I’ve been a bit spoiled for my Run Disney “away” races as I call them. I’m based right in Orlando so getting to the Walt Disney World races is a matter of getting out of my own bed, in my own home and driving down the street. For Disneyland it’s a bit more complicated but as I travel so much for work, when it comes to packing, I’m a pro in my own right.
It wasn’t until getting ready for this weekend’s Rebel Challenge that I realized how effortless it can be for me. My friend Andy will be joining me this weekend and this will not only mark his first time heading west, but his first for an away race weekend.
Packing in general for a vacation or business can be a pain in its own right, but packing for a race adds a completely new element. This weekend was a bit different for me as I usually fly in on Friday and leave Monday following a challenge weekend. For this trip we are taking some extra days to first get Andy acclimated to the time difference and second to enjoy Disneyland.
I thought it’d be a good idea to share some of my packing tips with others to prepare for a destination race. I know I promised to write about Dopey but so much happened this weekend that I’m behind on writing (I’ve got a long plane ride to catch up!).
First and foremost, when it comes to any sort of travel, I refuse to check a bag if I can avoid it. I have the luxury of being a single guy who is often travelling solo so my life can fit in a single bag. I highly recommend it because it takes a lot of stress out of travelling in general.
If you are going to need to check a bag, pack your running gear separately and take it as a carry on. Over the years, my approach to travelling has changed as I’ve realized that if something goes wrong or I forget something, it can easily be replaced. While I do often travel to the middle of nowhere for work, there’s a good chance I’ll pass a Target on the way. When it comes to my running stuff, I don’t mess around. I’m very stringent on the “nothing new on race day” rule. I keep my running gear close to the point where I wear my shoes on the plane.
This is also economical for packing since race shoes are bulky and my Converse are not.
Separate it all out as you pack. If I am running Disney, I’m going to be doing a challenge which means I’m running two races and will need two of everything when I’m packing. I’ll put the outfit for each day together in a single pile to know I have what I need- shirt, shorts, underwear, compression, headband.
For shoes, I keep a close eye on the weather. As we learned this past weekend, anything can happen. I wear my running shoes on the place since they take up the most room. Typically in California this will be the only shoes I bring since they are comfortable enough to wear around the parks and they can go with any outfit (black and grey go with everything!). This weekend has potential for some light rain so I’m packing a pair of Converse just in case. There’s nothing worse than running in wet shoes so it’s nice to have a back up pair in case I need to leave my runners drying in the hotel.
Then you need to start planning non-running outfits. As a guy I have some leeway with clothing so I’ll be running on two pairs of pants for the week. One I’ll be wearing for the flight and one pair in my suitcase. I’ll alternate the two for the time I’m in California (we’re staying longer than just the weekend).
My rule for packing is “one for every day, plus one”. So I will be in California for 5 days so that means six pairs of socks and underwear. I suggest the same so you are covered in case of unforeseen circumstances. Also weather can literally damped your plans.
For this trip I’m slightly breaking my rule when it comes to shirts. I’m only packing five. I’ll get to that in a second.
Knowing I’m working with two pairs of pants, I plan my shirts based on that. I’m not fashion crazy but I like to look good so I make sure everything is working. I lay everything out to make sure I have enough and that the outfit works. Who knows, I may meet the man of my dreams and I want to at least look somewhat put together!
I’m breaking my rule when it comes to shirts because I know I’ll be getting three from the races and there’s potential for souvenirs along the way.
That leads me to a big packing point for race weekends- LEAVE ROOM!
I pre-ordered a race jacket, will be getting three race shirts and four medals (10k, half, challenge, and coast). These need to go somewhere and I’m traveling light. As a result there is more than enough room in my luggage to accommodate. I’m also notorious for going a bit souvenier crazy at expos. I have a race jacket problem and it is real. I might have a whole closet just for my race jackets. Don’t judge me.
Don’t forget your chargers! Camera? Fitbit? Cell Phone? iPod? GPS? Make sure you have it all! I travel a lot so I actually have a surplus of chargers with a pack I keep specifically for my race weekends. Do this! On race weekends I make sure my FitBit especially gets plugged in every night along with my iPod and phone. Nothing worse than losing one of those during a race!
Don’t freak out too much. Like I said, unless you’re running in Antarctica, there’s going to be a place to shop nearby and the expo will have many of the running related things you need.
Once you get to your destination, I suggest getting yourself to a store to get some basic needs. Our first stop after landing tomorrow will be the grocery store to stock up on water and snacks. (That’s a lie, our first stop will be In and Out burger… seriously. Go eat there. It will change your life.)
That said, don’t stress too much. My priority always goes to having the right race stuff and the rest falls into place easily from there. Enjoy your time away and make sure to get our into the parks when you’re not running.
I look forward to seeing everyone out there this weekend for the Rebel Challenge! If you spot me, be sure to say hi!