I have had a few days annual leave this week and have been using some of my free time to think ahead to things I need to sort ready for April - marathon month. Yes, I am being very organised, but as I will be in America supporting my friend run the Boston Marathon only a few days before my own London Marathon, I do not want to leave anything last minute. No one needs to be stressing a few days before race day!
This will be my fourth marathon and I now feel reasonably confident with what I need to pack for the day. I can however remember being so nervous prior to my first marathon about what I needed to take and scared I might forget something crucial. Here are a few tips I have picked up along the way;
1) Packing List
Make a list of what you need for the marathon - do not take anything for granted! I sit and think through the day, getting ready to run, running itself, post run celebrations etc. and note everything that is involved. This includes the obvious - running trainers - to something you may not immediately think of, like making sure you have something different to put on your feet after finishing the marathon (a pair of flip flops are often recommended!) just in case your feet are not in the best of states!
2) Old Jumper/Bin Bags
Dig around and find on old hoody or jumper you no longer care about which you can wear on race morning. After you have said goodbye to your bag at the baggage drop you do not want to be left standing in a tiny vest and shorts for ages, waiting to start and getting cold. I have exhausted my old jumper stock now, so tend to pick a jumper up from a cheap shop like Primark. I keep this jumper on until literally a minute or so before the start, then toss it to the side. Some people also wear their jumper for a few miles into the race until they have warmed up fully. Charities collect the discarded clothing so do not fear about it being wasted! I also pack bin bags in case its raining on race day, as these can offer additional, cheap waterproof shelter whilst waiting to start.
3) Loo Roll
This is something I have gradually realised is a 'must pack' item. After queuing for ages to use a portaloo its often the case that there is no toilet roll left after hundreds of other runners have done their business before you. Having some toilet roll or spare tissues to hand can help make the trip just a little more pleasant!
4) Portable Chargers
I do not listen to music or use any form of app whilst running, but I know that my mobile phone's battery will be flagging after the marathon. After an early start, responding to good luck messages, posting start line selfies to social media, and then trying to get in contact with people at the finish line,there will definitely not be much life left in my iPhone. If you are planning on using your phone during the marathon then I doubt you will have much battery left at all! Portable phone chargers are fab; small devices which can hold a lot of charge and are not too expensive buy. They can bring a phone back to life and ensure you can share your marathon achievement with loved ones.
5) Expo Trainers/Shoes
On the day before a marathon the last thing you need is to make your feet sore or blistered through poor footwear choice. It may not look the height of fashion matching a pair of brightly coloured trainers with normal clothing, but I always wear a pair of older running shoes as I walk around. It keeps my feet comfy and also seems to act as a bit of marathon runner identity (you will probably be able to spot people at the expo who are running through their footwear choices!) You will also unintentionally cover a lot of ground looking around the Expo or even if you are just traveling around London, so be mindful of planning too much in the day before you run!
6) Post Run Treat
A fellow runner once advised me to pack something you will enjoy for after the race, a little treat. It might also be something to think of in those final miles! Although I was not in the best of moods after finishing the Manchester Marathon I do remember being able to raise a smile as both my friend and family had bought me maltesers - my absolute weakness! The included photo is of me after the London Marathon in 2015, in a happier mood, and sipping on a celebratory drink my friends had surprised me with. So maybe drop some packing hints to your supporters too!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...