15 Things to Pack When You Travel For a Race

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Things I always bring

  1. Shoes — Duh. I want a minimum of a few weeks of wear on a pair even if the same model.
  2. Socks — Now is not the time to discover which brand of socks give me blisters.
  3. Shirt/tank — I’ll probably bring 2 options in case the weather changes.
  4. Pants/shorts — Now is not the time to discover which brand of shorts make me chafe.
  5. Sports bra/bandages — Self-explanatory.
  6. GPS watch — You can buy a new GPS watch at the expo, but race day should not be the test run.
  7. Music — Optional to some, a must for me.
  8. Flip-flops/extra shoes — My feet will want to wear something different after the race.
  9. Compression sleeves — Start that recovery quickly!
  10. Sunglasses — Unnecessary depending on the weather, but a lifesaver in some conditions.
  11. Towel — For sweat removal purposes post-race.
  12. Warm-up pants — If there isn’t a great place to change, at least I’ll be comfy.
  13. Hat/visor/headband — For blocking sun, collecting sweat, or keeping my mane out of my face.
  14. Safety pins — If I drop some or misplace them, I will be happy to not have to carry my bib. B
  15. Body Glide/Vaseline — Even if I’ve worn those socks, shirt, and short hundreds of times, preventing chafe is always important.

Things I might pick up at the expo

  • Gels — If it is a big expo, I will pick up gels from the vendor themselves. If it is a small race, I will bring own.
  • Drop bag — Some races require you to use their clear bags. Some races don’t care. Make sure you know before race morning so you aren’t making extra trips to your car.
  • Extra swag — I often like an extra piece of clothing, hat, or beer glass if the race is A) a goal race or B) has really cool swag!
  • Throwaway gloves — Maybe it’s because I live in the south, but the best throwaway gloves are found at expos. They are cheap and good for a couple of miles before tossing – at a water stop or in a trash can, thankyouverymuch.

Things I always pick up at the expo

  • Bib — Duh.
  • Free stuff — I stick to consumables such as gels or snacks, but sometimes there are race specific tokens like cowbells that come in handy when spectating.
  • Race shirt — Okay, you kind of have to pick this up with your bib, but I like to stick it in my drop bag to wear with my medal after the race.
  • Safety pins — Yes, I know I said I always bring them. But do you know how easy it is to lose them?

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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