So, you’re preparing to run your first race! Or maybe you’ve ran races before but just want to check what other runners say they use (I’m always reading running blogs just to see what they do differently, or the same as me).
Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need to have! (Applies mainly for the marathon or half marathon)
1.Clothing that has been tried and tested.
Especially if this is your first race, don’t take any risks wearing something you’ve never worn before. Even if for your training runs you always wore a certain style and brand that worked great, don’t wear a new pair of that exact style. An example, on every long run I would wear Lululemon hotty hot shorts. I bought a new color and wanted to wear them on my first18 mile run of the training cycle. These specific shorts had a loose thread that was poky. It wouldn’t have been a problem on short run, but after 18 miles it scraped enough that it left a bad scratch, and I still have a scar from it two years later! Pick your race day outfit a few months before the race and wear it for every long run to ensure it’ll work for race day.
This means gels that you have used during training, it could also mean salt tabs which you have experimented with. Most runners use the hydration provided at aid stations, but some carry their own hydration with a mix they know works best for them. This also includes your pre-race meal. If you’re staying in a hotel make sure during training your testing out a pre-run meal that is easy to make in a hotel room.
Check out my other post to learn more specifically about eating and fueling on race day!
3. Something to carry said fuel (and phone if you plan on bringing yours)
There are many options out there as far as fuel belts are concerned. There’s also shorts that come with space to fit your gels in, which case you don’t need a belt. There’s also the more old school method of safety pinning your gels to your shirt and take them off as needed.
4. Weather Protection
After running a marathon in bright, sunny Arizona, with nothing to protect me from the sun, I have decided I will wear a visor for every race. A visor is also great in case there’s rain. So really no matter the weather, a visor (or breathable hat) will be a win-win! If it’s going to be a chilly start, you can try arm warmers or a long sleeve over your race shirt. I prefer arm warmers because they are easy to take off and they don’t cover your bib number (for those professional race photos!)
I figure it can’t hurt to carry a Kleenex or two. In case of a runny nose, or in case you go in a port-a-potty that is out of toilet paper
6. Playlist to pump you up
If you listen to music while running, make sure you create an awesome playlist to keep you going strong throughout the race! Along with this, make sure you have headphones that work well for long runs.
7. Throw-away sweats
Most runs are chilly at the start line, you can either have sweats that you put in your drop bag, and pick them up after the race. Or you can wear clothes you don’t care about and toss them to the side once the race starts. The clothes that get tossed are collected and donated. Wearing a trash bag over your outfit is also an option for races that aren’t too cold at the start.
Anti-chafe for the morning while you’re getting ready, then a small tube of aquafor or something similar to carry with you, in case you feel something rubbing mid race. Read about what has been the best anti-chafe for me!
9. Mantra’s/Positive attitude
During your long runs you’ll most likely end up coming up with certain phrases you repeat over and over that give you strength, which will then come to mind during the actual race. It’s not a bad idea to write down the mantras that help you, along with other motivational and positive quotes and scriptures. Then you can read them while you’re waiting at the start.
It’s important to stay positive leading up to race morning, and then especially on race day. They say the first half you rely on your body, the second half you rely on your mind/heart. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true! If you have a negative thought, accept it, then tell yourself something positive (basically what they teach you in meditation). Example: You have the negative thought “I can’t do this, it’s so much more difficult than I realized.” Counter it with, “Yes, this is difficult. But this is what I trained for, I can do it.”
Hope this list helps! Happy racing! 😀