Whether you are a veteran of running events, or running your first event, it’s easy to forget something. I always do a #flatlay the day before the event, and the main reason is to lay all the kit out I think I will need. This blog post is intended to help you think about what you might need, and things to remember on race day. We won’t all use the same gear, and we won’t always need as much depending on the distance of the event, or indeed depending on how far away from home you are. Hopefully this blog will act as a checklist for you to consider what you need before a race; during the event; and after you finish.
I have previously written other blogs that might be of interest, designed to help you on race day and in the build up:
So you want to run a marathon HERE
Getting your pace right HERE
What to expect on marathon race day HERE
Things you need before the event:
First of all, consider where you are going to put everything you are not going to run with. If you are local to the event you may not need to consider this, and decide to carry everything you need, but for the majority of us we will be depositing a kit bag.
Always check the instructions around the kit bag. Some are very flexible, but others (especially bigger events) are very strict. Usually if a bag is provided then you will be required to use this bag. This may restrict how much you can take with you, so don’t leave it until race morning to pack.
Once you know what you can deposit, and you have your bag packed, remember to check the bag drop opening and closing times. For some bigger events these can close up to an hour before race start, and queues can get busy, so don’t leave it last minute to drop your kit.
Talking about leaving it last minute, don’t leave it to long to go to the toilet. We all have our own routines in the morning, but I always like to get to the start early so I can have a queue free pass at the toilet. The bigger the event, and closer to race start, the longer the queues will be. A tip here is not to just stop at the first queue as often there are other toilets with shorter queues.
Clothes to keep warm:
Now this is twofold. You are not likely to forget your clothes to keep warm for after the event, as you will likely be wearing them as you leave your house. However, think about what you are going to wear after you have dropped your kit bag. You could be waiting around for hours before the race starts, and if it’s cold and wet you dont want to be standing around in your running clothes.
Some people take old clothes that they are happy to discard at the start. Often these clothes end up in charity shops and I know people go to charity shops to buy clothes with the purpose of discarding them at the start. You might want to just run in layers, and may be happy to wrap a jumper around your waist as you warm up. Just plan according to the weather.
Ideas to keep warm:
Other ideas to keep warm at the start are to take a space blanket. You often get given these at the end of events, so save these for the start, these can keep you warm and dry. If you don’t have one, then improvise. Get yourself a big bin liner and cut holes in for your head and arms, cheap and cheerful and keeps the rain and wind away.
Water / other nutrition:
Think of what you need before you start to fuel and stay hydrated. Don’t depend on there being something at the start line, go prepared.
Things you need during the race:
Basic race kit for me includes top, shorts, socks, trainers and a visor/cap. However, there is much more you might want to consider. Here is my checklist of things to consider for during the race:
Bib – safety pins / magnets – It may sound obvious but don’t forget your race bib. Sometimes these are sent months in advance, don’t forget yours. Also, how will you attach it to yourself?
Timing Chip – Usually collected with your bib. These either are a strap, attach to shoe laces, or on back of your bib. A tip for those that attach to your shoes, rather then using your laces, attach with sandwich ties.
Running belt – A great way to carry gels, but I use mine mostly for my phone.
Gels or other nutrition– How will you carry these, hydration vest? Always best to use products you have trained with.
Sunglasses if sunny – Obvious but often I forget mine and realise as soon as the sun comes up.
Watch – Some people like to run to feel, others will follow a pacer. Whether you are using your watch to pace yourself, or just for a record of the event, don’t forget to take it, and don’t forget to make sure its charged.
Pace pocket – Or something else to track splits
Music? Do you run with music? Consider if headphones are allowed, and you can always look at bone conducting headphones
Vaseline – Do you chafe, be prepared. This can be through vaseline, a base layer or plasters, but it is better than bleeding nipples.
Things to remember for after the race:
After an event its not unusual to be given nutrition, a space blanket, and a fresh top, along with your medal. But dont take this for granted, check what you are expecting and go prepared. Also remember things might not go to plan, so prepare for the worst case.
Medal – Don’t leave without your medal
Kit bag – This should be filled with everything you might need at the end, so think about how you will feel when you stop running. You will be sweaty, cold, wet, and tired. I usually like to have a spare plastic bag with me to put my wet clothes in. I also carry my mobile phone with me, but if you don’t make sure you have what you need in your bag.
Spare clothes – This will likely be what you wore to the event, but if you discarded your warm jumper at the start make sure you have a spare. I usually carry a spare top in case I dont have one at the finish so I can take my wet top off.
Nutrition– Whether this is something refreshing like a cold fizzy drink, or protein rich drink, make sure you have something with you. There is usually stuff at the end either in your goody bag or to buy.
Recovery – For me this will be oofos and if a long distance some recovery socks or recover tights. You may be able to wait until you get home, but if you aren’t going to be home for a while think about immediate recovery.
It’s not just about what you take, but also what you need to consider. Who will you be meeting and where? It’s good to have a mobile on you but this may not work, so plan ahead where you are going to meet. Also bear in mind it might be really busy at the finish, so you might want to meet away from the hustle.
Whatever you have planned, go prepared. Think about what you may need before, during and after and you will be more relaxed knowing you are prepared.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Whatever event you have coming up go and have fun. If you think there is something I’ve forgotten, help me and others remember and let’s create a list in the comments.