A few weeks ago as I prepared to run my first half marathon of the 2014 season, I grabbed my travel race bag just on a whim at the last-minute. Upon arriving at the race venue I was very thankful that I did. Temperatures were much cooler than I anticipated with my short-sleeved race shirt, I had not prepared to run with any long sleeves because the temps would warm up (so I thought) later during the race. In my travel race bag, which that Sunday race morning, became my Emergency Race Bag, I had several pairs of arm warmer sleeves that were heavy enough to warm me up, but also light enough to push down on my wrists during the race without being cumbersome. For my race partner the fact that I had several rolls of KT Pro Tape in my bag helped her prep her knees for the marathon since she was not wearing her compression pants due to the anticipated temperatures of the day ahead.
This prompted me to think, how many runners actually have an emergency bag that they grab with all the essentials for any possible scenario that may come up? And if they do, what exactly do/should they have in there? And if they don’t they should certainly consider putting one together!
For me, I put together my first race bag last February with the anticipation of being prepared for anything for my first half marathon. I purchased throw away ice packs, I brought KT Tape, I had Motrin and I also made sure to have my Sport Beans to place in my race belt on race day. But as the year passed, that bag seemed to grow to many more items, which most race weekends, I am happy to have one bag to commit to what may be the non-essentials for that race weekend, but they are there nonetheless, just in case.
Here is a short list of some of my items that I find myself grabbing for even when I least expect I will need them.
- KT Pro Tape – it sticks the best
- Throw away ice packs
- BioFreeze individual gel packs
- Blister band aids
- Gloves – I buy them cheap so I can throw them down on the race course if I need too
- Arm warmers – at least 2 pairs
- Compression socks and sleeves for post race recovery on the ride home
- GU Brew tabs for replacing my electrolytes during races
- Bottled water – In case I am in a race city with less than perfect drinking water
- Jar of Peanut Butter
- Package of nuts, usually almonds or macadamia nuts
- Instant coffee – I prefer the Starbucks VIA for those post race caffeine emergencies
- Plastic shopping bags for transporting my wet race clothes home
- Rubz roller ball for post run recovery when I cannot fit my Grid roller due to space constraints
- Extra set of earbuds
- Extra safety pins
I could go on and on, but those are some of the must-have items that I make sure are in my bag each week. This bag has saved me so many times, and it seems to keep growing each month and some items get eliminated or replaced. It’s all about keeping what helps me get through race day or race weekend right at my fingertips without having to search out a store that carries it.
Do you have a race bag that you keep stocked with items you may or may not need on race day or that you take with you on race travel weekends? What’s in your bag?