What to Pack for an Out-of-Town Race Weekend

I felt the magic of swiss herbs in Ricola® Herb & Throat drops as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #swissherbs

Good morning!

This weekend, I’m running a half marathon in Seattle, which, of course, is super exciting (I love to travel), but it’s kind of stressful at the same time. What happens if I forget my sneakers? Or my Spibelt? Or I miss my flight? It’s easy to let these worries take over, so I created a detailed packing list to help me coordinate everything I need for an awesome out-of-town race weekend.

What to Pack for an Out-of-Town Race Weekend

TRAVEL DAY

Important stuff:

  • Flight/train/car rental info/taxi phone numbers
  • Race info – confirmation, bib number, directions to packet pick-up, parking/shuttle bus info, course map, weather forecast
  • Travel itinerary – hotel confirmation, rental car info, contact phone numbers
  • Wallet with ID/passport
  • Cell phone

Travel happy:

  • Neck pillow/eye mask/ear plugs
  • Reading materials or tablet
  • Headphones
  • Ricola® Revitalizing Herb Drops – Swiss alpine herbs + ginseng give you a little boost and freshen “airplane breath”
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water bottle + Nuun
  • Healthy, carb-y snacks

Miscellaneous:

  • Camera
  • Cell phone charger
  • Laptop + charger
  • Shoe bag – doubles as a laundry bag
  • Toiletries + make-up
  • Medications + vitamins
  • Regular/street clothes
  • Pajamas

RACE DAY

Outfit:

  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • Running top
  • Running bottoms
  • Sports bra
  • Pre-race throwaway gear
  • Hat/visor/headband
  • Spibelt
  • Sunglasses
  • Hair elastics – I always bring an extra in case one breaks
  • Safety pins for bib – just in case
  • Gloves + hat – depending on weather

SAM_2085 (800x533)

Miscellaneous:

  • GU
  • Nuun
  • Body glide
  • Body lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Ricola® Revitalizing Herb Drops – just in case allergies are worse in a new place or I pick up a cold during my travels
  • Facial cleansing wipes to quickly freshen up in the morning – I never shower before a race
  • Headphones
  • Deodorant
  • ID
  • Cash
  • Hotel and/or car key
  • Bag drop ticket and/or special bag – some races require you to use their bag
  • Small package of tissues or toilet paper in case porta-potties run out
  • Food for breakfast – I typically eat nut butter + banana on bread/toast

SAMSUNG CSC

I always pack these items together, separate from my other toiletries, so they’re easy to find on race morning.

SAM_2090 (800x533)

POST-RACE

Outfit:

  • Comfy clothes for traveling home
  • Compression socks
  • Flip flops
  • Jacket or hoodie

Miscellaneous:

  • Plastic bag(s) for dirty clothes and/or homemade ice pack
  • Protein powder for post-race recovery
  • “Travel happy” items from above + extra snacks and water

Questions of the Day

What did I miss?

Any tips or tricks for making an out-of-town race a bit easier/stress-free?

Do you take a shower before running a race?

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32 Comments

  1. So glad you posted this this morning-I’m packing for a flight tonight (not for a race though haha) and almost forgot a couple things you listed.

    Safe travels and good luck with your race!!! Also, so curious–is there a reason to not shower pre-race, or just because you’re about to be running again?

  2. Safety pins! So glad that made the list – I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read from other race recaps about asking the front desk of the hotel for some safety pins 🙂

  3. I try to think of what is not easily replaceable. Things like passport, wallet, phone (when I travel for gymnastics my uneven bar grips and wrist guards). Those irreplaceables I triple check. Everything else? can be bought when you’re there if need be. Keeps the stress down even though I still make a detailed list.

    Also I never carry paper documents with me anymore (except my passport). I have it all stored on my phone. Sometimes I’ll even take pictures of maps or directions so I don’t need to take paper with me. If I’m worried about data access I’ll open the email and take a screen shot of the important info and I’ll cache the maps as well (Google maps saves/ caches any map you’ve loaded on your screen and saves hotels or points of interest you’ve searched. It’s especially helpful when traveling internationally!).

  4. I generally shower the night before the race. And the one thing I ALWAYS do anytime I travel is just make a list. It’s easy to check things off. Often times I will break it down by event/occasion/or plan that is happening while traveling in case it requires something special or extra.

  5. Wish I had seen this yesterday! I’m packing for Seattle Marathon this weekend and kept freaking out that i was forgetting something. Looking at your list the only thing I forgot is sunscreen which I can easily buy there. That’s a relief.

  6. I usually pack my travel foam roller and Protec plantar massage balls too! If you have The Stick, that might be a good one to pack. Good luck this weekend!

  7. Great list! I just ran a race out of town and could have used a list like this 🙂 for me, it’s always most important to bring a wide assortment of clothes just in case the weather changes. I also always bring along my breakfast or pick up something near my hotel! This time I also brought along a small foam roller and it really helped stretch out my muscles after sitting in a car for so long.

  8. Plastic bags are something I always wish I packed and never remember to! I’ve never run an out-of-town race so I am COPYING THIS LIST for my upcoming Napa-Sonoma half! Thanks so much!

  9. When I travel I always just use the motto, “as long as I have my CC, I can replace anything I forget” and even though I don’t waaaaant to spend any additional $$$$, it definitely puts my mind at ease :).

    GOOD LUCK ON SATURDAY! I am moving to Seattle in July so I am so excited to see pictures!!

  10. I almost never shower before a race, but on my last half I had to because I chased my dog for a mile or two before the race! The weather is looking good for Seattle this weekend. You should be fine in a tank top and leggings/capris. It’ll be chilly to start, but by the end of the race, you’ll be pretty warm. Last year/the year before, it was super hot on both days. I’m basically destined to never run the Seattle Rock n’ Roll, because some medical issue pops up (2013 – tonsillitis THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE; 2014 – tooth implant with 10 day rest period that ended on the exact day of the half). Your allergies may be out of whack because we have a lot of golden rod out here, so I’d pack allergy meds too. Good luck this weekend!

      1. Have you tried an of the new dry sprays? I love them. Dove is my favorite. It has a great sent and actually goes on dry and doesn’t leave any marks at all.

  11. I never shower before a race, but I also am not one of those people that needs a shower to wake up. I usually pack many days before since I’m adding to the bag continually with things that I forgot. I also always write out a list and make sure if I have to check a bag, all my race day essentials are in my carry on!

  12. Thanks for sharing this post. Everyone can now relate back to this list when they are away for a weekend race. Great that you have included the small things such as safety pins and hair elastic band. I saw someone make a comment about things that are replaceable, many things are apart from the important documents so anything you forget like toiletries most hotels will have them or you can go to the local store. You’ve not included anything about post race snack, would this not be something to pack in your case like a post exercise protein bar or are you just having post race meal later?

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