What to Pack for a Destination Race [+ a Vega Giveaway!]

what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

Races are a great excuse to visit a place (Tokyo Marathon is on my running bucket list, personally).  When my good friend Kay offered me the chance to travel to Vancouver to run Seawheeze obviously the only answer was yes, right? I have wanted to visit Vancouver for a while now, I wanted to run Seawheeze but couldn’t pull the trigger on signing up without knowing I would have a friend going with me (says the girl who loves traveling alone) and Kay is one of my favorite people so I couldn’t say no to a weekend of running, yoga and Lululemon.

Besides races in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, I’ve run a few races in other places – DC, Ragnar, and a few in Georgia/Florida/Virginia before I started blogging. I usually write out a list of everything I need for race day since I’m such a basket case about my pre- and post-race routines.

This list is meant for race-essential things. Obviously I hope you know to pack street clothes and other things like that. Also, pack all these things in your carry-on bag. If you put your running essentials in your checked bag when flying to a destination race, you’re asking for trouble.

What to Pack for a Destination Race

what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

My Race Day Destination Race Essentials

Race Day:

  • Top: I usually always wear a Nike Dry Fit Tank.
  • Bottoms: Lululemon Speed Shorts, always.
  • Shoes: I race in Mizuno Wave Riders 18. I might wear my Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 this weekend though.
  • Socks: I totally forgot my favorite socks when I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon. Make sure you pack the ones you want.
  • Sports Bra: Typically Lululemon Free to Be or Free to Be Wild (pictured). They leave funny tan lines (warning) and are made for yoga but I’m basically flat chested so… I don’t need much support.
  • Hat/Sunglasses: Self explanatory. I don’t run in sunglasses but I also forgot my hat during Pittsburgh and immediately regretted it. It keeps the sweat out of your eyes.
  • Arm Band
  • Garmin (and charger!): I use a Garmin 10 and it’s the most basic model. It’s perfect for what I need day-to-day – milage, pace, time of day and time running.
  • Hydration Belt/Race Belt (if you wear one): I don’t (anymore)
  • Throwaway Clothes (if the race is going to be cold)
  • Sunscreen: UV protection is no joke.
  • Gels: I’ve used the Vega Endurance Gel (pictured) because it’s all natural… it’s date based, not sucralose or whatever based. I use Gu as well – honestly, whatever sounds good that morning.
  • Pre-Race Food: Lately I’ve been eating gluten-free toast with a banana and peanut butter before a race. I used to eat oatmeal – it’s really whatever I’m feeling that morning, but both work for me. Oatmeal is great because you can pack it and make it in a hotel room with the coffee machine. Justin’s makes individual nut butter packets you can take and uh, if you have to have me tell you where to buy/how to pack a banana there’s bigger issues at hand.
what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

Race day essential foods!

Pack these things in your checked bag

  • Post-Race Recovery Food/Hydration: I always have a shake of coconut water/almond milk/some mixture of the two and Vega Sport Performance Protein after a race/long run. I’m rarely as sore the next day and it helps curb the runger/gives me a ton of protein. I’ll also drink Vega Post-Work Out Recovery Accelerator or Nuun.
  • Compression Socks: Might be the placebo effect but wearing them makes me less sore the next day typically. Especially when flying – my toes turn into Vienna Sausages (ew).
  • Change of clothes (including under things!) and deodorant: Duh.
  • ShowerPillThese basically make you feel like you took a shower. Obsessed.
  • Flip-flops or comfy, open-toed shoes: Forgot these during the San Francisco Half-Marathon and regretted it from the time I realized it at mile 11.

My friends at Vega are helping me celebrate Seawheeze this weekend by giving away a Marathon Training Kit that is worth over $300! It includes two Performance Proteins, Pre-Workout Energizer, Post-Work Out Recovery Accelerator and Hydrator (think calorie free Gatorade or Nuun that you put into your water).

Vega Sport Bundle - Full Marathon | almost getting it together

Win this Vega Sport Bundle – Full Marathon below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re looking to win other things this week, head over to Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds for even more giveaways.

This post has affiliate links – thanks for supporting the brands that I love! Vega provided the giveaway but I love the brand and mission so all opinions are my own!

Chat with me:
Have you ever ran a destination race? What are things you must pack? Do you have any race-day rituals?

48 comments on “What to Pack for a Destination Race [+ a Vega Giveaway!]

