A Runner’s Toolkit: 6 Items You Need for a Great Race Day
No matter the length of your race, running requires prep work to reach the finish line. Want to make your day even better? Start the day with a well-stocked runner’s toolkit.
If it seems like everyone you know has grabbed their running shoes and signed up for a road race, you are not alone. Even we here at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan have joined in on the action, showing up to races across the state ready to refuel participants with, what else, chocolate milk – nature’s own sports drink.
Chocolate milk and other dairy foods can make a positive impact on both performance and recovery on race day. Registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports nutrition, Kate Davis, recently shared with us her top four nutrition tips, designed to get you into peak performance, highlighting the important role chocolate milk and other dairy foods can play. And although nutrition is incredibly important, it’s not the only resource you should have in your arsenal for a successful event.
Ready to hit the starting line? Here are five items you should consider bringing with you to have a great race:
Running shoes. Every runner needs running shoes. They help you get from point A to point B, but your runner’s toolkit shouldn’t be stocked with just any running shoes. No, you want shoes you feel comfortable in. Shoes that have logged some miles. Thinking about running in new shoes? Probably not the best idea. If you do buy new shoes, make sure you break them in while training for your race. Consider alternating between your old and new pairs to seamlessly break them in.
High-quality socks. Keeping your feet comfortable makes a world of difference that last mile or two. A good pair of socks can help prevent blisters. This spring, consider choosing socks made out of acrylic or polyester. They won’t retain moisture the same way cotton socks do.
Pockets. Since most races don’t necessarily occur in your back yard, you’ll want to consider where you’ll store important items like your cell phone, car keys, or your favorite energy goo pack that you have practiced with while training. And, it may seem silly, but pockets can be rather invaluable assets on race day. Although many running shorts and pants come equipped with pockets, wrist or belt wraps can also be a runner’s best friend.
Sunscreen. Even though you may find yourself at the starting line before the sun rises, don’t be surprised if it comes out to greet you midway through the race. Stay protected from the harmful effects of too much sun exposure, and lather up with your favorite 30 SPF or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen before you hit the course. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends choosing a sunscreen that is water resistant to help keep you protected even when you sweat.
A Before, During, and After Fuel Plan. This is where Kate Davis’ nutrition tips really come in. Having a game plan for the energy you take in (AKA the food you eat) is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. Type of food, timing, and forethought are all key ingredients to success and you don’t want to waste all the hard work you put into training by not fueling up correctly.
Chocolate Milk. As you begin to make your plan to fuel up before, during and after your race, odds are good that chocolate milk will make a debut a time or two. Thanks to its optimum protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, it’s an ideal way to fuel up after your race. Plus, if you are running in Michigan, chances are pretty good that you’ll find it after you pass the finish line.
Make this season your best racing season yet with a few essentials to get you up and going. Even better, share your race day essentials with us on Instagram! Use the hashtag #milkmeansmore and don’t forget to follow us there for more great tips, recipes, and more.