What You Need After the Big Race
A lot of attention gets put on pre-race preparation. Running a race means organizing your race outfit, fuel, gear, and start line transportation. It requires meticulous planning, especially when embarking on a distance event such as a marathon, ultra marathon, or triathlon. But what about after the big race? What exactly should you do with that pair of sweaty, soaked shorts? And what are a few things to have on hand to make the post-race hobble more tolerable?
Related: What You Need on Marathon Race Day
Look no further, fellow racer! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite things to have on hand post-race, including snacks, hydration, and gear.
Note: This list assumes access to a bag drop option provided by race organizers. If a bag drop is not available, consider asking a partner or friend to bring you a post-race bag.
7 Items You Need After the Big Race
Sure, you can grab whatever post-race beverage is waiting at the finish line, but I prefer to have my favorite electrolyte drink ready in my drop bag. If you’re unfamiliar with the magic of Nuun, they are the creators of super tasty, plant-based electrolyte drink tablets that can be dissolved into virtually any type of water bottle of drinking device. Nuun Electrolytes are packaged in handy, portable tubes with seven tablets per tube, making them easy to toss into your bag and even easier to rehydrate after the big race!
Any runner who has just completed a race should reach for a post-race recovery snack immediately! My favorite post-race food is Picky Bars, a date-based energy bar created by Professional athletes Lauren Fleshman, Jesse Thomas, and Steph Bruce. Picky Bars are formulated with a 4-to-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio which is ideal for pumping your depleted muscles with the perfect amount of carbs and protein for recovery. Plus, they’re gluten, dairy, and soy free! All of the bars are tasty, but my favorite post-race treat is the sweet and savory Moroccan Your World flavor.
After that hard effort, you’ll likely be sticky, sweaty, and feel ready for a shower. Unfortunately, most races don’t offer shower access – the next best thing? A Shower Pill, of course! Shower Pill is a full-body wet wipe that does all the dirty work of a shower but without the hassle. These easy-to-use, individually packaged wipes are the perfect post-race item for freshening up before hitting the beer tent. I typically throw a Shower Pill packet into my drop bag and pull it out for use in a changing tent or porta-potty.
A set of warm, dry clothes are a must-have at the end of a race! I love this puffy Oiselle vest to layer over virtually everything – it’s warm, dry, and made with Nylon and Primaloft Down Fill to keep you nice and cozy. Be sure to pack a fresh set of underwear (and bra) and socks in your drop bag, too!
The only thing worse than having to walk around after a big race is having to do so in your tired, sweaty running shoes. Pack a pair of slides or flip flops, like these Croc Classic Slide sandals, to give your aching feet some post-race comfort. Slides are my go-to post-race shoe because I can wear them with a pair of clean, dry socks and hide any black toenails or blisters (take that, fashion police!)
Sure, you can carry around all of your post-race goodies in your plastic drop bag, but a spike bag or backpack will serve you much better! After a big race, I like to change into warm, dry clothes, stick my sweaty, wet ones in the plastic drop bag, and then shove everything into this New Balance cinch bag for easy transport. The plastic bag will prevent your wet items from soaking through everything else (like that newly earned race t-shirt, finish line goodies, or cell phone) and will make attending any post-race festivities a breeze. Trust me on this one!
7. A Ride Home
O.K., this isn’t exactly something you can buy online and pop into your drop bag, but a ride home is one of my favorite things post-race! Whether you’re cajoling your partner or best running friend to serve as a driver, or hitching a ride with Uber or Lyft, you’ll be thankful you aren’t making the drive home yourself!
Your Favorite Post-Race Gear
What are your favorite foods, clothes, and gear to have after a big race? Share in the comments below!