There is no one-size-fits-all list for all runners as we all have our personal preferences. I always make sure to pack an inspirational bracelet a dear friend gave to me.
But there are a few musts that every runner should check off when they are getting prepared for a race:
- Running shoes. Duh, right? Except I’ve known runners to actually forget them. Seriously? Seriously.
- Running socks. See the explanation above for number one.
- Running shorts/capris/leggings/skirt. You probably won’t forget them, but you probably won’t race without them.
- Running shirt. Semi-optional in some climates.
- Sports bra or band-aids. Women need one, men need the other.
- Bib. Your ticket to race. Forget it and you might be a spectator instead of a racer.
- Safety pins. Extra ones probably aren’t a terrible idea because they are so small and so easy to lose.
- Anti-chafe product. Your post-race shower will thank you.
- Nutrition. Not necessary for shorter races, but gels and/or electrolyte drinks should be packed for anything more than a 10K.
- Drop bag. Fill it with dry clothes and post-race nutrition.
- GPS watch. Though races can be run without one, many runners consider this a necessity rather than optional.
- Hat/visor. Keep the sweat from dripping into your eyes and the sun off your face.
- Sunglasses. A friend to #12, keep the sun out of your eyeballs.
- Sunblock/sunscreen. Might not be necessary for a 5K, but you’ll be standing around outside for awhile so pack it anyway.
- Music. A polarizing item that some runners swear by and others are annoyed by.