For a 24 hour race, your kit is as important as your training, with the Enduro World Championships rapidly approaching, we take a look at what essentials you need to pack.
Look after your feet
Without them, you won’t be going anywhere. Make sure your shoes are suitable, and you have them in multiple. Disaster can strike, and you want back ups. Aside from that, you will likely want clean and dry shoes, particularly in the middle of the night.
If you wear multiple brands, switch them up. Sometimes a faithful shoe can suddenly start rubbing or be uncomfortable, so having an alternate option just in case won’t hurt.
This applies to socks too. The last thing you want to do is risk getting trench foot (yes, it happens!) Make sure they’re suitable for ultra running; durable and anti blister.
Look into anti friction treatments such as Trail Toes, these can be a great preventative method.
Prepare for every eventuality, in multiple
You know when you’re doing an OCR that’s on the cusp of a season and you’re not sure if you’ll need shorts, or neoprene? (OCRWC ’18 anyone?). Treat a 24 hour event exactly the same. You’ll be running through a whole day and night, the weather can change drastically, as can your reaction to it. You’re likely to feel the cold more when you’re tired, and hungry.
Anything you would pack for a regular race, take, plus extras.
It’s not uncommon for athletes to use a full wetsuit in the dead of night, especially on events with full submersions. Even if you only normally use a neoprene vest or shorty, a 24 hour event is a totally different beast. Plan to work your way through neoprene layers, including mitts and hood, up to a wetsuit through the darkest and coldest hours.
Think layers, and plan how many changes you expect to make. Make sure you wear compression gear rather than regular running tights and tops, which can help with both cramp, and recovery.
Consider extras you wouldn’t normally need for a regular OCR:
- A cap for if it’s sunny
- A windproof jacket for when the sun goes down
- Sun screen
- Sports sunglasses
It’s going to be dark, so make sure you pack a head torch that you know works for you, plus a spare… plus spare batteries (are you seeing a theme here?)
Lapped races are hard enough on your own, but when they’re this long it gets really tough. Having a pit crew can make all the difference. Don’t underestimate how little dexterity you may have in your fingers, making getting changed really tough. Plus having a sensible head can either help you get back out there, or call it a day when you’re not thinking straight.
They can advise you on kit, and keep track of your nutrition for you. Of course you’ll owe them big time, but that’s what friends are for, right?
This one is really personal. Anyone taking on an endurance race should test what they can eat that can sufficiently fuel them, without making them sick.
A few favorites are plain rice, or dried noodles to be rehydrated. Gels, baby food, instant hot chocolate, cliff bars/granola bars, hydration salts, peanut butter/chocolate spread, and instant soup sachets are often used.
The best advice is to think about logistics: if you need to warm food, does the event have hot water or microwaves? Do you take back up hot water in a flask? If you’re running in a foreign country, supermarkets are likely to sell different food. It’s a good idea to pack essentials in your luggage in case you can’t find them when you arrive.
Don’t forget about recovery
Whether you take extended breaks during the event, or for post race, make sure you will be well looked after. Your future self will thank you!
A changing robe is essential, such as Dry Robe or Swimzi. Open shoes for your sore feet such as flip flops, or Birkenstocks will be a god send. You can even take inspiration from our undefeated world champ and pack a pair of super comfy crocs. Many people swear by recovery compression wear, plus don’t forget to pick up some moisturizer to soothe your dry, itchy post race skin.
Think ease, warmth, and comfort. You may not be thinking past the actual event but make sure you can be well fed and rested. Leave your hotel room in a comfortable state, and check out local places to eat so you don’t have to do any thinking, or organizing.
Don’t forget; a sense of humor, as well as gritty determination will take you far.