Never leave the house without these race day essentials.
Congratulations! You’ve signed up for a race (in my case, yet another race).
You’ve been training hard and you’re well on your way to smashing your PB. But what in the heck do you need to make sure you’re fully prepared for the big day?
I’ve got you covered! As a race veteran, from 5k to half marathon, I’ve forgotten so many things on race day. I’ve made these mistakes so you don’t have to!
Related post: Top Race Day Hacks
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If you only buy one piece of running gear let it be the running belt.
They’re small enough to not be too obnoxious while you’re running but have awesome pockets big enough to fit even your large smartphone.
I use this very affordable yet durable running belt every time I head out for a run. It’s big enough for my keys, iPhone 7 plus and there’s also a neat little hole for your headphones to fit through.
Bib Fastener + Race Bib
Safety pins are so 1849 (the year they were invented!).
If you’re not a fan of having tons of safety pins everywhere (seriously, they’re in my car, purse, handbag everywhere) and you haven’t mastered how to fasten them relatively un-wonky, check out what the all the cool kids are wearing, behold the magnetic bib fastener.
A really cheap piece of kit that will last you through years of races, the magnetic bib fastener comes in so many different styles and colours you’re bound to find one that fits your running personality perfectly.
If you’ve got long hair, I’d highly recommend taking along a hair tie.
Someone’s only gone an invented a hair tie that doesn’t leave a line through your hair when you take it down (perfect for post-race selfies) and won’t tangle either!
There’s nothing worse than starting out running and realising you haven’t got anything to tie your hair back with… and it’s boiling… and you have to race x amount of miles feeling like a sweaty long haired afghan hound. I always regret not bringing one even on the colder days.
Sports tape can help if you’re suffering from a minor injury that you’re trying to keep at bay.
Sometimes this is on my list of race essentials if I have an injury flare up. In particular, I have had issues in the past with the back of my knee and taping it up has helped immensely (my physio showed me the best places to put it).
There are tons of instructional videos on YouTube on how to use sports tape and how it can help you, so have a look through some videos and see if you think a little sports tape might help you or ask a physio for advice.
Set out your running clothes the night before to avoid last minute panics of ‘where
Don’t scrimp on your running socks, they’re just as important as your running shoes.
While these aren’t technically running socks, I bought this pack of 6 unicorn socks and they are perfect for running in! They stay up, they’re comfortable and they can withstand any amount of mud and running.
If you’re looking for something a little more running-specific and a little less unicorn-like, check out these coloured cushioned running socks.
They’re ergonomically shaped for your left and right foot and they’re
designed specifically for the comfort of runners.
Set Paces on your Garmin
If you have a Garmin Sports Watch like I do (I’ve been wearing the Garmin Fenix 5s for the past year) it’s a smart idea to set your paces on your watch the night before so you’re not scrabbling around just before the gun goes off.
There are 2 ways I use my Garmin to pace my races. I’ll either set a ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ pace and it will alert when you’re running too slow/ fast or I’ll set it to training mode and let that tell me whether I’m on track.
Read my full review of the Garmin Fenix 5s here
Related post: Pretty Garmin Watch Faces for Girls
If you’re anything like me, I’m constantly thinking about food, snacks, post meal snacks, in between snack snacks and so on!
But I’m also not great at eating much of a meal before a race, sometimes I’m way too nervous and just can’t stomach anything (which isn’t ideal), so I make sure that I’ve got a couple of bananas.
I also enjoy the Bounce Energy Balls and I’ll take a gel or two with me for during the race if it’s a half marathon.
Try out in training different snacks and take any that you feel have worked best for you.
More and more races don’t allow headphones these days and often race instructions will say if they have banned them and you’re caught using them you’ll be disqualified so make sure you double check before using them.
If they are permitted, don’t forget to add these to your race kit the night before, you never know how handy your power song might be.
Ok so let’s get real here, sometimes you don’t feel great before, during or after a race. I used to get this a lot when I first started out running.
My stomach used to do somersaults after I’d finished a race and it’s not always ideal when you’re at a race to find somewhere to nip to the bathroom.
Even now, I will always keep an Imodium in my car or sometimes in my running belt just in case. You can also buy
Charge your Gadgets
It would be awfully disappointing if your Garmin ran out half way through a race, and equally if your mp3 (my phone) player ran out of battery at the crucial moment. I put these on charge before I go to bed on race eve.
Running Spotify Playlist
If you are permitted to listen to music I’d highly recommend creating a running playlist.
Put all of those awesome songs which just give you the confidence and drive to really push yourself.
Make sure that you make it long enough though, there’s nothing worse than your playlist coming to an end a few minutes before the finish line and you were counting on that last song to get you through the pain!
Back to my Garmin Fenix 5s again, what did I do before I had one!?
If you don’t know what this is, you can input an email address into the Garmin Connect app and as soon as you press start and have a GPS signal, it will ping an email to your designated email address and they can track you in real time as to your whereabouts from this link.
I use this mostly in the winter so that someone knows I got home safe but I also use it for my races for any spectators that have come with me. It means that they know roughly when I’m going to finish and don’t have to wait by the finish line for too long.
Maintain those toes
There are not many things I hate as much as looking at feet and I’m baulking at the thought of even talking about them (don’t get me wrong, I also love them).
I can’t even tell you how many times I’m at the start line of a race and it is apparent to me that my toenails are
I’d recommend doing a little maintenance on those tootsies before you hop into bed the night before just to make sure. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I’m the type of person that can’t plan too far ahead. There’s too much going on in my head and I can’t fill it with more information than I absolutely have to (it’s full of Friends quotes mostly).
The night before a race, check the race information you’ve got and plan your journey.
Try and give yourself around an hour to be at race HQ before it starts and account for traffic and getting lost (which only happens to me every time).