Marathon packing checklist

Marathon training means long runs, early mornings, and plenty of sacrifice along the way. So, when it comes down to the big day, make sure you’re ready with the right marathon gear.

You should begin thinking about your marathon day gear as soon as you begin your training regimen. That’s because you should never try anything new before the opening gun — don’t buy a new pair of shoes or sport a new pair of running leggings. Stick to what you know.

With the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon quickly approaching, make sure you have all your essentials, from the right pair of sunglasses to friction-free sport socks. Get your bag together with our marathon gear checklist.

Video: How to Pack for a Marathon | UPMC HealthBeat

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Marathon Item Checklist

  • Tank top, short sleeve shirt, or long sleeve shirt, as dictated by race-day weather, made from moisture-wicking fabrics, such as polyester or poly-blends (remember to dress for the temperature at the finish, not the temperature at the start)
  • Shorts or cropped pants, also made of moisture-wicking material
  • Sports bra
  • Socks made from a wicking material (no cotton!)
  • Tried and tested running shoes (if your shoes have too many miles on them, now is the time to go to a local running store and get fitted for a new pair)
  • Hat or visor
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Petroleum jelly, body glide, or other anti-chafing lotion
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • GPS watch if you use one (make sure to charge it the night before)
  • Gels or sports drink if you have been training with them (these will be provided on the course, but make sure you try the ones being offered on the course before race day to avoid any stomach issues)
  • Throw-away shirt/pants to stay warm at the start (these are collected by race officials and donated to charity)
  • Adhesive bandages/nip guards
  • Safety pins
  • Race bib with emergency contact information filled out

Things to Put in Your Marathon Gear-Check Bag

  • Sandals or flip-flops so you can take your running shoes off when you’re done
  • Your preferred post-race sports drink or snack
  • Wet wipes to get the gritty salt feeling off of your face
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel, if rain is in the forecast
Marathon race day checklist

Packing Tips for Marathon Race Day

  • Lay out your race day clothes ahead of time — this will help you to not forget anything in the morning, especially if you are feeling nervous about the race.
  • Try not to spend too much time on your feet walking around the marathon expo.
  • Eat dinner earlier than usual the night before the race and try to go to bed early.
  • Set your alarm for the morning to give yourself enough time to eat breakfast and only eat something that you have already tested and has worked well for you in the past — nothing new on race day.
  • Arrive early to the race start so that you can use the bathroom, get in your corral, and find your pacer.
  • Don’t forget to breathe and have fun. Relish in your accomplishment.

About Sports Medicine

An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.