Your Essential Destination Race Packing Guide

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

By: Amanda Folk

You have picked your goal race for the year. You’re going somewhere fun for the race and you tell everybody about it. Your training plan is in place and you are killing the workouts. But when it comes time for that destination race, are you prepared for the trip?

Now you absolutely will be with our essential destination race packing guide. Keep these tips in mind to pack for success!


Check the weather: Assuming you already have running clothes for any weather in your closet, start looking at weather forecasts one week before the race (or when you leave for the race). Take note of any potential rain or wind in the forecast. If you look any sooner than this, just know that it will change approximately 20 times before race day!

Organize your gear: Lay out your clothes (and accessories!) two days before you leave. This will give you ample time to run out to the store to get anything you might be missing or do one last load of laundry before you leave for your trip. If you need help weather-proofing your run for the cold, we’ve got you covered.

As a general rule - don’t dress TOO warmly! Remember you’ll be racing your heart out, so you want layers you can easily shed if you’re racing in the cold. Oh…I see, you’re the lucky duck racing in a WARM destination? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too.

Protect your skin: Remember the sunscreen, even if you’re heading to a cold weather race! Keep your skin happy while you’re racing. Just make sure that you stay under the allowed liquid amount if you’re flying and bringing it in your carry on. Lots of brands make bottles in 3oz or less, but check specific TSA guidelines before you head out.

Travel Day

Don't forget your shoes: This is where those nightmares of destination races come in: wear your running shoes on the plane/in the car/however you are getting to the race location! This will prevent you forgetting your shoes, packing the wrong shoes, or packing two left shoes (don’t ask - we’ve seen it before!). While we’re at it, combat potential lost luggage and pack your race day outfit in your carry on.

Bring your Gu with you: Are you worried about your race day fuel? Don’t be! Just bring it from home. For destination races, we don’t suggest waiting until the expo to stock up - especially if you’re racing in another country. Your favorite brand or flavor might not be there and you don’t want to mess with nutrition on race day. Instead, pack race fuel in your carry on.

Snacks on snacks on snacks: The airport (or the highway) can be a fun place, but sometimes not for pre-race stomachs. Tuck some snacks into your carry on/car to help you fight hunger without digging into a greasy sandwich. We love Lara Bars, bananas and Justin’s nut butter, or good ol’ trail mix to fight off the hanger!

Hydrate: Don’t forget, too, that traveling can dehydrate you - not what you want for race day! Bring a water bottle with you for the trip, just make sure it is empty before you go through security if you are flying! You can fill it up at a water fountain or ask a bartender to do so once you are through. Bonus points if you bring some Nuun tablets to add some flavor!

Post Travel

Congratulations! You absolutely crushed your race goals. Before you head home, have a good stretch session, especially if you have to sit on a plane or in a car for a long time. Ideally you would get a full body stretch in but at LEAST give some love to your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

Recover: If you want an extra dose of recovery for your trip home, we suggest you pack a pair of compression socks. They’re great to wear in a car or on a plane to keep your legs feeling nice and loose. If you feel self conscious about wearing them, just wear your brand-spankin’-new race medal too. Count the congratulations!

Amanda has her M.S. in exercise physiology, but spends most of her free time talking about travel. She thrives on vitamin D, endorphins, and jumping pictures. Check out her blog, Chasing My Sunshine, for more travel stories and come say hi on Twitter.

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