What to Pack in Your Race Bag

I know I have been posting a lot lately about racing, not just running in general.  Please forgive me, I guess I just have racing on the brain.  Fall is the BEST race season – there are so many great races to choose from and the weather is finally starting to cool down, making for more comfortable long runs.


If you are one of the lucky ones that takes advantage of this wonderful racing season, you will likely find this post pretty helpful.  After running numerous races, I feel like I have mastered this list of must-haves in the race bag so if you see anything I have left off that you have found helpful, please let me know 🙂

  1. Toilet Paper – This is the number one item for a reason.  Don’t leave this at home.  If you have ever waited 30 minutes in line for a porta-potty only to get in there and see that there is no trace of toilet paper left, you won’t forget this item.
  2. Tissues – Especially if it’s a little colder outside, your nose will likely be running.  You probably already know how to blow a wicked snot rocket while on the run but it’s nice to have a tissue before the race actually starts.
  3. Lip balm – Again, especially if you’re running a race in colder temps, lip balm is a necessity.
  4. Extra Hair Ties/Head Bands – You may already have your hair up but what happens if you go to fix it and one of those little elastic bands snaps?  Be prepared.
  5. iPod/Music (if allowed) – If you’re used to running with music and the race allows it, you’ll want to make sure this baby is packed 🙂
  6. Bottled Water and/or Sports Drink of Choice – Most likely, volunteers at the race will be handing out bottles at the finish line, so this item is listed for the start.  There is nothing like started a race completely parched.  Not only do you start freaking out in your mind (“oh my gosh, what if I haven’t had enough water? I’m suddenly SO thirsty and now I have to wait until the first aid station!”), it just doesn’t feel good.  I also like to skip the first aid station since it’s usually the most crowded and if I’ve hydrated well leading up to the start, I usually can do that.
  7. Deodorant & Body Spray – These are really only important if you plan on hanging around for awhile after the race.  Usually I go straight home or back to my hotel and shower before doing anything in public but I decided to go to brunch after my last race.  I don’t think my friends would have appreciated it very much if I didn’t pack these two items in my bag!
  8. Flip-Flops – Your feet will be sore and tired and sweaty and hot and stinky and…you get the point.  Air them out and let them breathe.  The feeling of slipping on flip-flops after a long run/race is almost as good as an hour-long massage on your day off.  At least for me it is.
  9. Extra change of dry clothes – Like the items listed in #5, an extra change of clothes is only really important if you plan on hanging around after the race.  You don’t want to sit around in your stinky, sweaty clothes, and I’m sure the people around you won’t want that either.
  10. Safety Pins or Belt for bib – For your bib.  This will help alleviate stress in the morning.
  11. Gels/Chews/Jelly Beans – Whatever you use for fuel.
  12. Photo ID & Money – Most races have vendor tents/exhibits that are just eager to sell you that 13.1 or 26.2 sticker you now NEED for your car as well as T-shirts, headbands, etc.  Sometimes you can get all of these goodies the day before at packet pick-up (usually depending on the size/status of the race) but sometimes they lump the exhibit in during the race.  Just be prepared if you think you might want something.

4 thoughts on “What to Pack in Your Race Bag

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