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on August 10, 2015 7:46 am

All of my big races have been destination races! I’m pretty practiced at it now. I don’t even know what to do with myself if I stay in my own bed the night before!
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Weekend Recap! Feeling, Eating, LIVINGMy Profile

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Janelle @ Run With No Regrets on August 10, 2015 9:04 am

This is great! I am still hoping to branch out farther to some destination races…California would be amazing!
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…2015 Warrior Dash NJ RecapMy Profile

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Hilary on August 10, 2015 9:57 am

When I ran my marathon in Cleveland I made sure I had race day essentials, my shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, my race pack to carry my fuel and phone, headphones, and of course race day food! Nothing can throw me off more than not having my usual pre-race food!
Hilary recently posted…My Lately’sMy Profile

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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on August 10, 2015 11:04 am

Oh girl have an absolute blast!!!

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paige c on August 10, 2015 11:12 am

I need comfortable clothes, usually nike pro spandex and a nike sports bra and a loose tank top, plus compression sleeves, sneakers, snacks that I know don’t upset my stomach and lots of hair ties!

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Jill on August 10, 2015 11:33 am

I would make sure not to forget my ear buds. They are the one item that I usually forget. Thanks for the giveaway.

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Lauren on August 10, 2015 12:02 pm

SO jealous you are going to Seawheeze! Great packing list as well. I always make sure to have snacks and pre-race fuel!

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Nichole on August 10, 2015 12:13 pm

awesome giveaway!

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Ange @ Cowgirl Runs on August 10, 2015 12:15 pm

My mental packing list as I’m heading out the door is “shoes, clothes, garmin”. The rest I can usually, find/buy.
Soooooo pumped I’ll get to finally meet you on Friday!!
Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Marathon Training Recap (week 3)My Profile

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Amanda F on August 10, 2015 12:23 pm

Headphones, nuun, and prerace breakfast for sure! Some races you have to get up so early the hotel isn’t serving yet. I’m starting up training for another half. Will have to grab the Vega gel to give a try.

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Dayana on April 21, 2016 3:01 am

Slam dunkin like Shaquille O’Neal, if he wrote iniramotfve articles.

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Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl on August 10, 2015 12:39 pm

I definitely have the pack it all in my carry-on down. In fact, unless I am leaving for at least one week, I try to ONLY bring a carry-on!
Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl recently posted…Weekly Workouts and Updates 8/3-8/10My Profile

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liz l on August 10, 2015 12:59 pm

All race items in carry on- shoes, costume, oofos, socks, gu, garmin/charger, sports bra

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Leah Jones on August 10, 2015 1:15 pm

I’ve learned to bring clothes for every weather possibility! Sadly, just wishing it was warm is not enough for race day!

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Annmarie on August 10, 2015 3:15 pm

Having proper fuel is a MUST! I recently went overnight somewhere and had to do a long run while I was there- totally forgot food,fuel, protein- it was a nightmare!!!
Annmarie recently posted…Meatless Monday: Super Greens Ice Cream {gluten, dairy, soy free}My Profile

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Judith on August 10, 2015 3:18 pm

I definitely need to have my post-workout smoothie!

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Jo @ Living Mint Green on August 10, 2015 3:44 pm

Ahhh I’m so excited that you get to experience Vancouver (and SeaWheeze!) soon. You’re going to love it.
Ange and I were talking about you on the weekend and I was telling her how much I want to meet you in real life.

Enjoy your trip, missy! And good luck at the race. You’re going to do AWESOME! :)
Jo @ Living Mint Green recently posted…Farmers Market + An Unexpected 5k Race!My Profile

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Crissi on August 10, 2015 3:59 pm

My destination race must-haves…Nike Rival shorts, VS Sport Bra, inspirational running shirt, Pro Compression Socks, Beats Head phones, and my fanny pouch for my running essentials likes Chapstick, Goo and gum! I love to travel for races however I am usually beat the next day! Pasta the day prior too… Race Day Rituals would be coffee in the morning to get things moving… half a banana and half a peanut butter toast.

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Emily @Sinful Nutrition on August 10, 2015 5:20 pm

Always bring my tried and true pre-race foods and fuel, running outfit, and post-race flip flops! My feet thank me. :)
Emily @Sinful Nutrition recently posted…Scotch Egg Breakfast BurgerMy Profile

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Rebecca on August 10, 2015 8:28 pm

Great information, I always love to read/hear about what race-day foods and gear are helpful to other runners. Thanks for sharing!
Rebecca recently posted…Summer Socca, Grains of SandMy Profile

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jennifer on August 10, 2015 9:44 pm

I’m planning my first destination race and this is very useful! I’m afraid I’ll forget my sneakers!

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Lisa V on August 10, 2015 10:36 pm

I’ve never done a destination race, I loved reading about what to bring!

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Susan K on August 10, 2015 11:08 pm

I always make sure to have some flip flops to change into after the race!

