Packing List for Marathon Running

man packing suitcase
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In the days before your marathon, you're most likely going to be nervous and anxious, so you start packing early, especially if the marathon is out of town. Get all your shopping (for gels, food, etc) done several days before you leave, so you're not rushing around the day before the race.

Follow this marathon packing list to make sure you don't forget something important, like your running shoes.

Essential Items (In Your Carry-On Bag If You're Flying)

  • Running shoes
  • Running socks
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical insurance card
  • Identification (passport if the marathon is out of the country)
  • Race entry confirmation (if necessary)
  • Travel itinerary with confirmations and directions

Possible Clothing Items

Check the weather prediction to see what kind of conditions to expect. But don't assume that the weather forecast is correct — you should be prepared for weather that's 20 degrees F warmer and 20 degrees F colder than the predicted temperature.

  • Singlet
  • Short-sleeve running shirt
  • Shorts
  • Long-sleeve running shirt
  • Arm warmers or knee socks to wear on your arms when you're waiting at the start
  • Sports bra
  • Running hat or visor
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat (to wear at the start or during race if it's cold)
  • Second pair of running shoes (for walking around before the marathon)
  • Throw-away long-sleeve t-shirt and sweatpants (to warm up at the start of the race and then throw away once you warm up)
  • Tights or other running pants
  • Warm clothes to put on at the race finish
  • Flip flops to slip on after the race

Other Useful Items

  • Body Glide or Vaseline to prevent chafing
  • Big plastic garbage bag (to sit on while you're waiting or wear if it's raining at the start)
  • Tissues or toilet paper (in case they run out at the Port-a-Johns at the start)
  • Sunglasses
  • Safety pins for your race bib
  • Running watch with GPS or ability to take splits
  • Any paperwork required for race check-in
  • Race number if it was mailed to your prior to the race
  • Timing chip if it was mailed to your prior to the race
  • Sunscreen
  • Hydration bottle holder (if you plan on using one)
  • Fanny pack or running belt (to hold race fuels and other items)
  • Band-aids
  • Foam roller, Stick, or other massage tools

Possible Food Items

You'll want to pack foods that you've already experimented with before and during your training runs. Remember the golden rule of racing: Nothing new on race day! Don't assume that you'll be able to buy specific energy gels, bars, or other food at the race expo. It's better to buy them ahead of time and pack them, so you're guaranteed to have the foods that you like and you've trained with in the past.

  • Bottled water
  • Race fuels (energy bars, gels, sport beans, or other foods that you've been training with)
  • Snacks/breakfast foods (e.g., bagels, pretzels, muffins, fruit, etc.) If you're flying, be sure to put some snacks in your carry-on bag so you can snack on the plane.
  • Sports drinks
  • Salt packets or tablets (if you used them in training)
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