4 Ways to Carry Your Race Day Fuel (Pockets Optional!)
Ever pick out the perfect race day outfit only to find you have no way to carry those 6+ gels or bulky packet of fruit snacks? Look no further! Here are four ways to carry your race day fuel from the well-pocketed shorts, to utility belts, to pocket and gadget-free tips!
There are lots of factors to consider when gearing up for a marathon or other long distance race. Runners need to think about their pacing, plot out the race course, and plan their fueling strategy; there are lots of little things that could go wrong and dozens of small worries that pop up – how you carry your race day fuel doesn’t have to be one of them!
Related: What You Need on Marathon Race Day
When I first started running, it was difficult to find a pair of shorts that could hold 6+ gels comfortably. Instead of wearing well-pocketed shorts, I ran the race with a velcro wristband with a zippered pocket. The wristband was uncomfortable and made me feel like a complete newbie, but at least it provided me a way to carry my fuel!
4 Ways to Carry Your Race Day Fuel
These days, runners have many options for carrying race day fuel, including shorts with great pockets, running belts, handheld hydration gear, and more. Whether you’re a back-of-the-pack runner or a sub-elite, there’s a surefire way to carry your gels without an embarrassing velcro wristband.
The tried and true way to carry race day items is in your shorts pockets. Gone are the days of skimpy 1-pocket shorts – there are now hundreds of shorts models with dozens of pocket varieties. Large pockets, small pockets, zippered pockets, hidden pockets; there are pockets of all kinds available on the market. Find a pair that suits your style and has enough pocket space for all your race day gear.
I love this take on a classic spandex tight with loads of pocket space! The Oiselle Portman Pants offer a large zippered pocket in the front and back as well as a race day-ready style
These men’s Lululemon shorts offer a zippered pocket large enough to fit your phone and would make any race day kit look slick!
For the runner who wants to also carry their own hydration gear, a handheld bottle or hydration vest makes the perfect gear-holster and fuel carrier.
Carry all your water and fuel in one place with a Nathan Handheld water bottle with attached zippered pouch.
A hydration vest allows runners to run hands-free while still maintaining control over all hydration and fuel choices. Ideal for runners who need to be on their feet for many hours!
Not interested in bulky gel-filled pockets or handheld water bottles? A running belt may be more up your alley. Made to be worn with virtually any type of running bottom, a running belt offers the space and benefit of pockets without needing to grab for a specific, well-pocketed pair of shorts!
I love the minimal, slim look of the FlipBelt. I also appreciate how it fits discreetly over the waistband of shorts and stays hidden by the length of most shirts and tanks.
The SPIbelt offers a comfortable, no-bounce sports pouch that expands large enough to fit nearly all sizes of phones.
Related: Gear Review: The FlipBelt
Pocket and Gear-Free Options
Finally, there are those of us with no patience for belts or handhelds. For runners who want to skip the extra pockets and gear, there are several pocket-free carrying options – tested by yours truly!
Bra Pad Inserts (for women)
Skip the extra padding and use your bra-pad insert area as a pocket instead! I typically carry a gel in each hand and then stick 2-3 gels in my bra. Keeping the gels in the pad insert “pockets” avoids chafing – plus, if you’re racing in a bra most race bibs cover any weird, bulky shapes.
If you won’t be wearing a sports bra on race day, your old pal the safety pin has you covered. Use a pile of safety pins to pin your race day gels on the inside band of your shorts. (Be careful not to puncture the gel packets!) During the race, gently rip off your gels as needed.