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Tessa on August 11, 2015 4:10 am

I bring one of everything. Clothes for any type of weather. And all my accessories. Would rather have too much than not enough!

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JW on August 11, 2015 9:17 am

Comfortable clothes and my music!
JW recently posted…When I Say I’m Fat…My Profile

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DJ on August 11, 2015 10:04 am

Definitely, a great pair of shoes, sunscreen, and a hat.

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Elle on August 11, 2015 10:11 am

I have never done a destination race either… I always pack my running gear when I travel but have never travelled specifically to race. Hope you loved Vancouver!
Elle recently posted…Get Lean Gluten Free Cookbook ReviewMy Profile

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Trevor E on August 11, 2015 1:34 pm

Amaze! Only a couple days till you get to come to Vancouver. Are you excited yet?

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Shamira West on August 11, 2015 2:56 pm

Great post!! I really want to run a marathon one day, but I am so not the running type!
Shamira West recently posted…9 Things I Started Doing, Because I Love MyselfMy Profile

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Allison on August 11, 2015 3:43 pm

Race gear for all weather is a must!

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Heather @ HeatherRunsFast.com on August 12, 2015 10:40 am

My must haves list is identical to yours! And I always bring food because you never know what your options will be!
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Smitha @ RunningwithSDMom on August 12, 2015 11:38 am

I carry my Vega with me every where I go too! It is great for a morning snack or post run…even on vacation. I love th single serve packs!

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Amy Lauren on August 12, 2015 2:10 pm

I always take my camera for pics and also my pre-race breakfast in case the hotel doesn’t have anything I want to eat.
Amy Lauren recently posted…Training for Fall Races (August 3-9)My Profile

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Laura Royal on August 12, 2015 3:13 pm

shoes and a great costume.

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steph on August 12, 2015 8:53 pm


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Monica on August 12, 2015 9:04 pm

My must haves are my husband, my Hokas, Injinji socks, and a good supportive running bra. Everything else is negotiable. :)

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Jordan D. on August 12, 2015 9:27 pm

I haven’t done a destination race, but I’d definitely have to pack my best running gear, Nuun, larabars, and Natural Calm magnesium for recovery!

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Jenn on August 12, 2015 10:37 pm

I’ve never traveled more than an hour for a race, but I have stayed overnight (thank you, RunDisney!) My race day must haves are good shoes (currently alternating between Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s and Hoka OneOne Stinton Lites), Balega socks, compression sleeves, a Sparkle Skirt, a tech top, and a headband or visor. Recovery involves ProCompression Marathon Socks and Oofoos. I’m still testing nutrition and hydration strategies, and I always forget about pre-race nutrition!

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Maryann D. on August 13, 2015 5:10 am

Comfortable clothing, and sunscreen and afterwards a cool drink.

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Kimberly on August 13, 2015 7:59 am

I always need my Nathan handheld, Nuun and fuel (either a gel or gummy snacks). I’m hoping to do more destination races in the future!

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Megan T. on August 13, 2015 9:22 am

I sadly have never done a destination race…but I imagine I would overpack and bring just about anything I could think of!

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Chelsea on August 13, 2015 12:54 pm

I always pack gear for all weather. You never know what could happen when you’re on the road.
Chelsea recently posted…Air Force Half Marathon Training: Week 6My Profile

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Chris on August 13, 2015 1:10 pm

I always make sure to have my headphones, my Garmin, and of course some Run Guard.
Chris recently posted…Back Of The Pack Runner tackles The San Francisco MarathonMy Profile

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Steph D. on August 13, 2015 9:50 pm

A good hat, water, protein bar or powder supplement for before/after, comfy clothes, supportive sneakers! I love the company Vega, I have tried their chocolate protein before and I fell in love!

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Bradley on the Run on August 13, 2015 11:34 pm

I won’t be running the SeaWheeze in my hometown this weekend because I’m ALSO travelling for a race! I’m up in Yellowknife right now, and will be running the half marathon on Sunday. Have fun in Vancouver!

I really hope this giveaway includes Canada…esp. since Vega is a Canadian company! Fingers crossed!!
Bradley on the Run recently posted…VanRace Giveaway! Conquer the Wall!My Profile

[…] so excited and also feeling like I completely forgot something. I think writing this post on things to pack for a destination race helped remind me of a few things (i.e. hat). Plus, if you haven’t entered yet, I’m […]

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Ben T on August 14, 2015 8:30 am

Gotta have my Janji singlet, my Nuun, and of course shoes!

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Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More on August 15, 2015 10:39 pm

I would love to run a destination race!
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