A Complete Checklist of Everything You Need Before, During, and After a Race

A Complete Checklist of Everything You Need Before, During, and After a Race
Photo: Mikael Damkier, Shutterstock

It’s race weekend. You’ve trained for months, putting in gruelling hours and surviving unseemly chafing. You’ve gotten through taper madness by making a mental plan (when to wake up, what to eat, what to wear). You finally get to the starting line only to realise — your watch isn’t charged. Or you’re wearing the wrong sports bra. Or worst of all: You forgot to clip your damn toenails.

Whether you’re travelling for a marathon in an unfamiliar city or gearing up for a local 5km, here’s your ultimate race weekend checklist.


  • Race confirmation
  • Hotel confirmation
  • Plane/train/travel tickets
  • Proof of vaccine or negative COVID test (double-check your specific race’s policies)
  • Mask (check your race’s policies — will masks be required during participant transportation, at the starting corrals, and/or during the course?)
  • ID (and passport if necessary)
  • Rain jacket (prepare for any weather, regardless of what the forecasters predict)
  • Headphones for the flight
  • Chargers for earbuds, watch, phone, etc.
  • Course map
  • Directions to race and number pick-up
  • Safety pins
  • Water bottle and hydration plan
  • Healthy, carbohydrate-laden snacks for travel
  • Area guide for restaurants and events
  • Extra cash or credit cards
  • Street clothes and shoes
  • Toiletries (including a travel-sized first aid kit)
  • Deodorant
  • Ear plugs
  • Travel alarm
  • Toilet paper (you never know)
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair bands (or whatever you need for your hair plan — two braids for me!)
  • Tweezers
  • Anything you want to download from home, such as your running playlist or race tracking apps (like RaceJoy, which your supporters will need to download, too)


  • Watch or GPS
  • Singlet/short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirt for race, as weather dictates
  • Sports bra
  • Shorts/tights for race, as weather dictates
  • Old sweatshirt or T-shirt you can toss after a few miles
  • Socks
  • Shoes (orthotics, if necessary)
  • Band-Aids or NipGuards, if necessary
  • Vaseline or other anti-chafing lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Hat or visor
  • Sunglasses
  • Gels or sports drink (ONLY if you’ve been training with them)
  • Energy bars (if you’ll be standing around for several hours before the race)
  • Fanny pack (if you run with one, in which case, you’re cooler than me)
  • Running belt, hydration vests (whatever you trained with)
  • Equipment check bag containing post-race gear (although many races provide this at the expo or bib pick-up)


  • Extra socks (including compression sleeves or socks)
  • Extra shirt and shorts/pants
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Food (if you won’t be fed at the post-race festivities)
  • Towel
  • Ibuprofen
  • Plastic bag for ice, dirty clothes, etc.
  • Someone to take a picture of you and your medal

When packing, keep in mind one of the most agreed-upon rules in the running community: Nothing new on race day. Don’t learn this the hard way by trying out a tasty new gel or by breaking in a fancy new piece of equipment. Trust us — and trust all the hard training you put into this race. You got this.

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