I’ve traveled to a lot of races. I’ve run races at the beginning of vacations and at the end of vacations. I’ve driven us much as 6 hours just to run a race (ok, I admit it may have been more to spend time with the lovely ladies I was racing with.) Last year I flew out to the west and ran 5 races. So, I have this packing thing down to a science. The only things I’ve forgotten in recent trips have been Gu and Glide – both of which I can live without. The below tips will work for a single race, but I’m mostly focused on multi-race events. If you are running Goofy or Dopey or just doing two half marathons in the same weekend, this is YOUR guide.
1. Create a spreadsheet and do inventory – Do you have enough bras? Enough socks? Shoes? etc. I have enough running bras to last a few weeks, but my inventory quickly showed me I was low on compression socks and that my shoes all had too many miles on them. Thankfully, I had a PROCompression code (Use code: BLG14) and both my favorite Altras and the Brooks Pure Flow 2s were on clearance. Start stalking the weather sites.
2. A few days to a week out from the event, get completely caught up on laundry. Really. Otherwise, I can guarantee you that at least one vital item will be dirty. Trust me on this. And if you hang dry your running clothes like I do, washing the day before you leave is a problem. Check the weather again.
Yes, I did a huge amount of laundry. Despite that, my yellow running bra is MIA.
3. Organize your outfit for each day – everything from underwear to hat to hair bands. Everything you expect to wear only once for a specific race, put in that pile. If you plan to use something every day or multiple days, put that in a separate pile (things like sunglasses, bib belts, waterbottles). Check a different weather site and maybe add a few items.
4. Put each pile in a gallon zip bag. If you are flying, sit on the bag before you zip it to make sure it takes as little space as possible. Don’t sit on it if you’ve included your fuel in that bag. (I put all my fuel in a separate bag). Label your bags. Pick them up multiple times to REALLY make sure every item is there. Stalk the weather and second guess your choices.
5. Pack your suitcase and check things off on your list. Do NOT check it off the list until you actually put it in the bag. (Learn from my mistakes…) Stalk the weather one more time. Start questioning your memory. Did you pack your sunglasses? What about your Garmin? Check the suitcase. Check the list. Drive yourself crazy right up until you leave the house.
Got all your running stuff in? Now you can see how much real clothes and accessories can fit LOL.
Some other tips:
- If you check bags, make sure you have a pair of shoes and one complete running outfit in your carry on, as well as anything that you MUST have and would have trouble replacing.
- Plan your nutrition – either pack food (we are driving, I’m taking all of our breakfasts + lots of snacks) or make a list and hit a store when you get to your destination. Have more healthy foods on hand than you think you’ll need. Otherwise you’ll find yourself either yelling at your traveling companions (hello, hangry!) or stalking the scary gas station for food.
- Compression, compression, compression. Even if you don’t run in it, wearing it afterwards, especially for car rides and plane rides is a “must do.”
- If at all possible, take a post-race soak. I swear by Epsom Salt baths. Others swear by ice baths. Do whichever works for you and do it after ever race if you can.
I’m heading out in a few hours to run another half marathon. I get to spend tonight with friends and then run through my college town. I’m pretty excited.
Any tips I missed? I’m always looking for better ways to handle race travel!