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(A sneak peak at what I pack each time I head to a race!)

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just getting started, it’s always good to think ahead when planning for your next big race. When it comes to racing, you don’t want to worry about forgetting the important things you’ll need after putting in all that hard work. Take a few minutes to plan your race day bag and you’ll be on your way to a great run!

  1. GPS Watch – My GPS watch is something I always have with me for race day. But you don’t have to have a fancy watch; a basic timing watch works fine. Sometimes it helps to have a watch that can split your miles so you can see how your pace varied throughout the race. It will also help you stay on pace during the race if you’re trying to hit a specific time.
  2. Sunglass or Hat – If race day is going to be sunny and you prefer some shielding from the sun’s rays, you may want to grab a good pair of running-friendly sunglasses or a breathable running hat. Hats are also nice if you’ll be running in the rain because it helps keep the rain from running into your eyes.
  3. Water – Race day isn’t the time to bring along your favorite water bottle. A disposable bottle of water works great if you don’t have family or friends to give it to before the race. There’s no fear in leaving it behind and you don’t have to worry about losing your treasured bottle.
  4. Quick Fuel and a Fuel Belt – Whether it’s a Cliff Gel, Cliff Shots, Gu, or other quick energy bites, these are great sources of quick energy if you are running a longer race (such as a half or full marathon). They will give you the extra glucose you need to keep your body fueled a little longer during the race without having to consume large amounts of food beforehand. And if you are doing a longer race, you will want something to carry your fuel in, such as a SPI belt or other small carrying belt. A lot of running apparel now has little pockets to carry fuel (or keys) in as well. Try out various kinds of fuel during training to figure out what works well for you.
  5. A Snack – For me it’s usually peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread or a Cliff Bar, but other bars work well too. You can also easily bring along a banana or apple with nut butter. Find something that sits well with your stomach and stick with that. Even though most races provide something for runners immediately after to eat, packing a snack that has a good source of carbohydrates and protein will help your body recover more quickly and it also guarantees that you’ll have something to eat when the race is over.
  6. Hand Sanitizer and Kleenex or Toilet Paper – It’s always good to have some hand sanitizer and Kleenex with you in case the portable toilets run out! Trust me, it happens and you won’t want to be without.
  7. Extra Clothes – Depending on the race, you may want to bring an extra set of clothes and shoes. If it’s a spring or fall race, the temperatures can be cooler or it could be raining. Though you may feel warm while running and for a few minutes afterward, you will quickly become chilled, and having warm, dry clothes to change into can make all the difference.
  8. Bib Number – Lastly, if you’ve picked up your bib number the day before the race, don’t forget this precious item! You most likely won’t be able to get another one the day of the race and, therefore, won’t get scored in the race results.

That’s what is in my race bag. If you want to be prepared for your race, grab these items for a great race day experience! If you’d like more information on how to train smart or become a stronger runner, check out the Intelligent Fitness website at www.intellignetfitnesspt.com or email me at Hannah@intelligentfitnesspt.com.