Packing Tips for your Marathon

For out of town races in particular, don’t wait until the night before you travel to collect and pack needed items. Rather, make a list of things you wish to take and begin getting them together in the days prior to your departure.
• Whether you’re running in your hometown marathon or traveling out of town, collect everything you need to take to the race site for your workout bag and have it ready the night before the race. Also, pin your race number to the front of your singlet or t-shirt. It’s a good idea to take along an extra roll of toilet paper in case there’s none remaining when you visit the bathroom or port-o-potty. You’ll have enough on your mind race morning, let alone worrying about items you need to wear or take to the starting line.
• Plan for all types of weather as conditions can change rapidly. It’s better to pack everything you might need rather than having to scurry around a new city looking for clothing and/or accessories at the last minute.
• For races held in cold conditions, consider bringing some clothing that you can discard during the race after you warm up.
• If you are traveling out town, be sure to pack healthy snack foods you may wish to eat the weekend of the marathon. Eliminate the need to search for a grocery store that stocks your favorite foods.
• Carry bottled water with you if you will be flying to your marathon destination. Flying at high altitudes can contribute to dehydration.
• If you’re traveling to an out of town race by air, it is extremely important that the running shoes and apparel you plan to wear for the marathon are packed in carry-on luggage so that in the event your baggage is lost or delayed by the airline, you will at least have these “essential” items with you.

Packing List

Keep in mind that the list below of possible items to pack is not all-inclusive. Factors such as weather conditions, food preferences, etc. are quite variable. Nevertheless, refer to the list, as an aid in helping you organize and pack needed items for the marathon.

Essential Gear – “Carry On” Luggage Items

• Running Shoes
• Socks

Other Possible Clothing Items

• Singlet
• Shorts
• Warm-Ups (Jacket and Long Pants)
• Sports Bra
• Gloves
• Hat
• T-Shirt (Long and Short Sleeve)
• Sweat Shirt
• Tights

Other Handy Items

• Body Glide, Skin Lube, or Vaseline
• Foot Powder
• Handkerchief
• Shoe Laces
• Workout Bag
• Lock for locker
• Towel
• Race Confirmation (to receive race number, if applicable)
• Ibuprofen
• Safety Pins
• Sweat Bands
• Analgesic Cremes (e.g., Ben Gay, Myoflex, etc.)

Possible* Food Items

• Power Bars
• Gel Energy Supplements
• Snack/Pre-Race Items (e.g., Bagels, Muffins, Fruit, etc.)
• Sports Drinks
• Bottled Water (especially for the airplane)

* Be sure that you have experimented with these or any other food items (during your training) prior to the marathon.

Thanks to State of the Art Marathon Training at for permission to publish this article. © by Art Liberman – All Rights Reserved
NOTE: The contents of this article may not be copied/reproduced (in whole or in part) or distributed (in any manner) without the expressed written consent of Art Liberman.