First-time participants often make the mistake of thinking that eating right and training hard is enough preparation to finish a race. But the truth is, these steps are nothing but a tiny fraction of the preparations you need to make beforehand.
Statistics show that there are about 570 marathons held in the United States every year. However, less than 0.5% of the US population has run a full marathon and reached the finish line. Given this data, we can see that finishing races are admittedly a challenging physical feat that few can overcome. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your goal to cross that finish line.
To reach the end of the race track, you have to build your stamina through physical training. Aside from that, you also need to have functional sportswear such as high-quality running socks and shoes to be able to perform at your best. Additionally, it’s also important to gather essential items that you may need during the race. That said, here is a complete list of all the necessary items you definitely must pack in your race bag.
1. Water and Container
Most marathons have water stations situated along the track where you can get refreshments in case you get thirsty in the middle of the race. However, it’s still a good idea to bring water and a moderate-sized container for drinking and refilling. This way, you won’t have to constantly stop and line up to get a drink. This does not just save you time, but it also keeps you hydrated all throughout the race.
2. Vaseline or Anti-chafe Sticks
Many first-timers are unaware that skin chafing actually happens when covering long-distance marathons. This occurs in areas near the seams of your racing outfit, which is why it would be smart to lather some Vaseline on your skin before the race. It’s also important to carry it with you in case you need some lubricant to relieve the pain from blisters that might form mid-race.
Needless to say, you’ll need a towel to wipe the sweat off your face. After all, it can be pretty annoying if sweat is constantly dripping near your eyes. A towel is also handy to have when you need to wipe your body off after the race, right before slipping into cleaner clothes.
4. Toilet Paper
Races have hundreds of participants, which is why it’s not surprising at all that portable toilets are quick to run out of toilet paper or tissue. For this reason, bringing a roll or a few feet of toilet paper in your bag can alleviate the stress of having to find some when using the toilet. Besides, you can also use some of it as a substitute for wiping sweat off your face/body in case your towel gets too drenched.
More often than not, marathon organizers prepare storage areas where participants can leave their belongings before the race. However, it’s not a good idea to leave valuables in these kinds of places. This is why participants are discouraged to bring gadgets and wallets. Yet, it’s important to at least have your phone and a little bit of cash with you in case of an emergency. If you’re bringing your phone during the race, make sure to have an armband as well.
Marathons usually take place around sunrise, which is why it can be quite handy to have accessories like sunglasses and visors to keep the sun out of your eyes. If you have long hair, it’s best to have a headband, hair tie, or a clip to hold your hair in place and prevent it from covering your face as well.
With the right mindset, even a first-time participant like you can reach the finish line. However, it does take a lot of effort and preparation to achieve that goal. Remember that gearing up properly is just as important as training your body. After all, a soldier should never enter a battlefield empty-handed, and neither should a racer run on a marathon without these essential items.