I’ve been putting a lot of thought into my kit pack list for London Marathon race day. What are the essential things I need? What needs to go in the bag drop, and what do I need to wear? Over the hundreds of training miles, I’ve managed to whittle it down to the essentials that work for me over long distances. These all come with the highly recommended seal of approval – tried and tested and ready for race day. This is exactly what I’ll be wearing, eating and listening to on race day.
Hoka One One Cliftons
The first time you try on Hokas, they feel utterly, ridiculously padded, like having a mattress strapped to the underside of your foot. And then keep wearing them, and you realise that you haven’t had an injury for months, and the padding all makes sense. I’m on to my second pair of Cliftons now, and I totally understand why they’re so beloved by ultra runners such as the indomitable Mimi Anderson. I mix them up with other shoes in training, but these are what I’ve worn for my long runs and they’ll be on my feet on April 23rd on race day.
Hilly Twin Skin Socks
I’m slightly reticent about recommending Twin Skin socks. They are the most incredible, total blister free socks even over long distances, at the two layers of fabric rub against each other rather than your feet rubbing your shoes. But in my experience, they literally only last about 12 washes before the two layers separate from one another and start to bunch up at your toes – and they’re not cheap. As someone who used to huge blisters on the balls of my feet, these are worth it for me for long run, but I do say, buy at your own peril… If anyone has similar, lower cost, or longer-lasting alternatives for my next race, please speak up.
Sweaty Betty Challenge Run Shorts
Occasionally, you add something new to your wardrobe that makes everything else you used to have seem totally redundant. That’s the way I feel about these shorts – they have a great undershort layer that prevent thigh chafing and my pair have been on heavy rotation since I bought them earlier this year. The undershort also makes them a bit more modest for stretching/collapsing afterwards. I think I may need to get another pair to wear on laundry day, as I love them so much!
Clif Shot Bloks
I love Clif Shot Bloks for energy over long distances – they were actually originally recommended to me by a reader commenting on a post after I got stomach cramp during a race. I like that they are made of six small blocks, with three sweets being equivalent to one energy gel. This is great for me, as a whole energy gel is often a bit too much for my tum all in one go. They’ve seen me through triathlons and marathons and I can’t imagine training and racing without them now. Word of warning – the ones with caffeine in really have caffeine in. I kept wondering why I couldn’t sleep the nights after I did my longest runs, then I did some calculations and realised that I was having the equivalent of 6- 8 espressos on my 20 milers! My runs were great though, obviously, as I was absolutely off my head and loving life.
Bluetooth headphones and podcasts
Slightly dramatic, but I don’t know how I lived without my bluetooth headphones. No getting tangled in your headphone wire, and you can change the volume without getting your phone out. I absolutely love them. Mine are Urbanista Boston, but I’ve never tried any others so I couldn’t tell you if the reason I love them are just because they’re bluetooth, or if it’s specific to the brand. As this will be my first marathon without my mum, I predict I might need some distraction along the way, so I’ve made myself a Tidal playlist (Beyonce and the songs from Moana feature heavily…) and have downloaded some episodes of Wittertainment and No Such Thing as a Fish, my two current fave podcasts. While I know the crowds and sights at London are famously incredible, I can still envision needing a little time to NOT think about the fact that I am running 26.2 miles, so hopefully these should do the trick.
I love my Sweaty Betty bum bag! It fits my phone, my shot bloks, money, tissues and a little bottle of water in it. The water bottle was an absolute life saver during Loch Ness Marathon, above – having just 100ml of water meant that I could wet my lips any time I wanted to and wasn’t desperately waiting for the next water station. Instead of having to do that “I’ll drink loads of water at this station even though I don’t actually want it now, but I’ll regret it later if I don’t” and then getting sloshy hot-water-bottle-belly for the next two miles, I could be civilized, have a sip and pour the rest into my little bottle for when I actually wanted it. LIFE SAVER, I tell you. Sweaty Betty sadly don’t do one similar any more, but I reckon this Karrimor one looks like a good alternative, if a little garish, and is an absolute steal too.
I’ll be wearing a jumper destined for the charity shop, and the tin foil blanket around my legs to the start line after I’ve dropped my bag off at the bag drop. I know I’ll only want to run in vest and my shorts, but I’ll need something cosy for the age that it takes to even cross the start line at such a massive race.
These will be in my bag to put on right after the race. I know, they’re ugly as hell, but they’re designed as ‘recovery shoes’ – they cradle your tired arches and help reduce stress – and they really do the trick. I doubt I’ll care what I look like when I’m all salty and shattered at the finish line and I’ll want something as comfy as possible as I scarf down peanut butter sandwiches and try to find my husband in the crowd of 100,000…
I’m running the race in support of two charities that are very close to my heart – Macmillan Cancer Support and St Gemma’s Hospice, which provides end-of-life care with dignity. When my uncle Mark was dying of cancer, Macmillan provided my family with support and information and we are eternally grateful for the incredible work that they do. If you would like to donate to the charity, by link can be found here – http://bit.ly/BibiRH Thank you in advance for absolutely anything that you can share.
So, that will be my pack list for Sunday – I’ve already started laying everything out on the spare bed so I don’t forget anything, as I know that all of this stuff is absolutely perfect for me and any last-minute substitutions would be disastrous. I know I’ve got the nutrition, the training and the kit right to get me round the race, and all that left is to actually begin. Exciting! Please give me big cheers if you’re going to be watching the race, as I think I may feel a bit lonely without my mum there.
What are your marathon must-haves? Do you have any sock recommendations for next time? What are your podcast recommendations too please?