What’s In My Race Pack

What's In My Race Pack via It's Jou Life blog // https://wp.me/p7RBMP-13B

What to bring in your waist race pack

If you take a peek into my purse you’d think I’m part Eagle Scout and Mary Poppins. I may have loads of stuff but they’re all necessary to survive a zombie apocalypse. Sorta.

I like to be prepared.

Packing my day race pack is slightly different. The key difference is my race pack is much smaller. Therefore, when I run a long-distance race I like to pack efficiently with effective items. I’ve been using the same race pack and some of my holy grail products since my first marathon back in 2008. With the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon in just a few weeks, these are my trusty items I’m packing on the run.

My day RACE pack survival kit

  1. Nathan Marathon Running Belt // I’ve had this light-weight training race pack since 2008 and love it. Although I’m running a long-distance race, I don’t bother wearing packs with water bottles because I know this race is well-supported with water and aid stations. I’ve linked a newer version of this race pack.
  2. Refresh Plus Lubricant Eye Drops // I get dry eyes especially when I wear contacts. These non-preservative drops help my eyes stay hydrated and clear.
  3. Advil // My ankles sometimes get sore as I get to the double-digit miles. This helps with the soreness during my run.
  4. Dr. Scholl’s Blister Defense Stick // A MUST for me! I apply this BEFORE the race, between my toes. above my toes, and BEFORE I put on my socks. Without this, my toes tend to rub between each other, chafe, and get blisters. You can apply this in other areas when you get chafing problems. Ever since I discovered this type of product I’ve been blister-free.
  5. Farmacy Honey Savior All-in-One Skin Repair Salve with Echinacea GreenEnvy Honey // Gotta moisturize my lips! This travel-size mighty multi-tasker can also be applied to other parts of your skin to repair dryness. Continue reading
What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/21/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running My First Marathon // Part 2

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon (Part 2) - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/31/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

2015 (Oct) – San Francisco Nike Women’s Half-Marathon // My most recent half-marathon where I set my personal record, 1 hr 56 min. If you haven’t noticed already, I have a thing for jumping photos.

I’ve run a handful of races–three half-marathons (four, in August), two full marathons, and a 200-mile (36-hour) relay. I’m by no means an expert–more often I feel faux than pro. I still struggle with motivating myself to run and each time I begin training it feels like I’m starting all over again.

Signing up for a long-distance race is daunting. But knowing what to expect can ease your race jitters and boost your confidence. Looking back, there are some lessons I wish I hadn’t learned the hard way for my first marathon. I wish someone gave me the low down on race preparation and day-of expectations before jumping head-first into the racing world.

If you signed up and ready to train for a half or full marathon, here’s what I want you to know.

If you missed the first installment of this, read Part 1.


WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE RUNNING MY FIRST MARATHON // PART 2

Learning to pace yourself is key–and really hard.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon (Part 2) - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/31/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

2013 (Apr) – Washington, DC Nike Women’s Half-Marathon // This Tiffany’s finisher medal of the woman running with cherry blossoms in the background was gorgeous. I wish I paced myself better this race. Honestly, I should have trained better too. I walked several times.

I don’t even think I have this down. In the past, I don’t calculate pace when I run the streets. I run and push myself just enough mentally and physically, but not to the point of intense exhaustion. Just recently I started using the Strava App on my phone for long runs to keep track of my pace and progress. It’s a free app that provides GPS tracking, elevation, pace, analytics, and challenge friends.

  • Find your comfortable pace on training runs: To find your baseline, find a pace that is comfortable to run long distances and stick to it. If you want to improve your time, run sprints at a faster pace of 30 seconds. To build endurance, run long runs at a slower pace of 30 seconds. Once you are comfortable with your pace, play around with your stride and cadence. After a while, you’ll get a hang of your rhythm and a pace you’re comfortable with.
  • On race day don’t start out too fast. I know you’re excited and pumped with adrenaline and feeling good the first few miles, but take it easy. You don’t want to exhaust your reserves and burn out before the tail end of the race.
  • On race day I start out easy and then test my limits after every 4 miles. If I’m still feeling good, I push myself further. The last mile can be quite agonizing. It’s a mental game. I try to sprint the last half-mile. Usually, that only happens in my brain but IRL my legs feel like jello and I’m hauling a$$. It’s rough. Hopefully, comes race day it’ll be a different story. So I always tell myself.

Hydrate throughout the week prior to race day.

Being properly hydrated doesn’t happen overnight. I remember I’d chug loads of water a day before or even the day of the race and it would just filter through my body almost immediately. That is not what you want. Running on a full bladder is not fun. I spent so much time waiting in lines for the porta potties. Being properly hydrated takes much longer than that just a day.

Tip: In preparation for race day, it’s important to start hydrating a week before and to sip water on race day. I’d recommend setting a Google Calendar reminder several days prior to race day to hydrate throughout the day, every day.

Don’t eat anything new before or on race day.

