My marathon packing checklist

We are leaving town today to head to Wilmington for marathon weekend!

I have never traveled very far to run a race, but I do find myself taking short road trips to races around North Carolina and Virginia. I am verging on neurotic when it comes to both my long run/race routine and when it comes to packing, so packing for a race is kind of a big deal. I am terrified of forgetting something so I usually have to make a list to keep myself from going insane. For those who are new to racing or just new to traveling away from home for a race, I am sharing my marathon packing list.

Notice that I am just talking about things to pack that are specific to the race portion of my trip. Please don’t forgo packing clean underwear and a toothbrush when you travel just because I didn’t include it in this check list.


  • My ideal race day clothes – Meaning what I will wear if the weather goes according to plan. For me this means TANK TOP, SHORTS, and (LUCKY) SPORTS BRA.
  • My ‘I hate you, Mother Nature’ race day clothes – The outfit I will wear if it’s completely cold and nasty. But I will cling to wearing the shorts and tank top unless I absolutely have to dress warm. For me this means CAPRI PANTS, LONG SLEEVED TOP, GLOVES… and grouchiness.
  • A clean, comfortable shirt to change into after the race
  • A jacket or sweatshirt to wear over the clean shirt after the race if it gets cold
  • Running shoes
  • Shoes to change into after the race – I wear my Nike Air Max’s because they are comfortable and give my feet some room to breathe.
  • Two pairs of compression socks – One to race in and a fresh pair for after the race
  • Two headbands – One to wear during the race and a fresh one for after the race
  • Arm sleeves – I like these because they help keep me warm in the early morning when the race starts but they are easy to take off mid-race without having to worry about what layer your number is on.
  • Deodorant – A marathon may be painful for me, but that doesn’t mean it should have to be painful for the people riding home in the car with my smelly self after the fact.
  • Pre-race food – My stomach is sensitive so I am particular about what I eat before a run. I don’t assume that my pre-race meal necessities will be available to me where I am staying so I always bring ENGLISH MUFFINS/BREAD/BAGELS, ALMOND BUTTER, and BANANAS.
  • Race food – Again, sensitive stomach. So I don’t usually mess with whatever food is being offered at aid stations. This time I am bringing CLIF SHOT BLOCKS and HONEY STINGER WAFFLES.
  • Post-race food – I may grab some of the free food available at the finish line, but it is good to know I have some of my own options available right on hand after the race. This time I am bringing LARA ALT BARS and NUUN.
  • Water bottle
  • Garmin watch
  • Garmin watch charger
  • iPod
  • iPod charger
  • Headphones
  • Back-up headphones – Because I go through headphones like it’s nobody’s business. I must have really sweaty ears or something?
  • Road ID bracelet
  • Foam roller

What did I miss? What are the most important things on your race day packing list?


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