Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Packing for a marathon

I've never been particularly good about packing. Part of the reason, I think, is that I don't like making lists. This has gotten me into trouble, most notably when I went on a hike with two sets of raingear, but no spoon or cup (fair warning, I swear like a sailor in that blog post).

But given that I've been training for nearly a year for this marathon, I've decided to break down and make a list. A bit of googling for "marathon checklist" and "marathon packing list" came up with some examples, but not all of them seemed particularly well-thought-out. One list, for example, listed "running shoes" as an "essential" carry-on item, but suggested packing your shorts and singlet in your checked luggage. I mean, sure, if your luggage was lost, you could run a race naked, but where would you attach your bib? More than one list suggests Body Glide as a "might be handy" item. As in: If your thighs and nipples were chafed raw during the marathon, it might have been handy if you had packed the Body Glide.

I think I like the Runner's World checklists the best of the ones I found. They actually offer several different lists depending on how far you're travelling for the race. Here's my list, which takes their "overnight race" list and updates / refines it for my own needs (I removed "film" and added card reader to the camera item, for example!).

  • Race / Hotel / Flight / Car rental info in PDF on iPhone and computer
  • Body Glide
  • Band-aids
  • Sunscreen (in ziploc w/gels & toothpaste)
  • Fruit and Granola bars for flight (buy bottle of water at airport)
  • Camera / Card reader
  • Extra cash/credit cards
  • Street clothes and shoes
  • Toiletries including a travel-sized first aid kit
  • Watch with alarm for race-day wake-up
  • Buy food for race-day breakfast in advance when I arrive
  • Computer / iPad / cords / iPhone charger
  • Compression socks for flights/post-race/the race itself if it's colder than expected.
  • Shoes, orthotics if necessary
  • Singlet
  • Short-sleeve compression shirt
  • Long-sleeve compression shirt
  • Hat
  • Shorts
  • Spi-Belt to hold gels/bib
  • Compression underwear
  • Socks
  • Gloves, which will probably be tossed after a few miles if worn at all
  • GPS and charger
  • Racing prescription sunglasses. Contact lenses as backup.
  • Old sweats I can toss after a few miles
  • Gels - in easily accessible ziploc for security checkpoint!
  • Knee brace 
  • Extra socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts/pants
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Ibuprofen
  • Towel
  • Plastic bag for ice, dirty clothes, etc.
Tourism items:
  • Binoculars

I think I should be able to fit all this in a carry-on duffel bag plus a small computer bag. The nice thing about going to a big race with a giant expo and arriving two days early is that if there's something I forgot (or didn't know I needed), I can always buy it there.

Details of today's workout are below:

Today I continued to taper with an easy 5.66 miles. I met up with the DART group at CVS at 6:00. Unfortunately everyone wanted to do a different distance and pace. I ran with Marc at a 10:00 pace, and Chris and Adam ran ahead of us. Last week it was all I could do to keep up with Adam, so I felt bad that he didn't have a well-matched partner this morning -- Chris would be doing the short loop. But I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to go fast today, so I just ran my own pace with Marc. Hopefully Adam will keep showing up and I'll be able to stay with him a couple weeks down the line.

I felt great after the run, my legs are strong and well-rested, and I still have four days of tapering left before the race!

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