If you’re one of my frequent readers then you know my love for lists. The more races I have done- especially those with early wake ups- the better I have gotten at being prepared for having my gear ready the night before. That way I can catch a few extra z’s in the AM.
This list can also apply to just your basic lifestyle (i.e. getting up and going to work) of course you likely will not need to grab a tub of vaseline or a stick of body glide to go to work- unless you work at the construction site that Miley Cyrus did her latest video at (insert pun sound here). But if you are not a morning person- it’s good to know what you need to grab the night before. Have it ready, and get your butt in gear in the morning.
-Race shirt & bib- preferabley with bib already attached
-Whatever “unders” you need (socks, undies, sports bra)- if you are traveling a fair distance to/from a race- I also suggest bringing a clean pair for the ride home.
-Clean change of shorts and shirt- especially if the race is ways away from home/taking a shuttle, and/or if there is a post race party afterwards
-Flip-flops or comfortable shoes to put on after your race (after running the first thing I want to do is sit down and take off my shoes)
-Water bottle for after the race, one for before the race, and your handheld/fuel belt
-Your fuel: gels/bloks/beans etc
-Have your breakfast planned ahead of time (I either do a bagel and butter or the Special K oatmeal), when I have the oatmeal I put it by the sink so I can put the water in and pop it in the microwave
-Snacks for after your run- even though they give you food sometimes if you have a sensitive stomach it’s better to just bring what you know will not make you vomit/poop your pants
-Body glide/vaseline…. no one likes chafing
-If they give you specific plastic bag that you need to use for gear check- I sometimes roll up another canvas bag inside of it to use after the race. I have noticed since Boston that more and more races are making you use the clear bags for gear check- which is fine- but once they are knotted they are a bitch to get into after your race- and may end up tearing.
-keys/money/id- a lot of times at expos following the race you can get awesome deals on upcoming races- or be lured in to buy cool gear to commemorate what you just did.
-Your preferred electronic devices. The night before make sure your watch/i-pod/phone are charged and ready to roll that morning, and DO NOT FORGET YOUR HEADPHONES. Pack an extra pair if need be. I literally have had nightmares about getting to a race and forgetting my headphones, and there is nothing worse than starting a run and your watch battery dying…. except for forgetting your headphones.
-chapstick- you’ll hate yourself if you forget it
-Shuttle ticket/tickets for post race party/beer ticket/food tickets. If you are using a shuttle – you will need to have your ticket out, and ready- and save it for after the race. Also your post race party/beer/food tickets will be attached to your bib. If you decide to remove them squirrel them away in a safe place.
A few other tips:
-Dress accordingly for the weather. Just because it may be a bit chilly prior to your run- once you’re moving you will warm up quickly. Additionally bring warm clothes to put on after you are done running.
-Give yourself extra time. If you need to be at a shuttle pick up or in a corral at a certain time, take a few things into consideration: road closures around the race site, traffic, long lines at gear check, needing to do a pre-race potty etc
-Keep your routine the same. Train like it’s race day. Use your same fueling plan, don’t try caffeinated gels if you have never used them before. And for the love of Pete do not try out new gear on race day. I have risked this a few times, and have gotten lucky- but I don’t recommend doing it. I know it’s fun to buy new stuff at packet pick up but don’t plan to wear it the next day unless you REALLY need to.
-READ ALL OF THE EVENT INFO BEFORE YOU SIGN UP/BEFORE THE RACE. Seriously. Go to the website read the info. Find out when/where you need to pick up your packet. What your travel options will be to the race. If there will be a pace team, where the aid/hydration stations are (not that you’ll remember exactly when you’re on the course but moreso to help you decide if you need your own handheld/fuel belt), what type of fuel (gatorade, gels etc) that will be provided so you can incorporate it into your training.
-Have fun. Races are fun. Even if you don’t PR, you still got up (probably much earlier than normal) to run. So don’t beat yourself up too much.
Until next time.