - Although bodyglide usually is enough, band aids can be useful for more extreme things like a sudden blister.
25. stick - I won't take this to the race but I'll use this to massage out any trouble spots before the race.
26. arm sleeves - for a chilly race I'll use these for a little extra added warmth.
27. leg compression sleeves - good for recovery or possibly solving a medical issue, I'll pack these and use them as needed.
25. pace band - Although I'm pretty good at calculating the splits, I'll use a pace band in longer races so I don't have to waste any time doing the math.
26. tape for pace band - Since I'm making my own band, I need tape to put it on my wrist. I've used band aids when I forgot the tape so I guess that would be another use for the band aids.
27. singlet - In any race over 40 degrees, I usually wear a singlet or sleeveless shirt since I know I'll heat up.
28 rain shoes - Although I usually don't have to use them, having a waterproof running shoe paid for itself in my opinion during rainy Broad Street runs and other wet conditions.
29. rain jacket - Mostly used to stay a little warm before the race, if it's raining a lot this is great to have.
30. space blanket - Using one of these mylar blankets helps to keep you warm before or after the run.
31. small towel - Used to sit on or wipe off sweat after the race.
32. race tattoo - not needed at all but for years I've worn some type of running oriented stick-on tattoo for races just to have more fun.
34. watch and charger - I frequently run without looking at my watch in training runs but usually look at it some during races. With longer battery life, you might not need the charger but it's always good to be prepared just in case.
35. spibelt - If I'm running the race by myself I'll usually have the belt to store essentials that I don't want to lose.
36. shoelaces - Pack an extra just in case you break one at the race.
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