Packing for an Ultramarathon

The art of success for any event is preparation. An ultra is tough both physically and mentally; you train hard ready for race day. However the foundations of race day come from your packing. It is important not to leave your packing until last minute when you are getting ready for an Ultramarathon. With shorter events you can get away with some non essential items, but there is so much to consider for an ultra, and you don’t want the added stress or discomfort if you forget something.

I am just packing for Race To The King, so I thought I would share what I’m packing. However, it is important to note we are all different, and you need to practice with your kit to understand what you many need. Ask yourself how long you will be out running, will you be running in the dark, will you need a spare set of clothes, what impact will the weather have, and what are the aid stations like.

For me, I am confident that I will run the 53 miles in day light, and the aid stations have everything I need to keep me going. So to be honest, I have packed more than I need. I remember running my first ultra with my camelbak mule absolutely full. The course makes a huge difference, so check out the aid stations, how frequent are they and do they stock food you will eat. Looking at the aid stations at Race To The King I could probably run with just water and pick up what I need, but I have packed fuel just to be sure I have what I need. The few Clif Blocks and Bars could keep me going throughout the race. I have also packed my 1.5 litre hydration pack as well as my two 600ml bottles, as it is the hydration I need to be careful with. It is easy to not drink enough, so I will make sure I keep these full at every aid station, better to run with too much water, than to run out.

I have plasters for my nipples, and a couple of foil blankets for emergencies, but I’m not taking anything else. Basic kit, watch, hydration and fuel. I would consider a change of clothes and if I was stopping I would pack these in a spare bag, but I don’t plan on stopping. If anything went wrong I will have my mobile phone, and I prefer not to change clothes during a run anyway. My head torch and rain jacket are both possible extras, and if I was going into the night I would pack warm clothes, but as I expect to finish in the day, these will not make it in my kit list.

Recovery is important, and as I will be staying away from home I have packed my recovery gear. When I finish I will need to wrap up warm, so I have a hood, plus my compression tights, massage gun and oofos are my usual combination.

What do you back for an Ultra marathon?

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5 thoughts on “Packing for an Ultramarathon

  1. This is great. Whatever race I do, I always pack so that I can fuel myself entirely if I need to (I have a dietary requirement, though, which makes it slightly tricky at aid stations). I think I took some powder to make up into a drink with me for Race to the Stones. And I take one of those portable batteries you can charge your phone or watch from.

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    1. I have once charged my watch on the run, but my current garmin holds its.charge, also it isn’t possible to hold on my wrist and charge at same time.

      Yes it’s important to know what’s at aid station so you know if you will have everything you need or need to take more

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