Packing for a Destination Marathon or Half Marathon

Hello! I have several out-of-town half and full marathons coming up in the next few months. Traveling is awesome, but can be stressful too – especially when a race is involved!

Even if you are not trekking across the country for a race, odds are you’re taking a long drive or staying overnight in a hotel to make it easy.


Since I’ve already run 13 races in 2013, I have this whole ‘traveling to a race’ thing somewhat figured out.

But, I’m also super random (read: unorganized and whatever the opposite of “Type A” is) so I am prone to forget important things (I ran back inside to get my garmin as I was about to leave for the Big Bear race!).

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So, I put together a packing list to review when getting my shit stuff together for a destination race. Even if that destination is 30 minutes away, you’re going to need to go over the basics before you leave, so check it out:

Half Marathon - Marathon Packing Checklist (1)

Write it down, take a picture, I don’t give a – just use this so you don’t forget your “A” game on race day.

Question: Have you ever forgotten something important while traveling?

Like your kid?! Oh wait, I’m thinking of Home Alone…

***You have a few hours left to ENTER MY CROSSTRAIN ID GIVEAWAY


  1. says

    We went camping 6 hours from home and forgot to bring sleeping bags. The kids were psyched when we went to a hotel with a pool :)

  2. Laura says

    This wasn’t for a race, but I went out of town to my moms house and needed to get a long run in. It’s hotter where she lives so I brought my fuel belt, but it wasn’t till I was half way there I realized I forgot the bottles that go in it!! Doh!!

  3. Heidi says

    I’m so glad you posted this! I just drove from LA to San Diego last weekend to run AFC and I was more nervous about the logistics than the race!

  4. says

    My dad almost left me at a Wendys – they were pulling out of the parking lot when my mom noticed I wasn’t there.
    Thanks for the list! I am doing a half in September and I am super excited, but staying in a hotel was making me nervous I would forget something :)

  5. says

    Last year I traveled to a half marathon with 4 other girls and one of them forgot her shoes! We arrived late the night before so she didn’t realize it till it was time to leave the hotel.

  6. says

    It’s worth mentioning this, too: never check your race gear/shoes. That way if you lose your luggage, worst case scenario, you still have the stuff you need for the race itself in your carry-on.

  7. says

    I’ve my packing list on a Word doc and re-print it each time I travel. Helps that I’ve extra toiletries in my luggage which I never take out.

  8. says

    I don’t race much but every once in a while I forget a piece of hockey equipment. Usually an essential pad of some type. I know this is gross but I can go to the front desk and usually find what I need in the lost and found, then just return it there after the game.

  9. Tara says

    My husband and I did our first half marathon out of state in May. The morning of the race, he realized he forgot to pack he had to wear my little basic white socks (not running socks). I felt so bad, thinking those were not going to stay on his heels for the full half, but he did fine, thankfully!

  10. says

    I didn’t know about “throw away” cold gear prior to a race when I ran my first marathon. So I spent my time waiting in the starting corrals freezing and then didn’t get to pass off my long sleeve top, head warmer, or gloves until mile 10 when I found my parents – I was so HOT by that point. Never making that mistake again.

  11. says

    I have a similar list! I’m pretty good about not forgetting anything but my husband usually does. We have so many race belts that we had to buy last minute at an Expo because he forgot his. He’s also had to purchase socks the night before a race.

  12. says

    I’m totally OCD when it comes to travelling so I rarely forget anything! Actually, I have the opposite problem: I usually end up bringing more than what I actually need 😉

  13. says

    This is so impressively organized – way to go girl! I’ve done one distance half marathon where I slept at a friends place on their blow-up mattress…not an ideal for before a race. Next time, I would bring my own pillow, at least!

  14. says

    For some reason I ALWAYS forget my toothbrush. luckily hotels take care of that but even when I’m visiting friends or going on a road trip, I never remember to pack it!

    • tess says

      Yes. Every single time. I was thrilled when I remembered the front desk has toothbrushes. Or don’t forget to swing past the store so I can pick up a toothbrush. Seriously, how ridiculous? Every time?

  15. says

    That’s a great list!

    The most embarrassing thing I’ve got is for a mud run I did. We went to Hartford, CT for the Down and Dirty Mud Run so I made sure to pack a whole new set of clothes for afterward. I had clean shorts, undies, shirt, socks, etc. Well, I seemed to have forgotten a clean bra! I was about to have to put my muddy sports bra back on (even though it was rinsed you can’t get all that mud out) when my wife tells me she can give me the yoga top she had on under her shirt. Luckily it was tight enough to hold up “the girls” at least to get home. And really, who would see me in the car anyway! LOL

  16. says

    I’ve never forgotten something super important, but I have packed weirdly before- meaning that my shirts/shoes/pants/skirts don’t go together and I need to go out and buy more clothes to make it work. Annoying, but depending on where I am, could be fun (I love shopping when I travel).

  17. says

    For one of my triathlons a few years ago, I forgot two things: directions to the venue and a swim cap/goggles.

    I had been staying at a friend’s house and left at o’dark thirty, closing the garage door behind me and leaving myself no way back in. I didn’t realize until I was in the car that I didn’t have those two things. I knew the general direction I had to drive, so I did and drove until I saw a vehicle I knew belonged to another triathlete (we tend to put stickers all over our cars, or at least on our bike racks) and then followed them.

    Once in the parking lot, I asked everyone around me for an extra pair of goggles and finally found one to use, and the race people had extra swim caps. So I was all set.

    It took a lot of self-discipline to NOT get all worked up about it, but I just prayed for peace and got calmed down. I knew it would all work out before race start, and it did!

  18. says

    Thanks! I just printed it. I’m leaving for the NYC Marathon in a week! Good luck at MCM. I ran it last year. It is a great race with tons of spectators and support.

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