Spring race season is upon us! In preparation for this weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll DC half marathon (anyone else running?!), I’ve had a growing pile of my must-have race day items on the floor all week (one of the very few times such a thing is acceptable in my living space). Aside from the obvious necessities such as your bib & safety pins, shoe tag, and any gels or other fuel you know & love, here’s a list of the top things I’ve learned to always tote along to races.
- A magazine you’re willing to part with. Depending on the size of your race & how well it’s organized, you could be waiting up to an hour or more between arriving at the start and actually hitting the course. Having something to read while you’re waiting helps take your mind off of the challenge ahead & eases anxiety, especially if you’re running solo. We all know running is as much mental as it is physical. Save your brain power for the course.
- Warm, cheapo clothes from Goodwill or Walmart. Stay nice and toasty while you sit, stretch, & wait for the race to start. When you’re ready to run- ditch the extra layer. Many races now also have goodwill or other clothing donation bins at the start for this exact reason.
- Tissues. There’s nothing worse than having to wait in line for 40 minutes to use the porta potty before you cross the start line. Oh wait, yes there is. Having to wait 40 minutes to use the porta potty that’s likely already been used by some 1,000 people, only to find it’s sans toilet paper. And you’re about to run some not-so-normal number of miles. Need I say more?
Have these things either in your gear check bag or with any loved ones (AKA pit crew) who’ll be meeting you at the finish line.
- Chapstick. Trust me. You will not want to wait until you get home.
- A fresh shirt. You’ll be super sweaty (unless you’re one of those magical goddesses who just doesn’t sweat, in which case I’m uber jealous) and get chilly immediately.
- A jacket/hoodie. For the same reasons as above. Especially if you’ll be facing long lines for the metro/traffic or heading to a celebratory brunch, the last thing you want is another reason to be miserable. And cold makes me miserable.
- Face towelettes. You’ll clearly be taking obligatory post-race photos with your pit crew and/or other racing friends and selfies gnawing on your hard-earned medal (why do people do that? I’m actually not guilty of doing so, but I feel like it’s a thing?). You may as well look less sweaty and eliminate that horrible salty face feeling. And again, brunch.
- Deodorant. Self explanatory.
Hope this helps to make you feel just a tad more prepared to show up and nail your race! Any other items on your must-have lists? Please share!