Last Saturday, I ran the Rabbit Ramble, the annual four miler in Guilderland that I always imagine will celebrate Easter by providing a sunny shirt-sleeve morning and the aroma of blooming spring flowers. None of this is ever true. Hence, why I always have to imagine. I know from experience that the weather on Easter weekend can be changeable and I ignored common sense believing that it would warm up by the start of the race. So, I decided to go light and only wear shorts and a singlet. This was a mistake. Gusting winds dropped the temperature well below my personal “wearing shorts” comfort zone and although I own great gear for all weather conditions, I had neglected to bring along one critical piece: running tights. Luckily, I had brought along a long-sleeve shirt, leaving only my legs subject to the icy blasts. By the last mile I was having trouble feeling my legs at all – which might have been a plus, all things considered.
As I was thawing out after the race, I had some time to reflect on one of the basics that I had ignored at the price of my own discomfort: packing the gear bag on race day. A good gear bag can get you through many a running emergency (like no toilet paper in the port-a-potty or unexpected polar winds).
Of course, your bag’s contents will change between the seasons or depending on the length of the event you’re running. I recommend packing it the night before your race, so you don’t have to scurry about early in the morning looking for your lucky socks –– for me, that would be Feetures Elites. Here’s a good checklist for our variable spring season.
- Water bottle (filled up with water, Nunn, or Gatorade!)
- Wind shell jacket
- Running tights (I really could have used these last Saturday.)
- Running gloves
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Dry socks
- Kleenex and other hygiene supplies
- Gu, Sport Beans, Shot Bloks, or other pre-race nutrition
- Massage stick
- Safety pins
- First aid stuff (Band-Aids, ice pack, Rock Tape)
- Plastic bag/funk trapper for sweaty clothing
- Money for post-race ice cream or beer
Did I leave anything out? What are your race-day essentials? What’s in your bag?