What to bring when traveling to a race out of the area by Carina Kool

When traveling out of the area to a race, I ask myself, what all should I bring?  I have traveled throughout California as well as out of state for some races.  I will be traveling from Northern California to Southern California for the Santa Clarita Marathon.

For me, depending on the type of race I am running as well as factoring weather, elevation, and altitude, determines what items I will bring with me and what items that I may get when I arrive at my race destination.

Whether you are running a road race or a trail race, you will require hydration.  Depending on the race, how you trained, the weather, you may get enough fluids along the course and may not need to carry hydration on you.  However, I would recommend having it with you just in case, as you never know what to expect race day.  You could use a handheld bottle, a hydration belt, or hydration pack.  Also, don’t forget your electrolytes.

For trail races, I always have my hydration pack with me so that I can get enough hydration while out on the course and because there are lots of pockets on my pack to bring any snacks that I may need along the way on the course prior to getting to an aid station.  However, for a road race, it all depends on that particular race and the weather whether or not I will bring any hydration with me on the course.  If it’s hot out and it’s a shorter race, I will bring a handheld bottle with me, but if it’s a longer race and hot out, I will carry my hydration pack.  If it is cooler out and there are lots of aid stations, I tend not to bring any hydration with me on the course as I am able to get enough while out on the course, but I do bring snacks such as sports beans, paydays with me while out on the course if a longer course and S-Caps as well.

If you were to ask any of my friends, I tend to over prepare for a race, meaning that I am ready for whatever weather comes about and sometimes have extras of things, which is good sometimes as I have had friends forget to bring things sometimes that they are needing or wanting and I have extra that they can borrow or have for the race, which they are grateful for.

Things I normally have with me when going to a race:

  • Race confirmation
  • Course map & race details
  • Directions to race & packet pick-up
  • Hotel confirmation
  • Bathroom toiletries
  • Plane tickets and/or rental car information (If flying to
  • Headphones (if flying to a race, I bring them, but other than that I don’t)
  • ID & money
  • Trucker Hat (This type of hat is my preference while running as it doesn’t make my head hot and allows air flow. It also helps keep the sun out of my eyes.  I don’t like running with sunglasses on and this is the next best thing for me.)
  • Anti-chafing lotion (i.e. Brave Soldier Friction Zone, Body Glide, Vaseline, etc.) – I highly recommend one of these products. If I don’t use one of these, I tend to chafe, which isn’t fun at all.
  • Sunscreen/sunblock (I have fair skin and tend to burn so this is definitely a must for me.)
  • Lip balm (recommend with sunscreen to help protect and hydrate your lips and prevent your lips from chapping)
  • KT Tape (I always have this with me, but I don’t always use it. I only use it if something is bothering me to help with pain relieve and allow me to keep going.)
  • Extra safety pins (Just in case you misplace the ones you got at packet pick-up or if the ones given aren’t that great and sometimes I have a friend that needs them.)
  • Blister Band-Aids and Regular Band-Aids (Depending on the type of race and shoes I’m wearing, I tend to get some blisters and to help prevent them; I use this on the spots I normally get them to help prevent getting them while running.)
  • My Garmin or Fitbit GPS Watch to help track my workout/race. This also allows me to see my pace and help me pace myself out so that I’m not over doing it and start to die during the race from going out to fast.
  • Running shoes & socks (may include compression socks and/or sleeves) – Yes, I know, why list it? Who would forget their running shoes?  You can be surprised.  I have forgotten it to one run ever, but it wasn’t a race, but I have had friends forget them.  So, I always make sure that I have at least two pairs of running shoes on me depending on the race I am going to.
  • Extra pair of shoes & socks
  • Recovery shoes or flip flops or sandals (After it a race, it feels good to get those running shoes off so that your feet can start to recover.)
  • Running clothes (i.e. tank, shirt, shorts, capris, pants, sports bra, underwear, socks, etc.)
  • Clothes for before & after the race
  • Hydration (Bottle or Pack) – As mentioned above, this is highly recommended and I always have it with me at a race just in case I am going to use it.
  • Ibuprofen
  • Biofreeze (To help with my sore muscles.)
  • Plastic bags (for ice, dirty clothes, etc.)
  • Snacks, Sports Beans, Paydays, Buddy Fruits (I prefer these over GU.), water, and Gatorade
  • Drop bag for gear check (most road marathons and other races will give you a clear bag to use for race day for your extra gear that you had on before the race or may want right after the race to put into that you will need to place your bib #)
  • Poncho or water resistant or water proof jacket or windbreaker jacket (you never know what weather you may get on race day)
  • Towel (To dry off with due to the rain or to help clean up with from a trail race; however, if I am flying to a race, I don’t normally bring this item with me to allow more room in the luggage.)
  • Baby wipes and/or ShowerPill: The Athletic Body Wipe (To help clean up with, especially if you aren’t able to shower right away before travelling home after a race.)
  • Toilet paper (I only bring this if it’s for a trail race, but not for a road race.)

Please note that if you are flying to a race, it is recommended to have your race gear in a carry on as they will most likely want to look through it when you are going through security to make sure that you aren’t carrying anything onto the plane you shouldn’t be and that everyone is safe.  Sometimes, your hydration pack or your GU’s may pull up with liquid when going through the scanner and they just need to make sure that everything checks out to help protect everyone.

I hope that this information is helpful to everyone and that everyone has safe travels to your upcoming races.

Carina Kool has been involved in running since she was in 8th grade.  Starting in 2012, she started challenging herself more and to start running longer distances.  She completed 3 marathons in 3 days in 3 states in June 2015 at the Bear Lake Marathon.  To date she has run multiple race distances ranging from 5k’s to 50 miles.  Her next challenge is to run a 100k.  She is currently a part of #TeamSRA and on the SingleTrack Running team.

To read more about Carina Kool’s adventures, go to CarinaKoolRunnerGal.wordpress.com.

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