Ultramarathon checklist

Ultramarathon checklist April 22 2016, 0 Comments

Photo credit: Lindsey Shiflett

It takes months of time and dedication to train for an ultramarathon. The last thing you want is for something to go wrong on race day…because you forgot to pack a necessary item. Because of that, I’ve created an “Ultrarunning Packing Checklist” that I’ve used from race distances of a 50k (approximately 31 miles) up to a 100 miler. Of course, this list will vary based on terrain, weather, race location, etc, but I’ve found for the most part, this list works pretty well for any race. When you run long distances, it’s not unheard of to have a 30° temperature fluctuation during a race, necessitating various clothing items; or literally running through a pair of shoes and needing to change into a spare set. Sure, it may look silly to have a big bin of items come race day, but I haven’t found myself without a necessity yet! Remember, always check the weather before your race (usually a day or two before your race, or before traveling to the race location), but don’t check excessively—you can’t change the weather, so there’s no reason to stress yourself out over it! Pack right, and you can concentrate on what’s important—having fun running an ultra!

What I carry on my person during the race

  • Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 2
  • 1 orange OM bottle (for Heed)
  • 1 clear OM bottle (for water)—having the different colored bottles makes telling volunteers what I need simple
  • my phone in a Lifeproof Fre (waterproof) case—I occasionally listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or music. But even if I didn’t, I like having the potential to call if I need emergency assistance (if I’m lucky enough to have cell service)
  • pre downloaded podcasts, music playlists, and audiobooks (in case of no cell service)
  • headphones
  • snacks—my favorites include peanut butter power balls (homemade), PB&J sandwiches cut into quarters, banana halves, orange slices, Honey Stinger waffles, and CHEX MIX (I swear, Chex Mix is what got me through my 100 when I couldn’t eat anything else). You may be wondering why I carry food when most ultras have fully stocked aid stations. I do this because you never know when something you need/want might run out at the aid station; or in the rush and madness of your race, you just simply forget to grab all the fuel you need at the station. I try to consume 150-250 calories an hour, and if I’m carrying some of my own food, I always know I can manage this.
  • no zip, plastic sandwich bags (for trash; for easily accessible snacks)
  • a Ziploc bag with a sample pack of Biofreeze, a sample pack of Vaseline/Body Glide/Trail Toes, a couple Tylenol, a couple electrolyte capsules or salt packets, pre rolled toilet paper (make your own from regular rolls, no need to spring for the store bought pre rolls), pre cut moleskin of varying sizes, a few band-aids, a safety bin for on the go blister piercing, and Gin-Gins candy for upset stomach issues.

What I keep in my dropbag (a clear plastic bin for easy visibility)

  • a big Ziploc with medical-type supplies—Tylenol, a stick of Body Glide, Biofreeze, Moleskin, KT tape (I pre-tape both my knees before any long race), scissors, bandaids, toilet paper, single use heating pads, safety pins, Tums, sunscreen, bug spray -no zip plastic sandwich bags
  • duct tape (for fixing shoes, other gear)
  • large garbage bags (for trash, dirty shoes, dirty clothes)
  • snacks—more of what I carry in my OM Vest, but also some extras like Gummi Bears, chips, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, gum, whatever I think might be appealing when forcing myself to eat
  • Heed (in case the race doesn’t have the flavor I prefer)
  • extra pair of headphones
  • portable charging device
  • headlamp charging cable (or extra batteries)
  • phone charging cable
  • dry sacks (sometimes I’ll categorize items in different colored dry/stuff sacks to make finding items easier)
What I keep at camp (because I almost always camp before and/or after an ultra)
  • Orange Mud transition towel
  • compression socks for after the race
  • compression tights for after the race
  • warm jacket or hoodie
  • slide sandals
  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad (you don’t want to be stiff the morning of a big race because of an inadequate sleeping pad)
  • pillow (use clothes in a stuff sack, or an empty bag from boxed-wine works great)
  • camp chair
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • prescription medications/vitamins
  • meals for the days before and after my race
  • Jetboil
  • cup; plate; spork
  • camp suds (they work for dishes and showering)
  • personal pack towel
  • cooler and ice
  • coffee
  • beer
  • muscle roller stick
  • wallet/ID
Clothing, shoes, and accessories (weather dependent)
  • shorts, capris, tights
  • Tech tee (racerback, short sleeve, long sleeve)
  • hats (heavy duty beanie, lightweight beanie, billed trucker)
  • headband (fleece lined, non-lined)
  • rain jacket
  • gloves (2 pairs—in case you lose one)
  • bandana
  • hair ties
  • sunglasses
  • compression calf sleeves
  • socks (I wear a pair of extra-light cushioning toe socks, and my favorite pair of unicorn socks over the toe socks)
  • Hokas (2 pairs)
  • a GPS watch
  • headlamp

Guest article by Nikki Klein