If you’re packing for a destination running race, you might be wondering what to take and how to pack it. We’re going to look at some top tips to make filling that suitcase a breeze!
Write down everything you’re going to pack – yes, everything. No matter how obvious it seems. When you’ve finished, tuck this list in the pocket of your bag so you don’t leave anything behind when you pack to return!
Once you’ve packed, go over your list again. What have you missed? Go through the motions in your head, thinking about what you need for the run, and what you need for the rest of the time.
It might help to find some online suggestions of what to take, so you don’t end up forgetting something vital!
Is it going to be hot or cold? Make sure you check – and then take the safe option and pack for both anyway. You don’t need to go nuts, but even if the forecast says hot sun, take something warm and waterproof. Equally, if it’s going to be cold, take at least one cool outfit.
This will keep you comfortable if the forecast turns out to be wrong – as it so often does!
Put your race essentials in your carry-on bag. They do not want to be in your suitcase. If something goes horribly wrong, you want to have these close and safe in your hands, not the hands of airport staff.
Many of us wait until the last minute to pack, partly because we need items that also need to be packed – such as toothbrushes and phone chargers. However, that makes you more likely to forget things in the rush.
Instead, pack in advance, but over a period of days. Put in things you don’t need first, and then slowly add essentials as you “finish” using them in daily life. This will leave you with little to pack on the last day.
If you’re struggling to make things fit or keep them organized, packing cubes is a great idea. Ziplock bags can also work, reducing the size of things. They will contain the smell from unwashed running gear, too!
For those who want to travel light, washing your stuff on the go can allow you to take less – and will mean you don’t have a massive pile of laundry to do when you get home. You can buy travel-sized detergents, and either give your clothes a quick wash in a sink or use hotel washers and dryers.
If you’re a frequent traveler, this can be really useful. A Don’t Pack list can be done at the end of a trip. As you unpack your suitcase, jot down what you didn’t use, and keep this note somewhere.
After a few trips, you’ll have a good idea whether you’re consistently carrying things that don’t get used, just because they seem like a good idea. However, don’t apply this to your first aid kit or emergency warm gear just because they haven’t been used yet!
If you’re going on a plane, find out what you’re allowed to take by way of food, and then pack some. Many people don’t like risking airline food, and if you’re going for a big race, you won’t want to take the chance of being made ill.
Having some of your own snacks will tide you over until you reach your destination and can get a proper meal.
You’ll also want to pack a pre-kit race bag and post-kit race bag. What should you bring? I have created the perfect post for you: What should I bring to a half marathon or marathon race?
If you’re planning to do some runs before the race itself, remember to carry some spare gear. You don’t want to have to put on running clothes that are already sweaty and unpleasant on the big day. Take some extra clothes or make sure you can wash your gear.
Don’t forget your gadgets in the haze of thinking about clothes. Whatever you use, make sure you have it and its relevant chargers/batteries, and pack a spare cable or battery pack just in case.
Your running shoes are important, but what about for the days before and after the race? The last thing you want is blisters, so make sure you have some very comfortable shoes you can wear around race time.
Obviously, you need to take your running shoes – but really, don’t forget. You might actually want to wear these on the plane. It will save space on your bag and will mean that you 100% definitely have them with you.
If you need anything for the race, make sure you pack this with your travel documents so it can’t get forgotten, lost, stolen, wet, or anything else. If possible, have a backup copy on your phone or in another bag just in case.
If you use a foam roller, pack it. If you need resistant bands or any other reasonably portable exercise gear, take it with you. You don’t want to find yourself unable to run because your muscles have tightened up without your foam roller! I never travel without my Trigger Point Massage Ball. It’s portable and easy to pack, check it out here: Trigger Point Massage Ball
Packing for a race can be stressful, but if you think carefully, make a list, and take your time, you’re unlikely to forget anything too vital!
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