This should be a no-brainer right? Not me. For some reason, I like to get creative on race day and end up eating something that slightly upsets my stomach. Stick to what your stomach knows.

Recommended race day breakfast eats: PB&J sandwich, oatmeal with bananas, or an energy bar. I try to steer away from dairy.

Mentally prepare yourself–bring your mental A-game.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon (Part 2) - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/31/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

2012 (Oct) San Francisco Nike Women’s Full Marathon // Highlights from this epic race where Wayne and I ran together and raised over $1,280!

Running a marathon is just as much of a mental battle as a physical one. No matter how many races I’ve done I always have pre-race jitters. It can be tough, but to help calm your nerves, break up the race into bite-sized pieces.

  • For a half-marathon: Envision it as four 3-mile legs with a sprint finish at the end.
  • For a full marathon: Think of it as four 10Ks (6.2-mile legs) with a sprint finish at the end.

Take it one step at a time and keep things in perspective.

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What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/21/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running My First Marathon // Part 1

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1 - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/22/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

2012 (Oct) San Francisco Nike Women’s Full Marathon // Mile 20 felt tortuous but we still had some more in us. We should have trained better…

I ran my first full marathon (26.2 miles, baby!) in 2008 on the beautiful island of Honolulu, Hawaii. My cousin and I were so inspired by my brother’s 2007 Honolulu Marathon finish that we vowed to run the following year’s race together. It’s amazing how far I’ve come in my marathon journey. It’s hard to imagine almost a decade ago I huffed and puffed a couple miles, let alone complete 26.2 miles.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1 - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/22/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

2008 (Oct) – Honolulu, Hawaii Full Marathon // Waiting with the cousin and brother at the starting line in the wee early morning hours of my first ever long-distance race

Since then I’ve run three half-marathons (four, in August), two full marathons, and a 200-mile (36-hour) relay. I’m by no means an expert–more often I feel faux than pro. I still struggle with motivating myself to run and each time I begin training it feels like I’m starting all over again.

Signing up for a long-distance race is daunting. But knowing what to expect can ease your race jitters and boost your confidence. Looking back, there are some lessons I wish I hadn’t learned the hard way for my first marathon. I wish someone gave me the low down on race preparation and day-of expectations before jumping head-first into the racing world.

If you signed up and ready to train for a half or full marathon, here’s what I want you to know:

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1

There’s no perfect training plan, so find one that works for you and stick to it.

I’m a running delinquent when it comes to properly training for a marathon. This is something I’m working on. Yes, I’m training myself to train myself to keep to a consistent schedule. What I look for in a suitable training plan is not only a gradual increase and then tapering off mileage each week, but a mix of interval runs and strength training. For this half-marathon coming up in August, so far I’m on track and it’s a big thanks to the handy dandy Lululemon SeaWheeze 14-week half-marathon training schedule and their comprehensive training program to prepare the body and mind. I also give mad props to my better half who is voluntarily training alongside with me. He’s training for a half-marathon race that he won’t be running. What a keeper.

For those training for a full marathon (26.2 miles), I came across this PopSugar Beginner 18-week Marathon Training Program. Too bad this wasn’t around in 2008. I would have committed the sh*t out of this plan.

Strength Training, Cross Training, and Sprints are your friends.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1 - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/22/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

2009 (Sep) – Disneyland Half-Marathon // This was such a fun race to run with friends. We ran through Disneyland Park, high-fived Disney characters, and even ran on the Angels Stadium field. I remember I incorporated swimming, kickboxing, and yoga in my training schedule.

I know, as if running isn’t hard enough, now you gotta incorporate strength and cross training and all that jazz? These are integral to help prevent injuries and build optimal strength so you can run more comfortably and with stronger form. Sprints aid in running faster and help you hit your goal time. However, you can’t have one without the other. You have to build the foundations of a stronger body before focusing on speed. My first marathon I made the mistake of only just running during training. It helped with my endurance but my body (lower back area) didn’t feel strong enough to hold a proper running form for long periods of time. Nowadays I love High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts to build strength and I’ve been regularly incorporating spin for endurance and hot yoga for flexibility.

Lululemon SeaWheeze created this Strengthen Your Stride workouts that are designed to support your run training. Give it a whirl.

Proper stretching pre and post workout is your other friend.

Stretching before and after a run helps ease your body into and out of a high-impact activity–focusing on hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, quads, glutes, and lower back. Activating your muscles before a run can help maintain good form while stretching after can help prevent stiffness and soreness from pushing your limits. Refer to Lululemon SeaWheeze Strengthen Your Stride workouts that cover warm-up and cool-down moves. Also incorporating sessions with a foam roller is a bonus! Giving yourself a massage 1x or 2x/week with a foam roller will help prevent injuries.

Here’s a foam-rolling routine that will certainly hit all your sore spots. Using a foam roller can hurt like a mother but it essentially works like a massage–rolls out your knots, hits sore spots, and eventually, you’ll feel relaxed. No pain, no gain, right?

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