So you signed up to run a half or full marathon this fall. For a while your race has seemed like a distant, hypothetical situation. Now, there are fewer and fewer days before that fall race becomes a reality and you toe the starting line with the goal of reaching another line, one followed by volunteers handing out medals and water bottles, as quickly as you can. Besides the obvious running necessities (think running shoes and apparel) there are a few last minute items that may make your long distance race a more enjoyable experience. The more comfortable you are, the more fun and success you’ll have between the time you stand behind the starting line and sprint across the finish line.
1. Comfortable socks to make sure your feet stay fresh and ache-free.
Your feet are the last thing you want to be thinking about as you try to push your way through the other obstacles that come with long distance racing. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable, moisture-wicking socks. For some, that comfort comes from a plushy, cushioned sock while others may seek the lightest and thinnest sock in their drawer. Still other runners will opt for compression socks as a great way to increase blood flow and reduce fatigue.
2. Body Glide, Sport Shield and/or Nip Guards for preventing the dreaded toe blister or underarm chaffing.
There is nothing worse than a mid-run blister. Before you take off for your race, you will want to address any problem areas you experienced during training. This may mean slathering Sport Shield between your toes or rubbing Body Glide on your inner thighs. Men, nip guards may be order depending your needs. These products are life savers and ensure that your race is as enjoyable as it can be!
3. A hat, headband and/or hair ties for sun and sweat relief.
A lot of your preparation focuses on your feet, but make sure you plan for your fall race from head to toe. Is it going to be sunny during your race? Consider sporting an athletic running cap or visor to prevent the sun from beating down on your face. Ladies, or men with long hair, make sure you have a headband and/or hair ties ready to get your hair out of your way. Up and away is the best rule of thumb for hair: you don’t want strands flying in your face as you drive up a steep hill. It’s always smart to also pack some extra hair ties or a spare hat for post-race when you want to refresh.
4. Fuel and electrolytes supplements for replenishing energy stores.
Tried and true is the best way to go when it comes to choosing what nutrition to use during your race. Plan to use what has worked for you during your training runs. Pack enough to refuel about every 30-45 minutes that you will be running. There may be additional options provided on the course but make sure to stick with foods that your body is used to digesting while in motion. Using an electrolyte supplement, whether in liquid or capsule form, is also a great idea to make sure your salt levels remain in balance as you sweat and take in water.
5. A hydration belt, vest or handheld for maintaining fluid intake and storing important items.
Although most races provide ample aid stations during the race, in most cases it is best to also carry your own liquids to ensure you can drink to your own thirst. This way you don’t have to worry about being thirsty between stations. In addition, if you use a handheld or belt, you can use one of your bottles for a sports drink or electrolyte mix to prevent drinking too much water and flushing out the salt levels in your body. The pockets on all these accessories are also the best place to store your phone, iPod, cash or your nutrition.
6. Extra clothes and socks for getting warm and dry after your race.
After running for at least an hour, you will have sweat a fair amount and once that sweat dries, you will want nothing more than to be warm. Bring extra layers to slip on over your racing outfit to keep your muscles from tightening. Bonus points if you pack extra socks; your feet will thank you when you slip into a new, dry pair.
7. A positive attitude for ensuring a great race!
Don't forget to build excitement for your race! Race day is the moment you've trained for and is a day you should enjoy. Remember, you run because you love it! Maybe not every day, but there is a part of you that loves to get out there and run. Races are a reward for all the time and effort you invested. Have fun and no matter, start and finish with a smile on your race!
Whatever race you take on this fall, good luck! We'd love to hear your race stories and tips for racing so leave us a comment down below and share your experiences with our community!
About the Author: Lizzy Peper
Lizzy is the Marketing Coordinator for Charm City Run. Previously she worked as a part time Sales Associate for two years in the Timonium store. Lizzy ran competitively as a member of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams at Towson High School and Marist College. She co-captained the Division I Marist women's cross country team in 2015 and graduated in 2016 with a degree in Communication and a concentration in Public Relations. Check out her personal blog here: pepinurstep.com.