You trained. You tapered. Race day is right around the corner – all that’s left to do is pack. Only one question remains. Where to start?
A 100-mile race is an ambitious undertaking. Depending on your target event, you could potentially be on your feet for 48 hours straight. A lot can happen in 48 hours. Here is a breakdown of how to pack for a successful race.
Chances are you’ve had your eye on your target 100 for a while. Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to packing. At least one week in advance, start laying out a list of what you think you may need on race day. Be specific.
You can easily add or remove items throughout the week before you sit down to stuff your drop bags. Run the list by your crew and pacer to see if they have any input or suggestions.
You’ll reduce the chance of forgetting something important and feel at ease when it’s time to load up your gear the night before the event.
Autumn is a tricky time of year for long events. October can bring scorching temperatures or freezing cold rain that’ll have you shaking in your Lily Trotters. Check the weather for your event several days out. Plan accordingly.
Fall is also notorious for having gorgeous days followed by chilly nights. In a 100-mile event, you will likely be walking for a good portion of your later miles. Bring warm layers such as a hat, gloves, a fleece, or tights to ensure you’re covered.
Rain in your forecast? What about several days before? Muddy trails are a blast, but after long hours, your drenched feet will start to beg for mercy. Consider keeping an extra pair of shoes and socks on hand to slip into just in case.
Regardless of the weather, it’s a good idea to bring an extra base layer. During the day you may sweat more and drench your clothes, which will leave your teeth chattering at night when your pace slows.
The average woman will burn more than 9,000 calories in a 100-mile event. For perspective, that’s more than five times the recommended daily caloric intake according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Plan out your nutrition before race day, at least roughly, to get an idea of exactly how and when you will need to refuel. Bring extra fuel in case things don’t go as planned and you’re out on the course longer than expected.
Remember those cool new gels you’ve been meaning to try? Save them for your next training run. Race day isn’t the time to experiment with something new. Stick to what you know worked in your long training runs and previous events to avoid any unwanted GI issues.
Just because the temperatures dropped doesn’t mean you’re going to stop sweating. You need to properly rehydrate to avoid cramping and bonking.
Consider the time you’ll be on your own between aid stations. Will you be out for less than two hours? You should be all right with water bottles. More than that? Invest in a pack.
Electrolyte tabs and drink mixes are a great way to replace lost electrolytes and add a few extra calories. Stick with the brands you’re familiar with and pack some extra in your drop bags.
Pack as though you’ll be out on the course right until the cutoff. This may mean making it through a chilly evening, only to have temperatures rise again when the sun comes out. Bring an extra set of batteries for your headlamp or flashlight, or even an extra light in case.
Heading out on mountainous terrain? Consider trekking poles for when your legs go wobbly after mile 60. They’re great for maintaining balance on steep, technical downhills.
Go over aid stations and a race plan with your crew. Make sure they know where your items are located. Make it easy for them to find what you might need. Label bags and totes for easy item access.
Running solo? Pack your drop bags based on where you think you may be. Wear a pack so you can carry extra gear you may need between aid stations.
Remember, small problems that crept up during shorter runs can turn a 100-mile attempt into a DNF quickly. Plan to have quick remedies on hand, such as band-aids, pain-killers, body-glide, toilet paper and extra batteries in case of an unexpected emergency.
Lay out recovery gear and equipment before your race. Afterwards, you’ll likely be too tired and sore to dig for it. Keep a foam roller on hand, some Epsom salts, and maybe treat yourself to a full body massage.
Post event, rest and refueling will be your number one priority. Stock up on healthy food options before race day to avoid unnecessary runs to the grocery store.
Don’t forget to pack your favorite pair of Lily Trotters. You planned to race in style. Your recovery should follow suit.
With a little preparation, you’ll be unstoppable during your 100-mile race.
About the Author: Stephanie Dar is a Lily Trotters Ambassador, New Yorker, author of THIS blog on all things trail running and an all-around #unstoppable woman.
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