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May 07, 2018

What to Pack for a Road Relay Race

oiselle running hannah calvert

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We are quickly approaching the beginning of summer relay season – that time of year when all the planning, training and van organizing finally comes to fruition. We are kicking off the Oiselle Podium Project this Friday as we get ready to cheer on the women of Bird Machine Cape Cod!

As important as preparing with long runs, hills, and doubles are, a key part of the preparation is in the packing. That’s why we decided to make our own relay packing list.

Fear not, grab all these items and you should be rolling through your relay with ease!


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Time in the van is critical. It’s critical refuel time, rest time, teammate support time, overall it’s your mini home for the duration of the race. Make yourself comfortable, as comfortable as you can be crammed in a van after logging hard miles, sitting in the stench of your fellow teammates.

If you’ve got an extra organized captain or crew, have them create a supply bin for shared essentials. This will eliminate duplicates and save on critical van real estate. (Trust us, space will be at a premium!) Things to include:

  • The race booklet: at least one printed copy and one downloaded on a device.
  • First Aid items and toiletries: Sunscreen, Tums (to help with the weird eating schedule), hand sanitizer, baby wipes or Shower Pills, tampons, hair elastics, and a mini bottle of dry shampoo if you’re feeling extra luxurious. Also, don’t forget ibuprofen, it will come in handy later down the road… literally.
  • Extra toilet paper! Let’s be real it’s not something you want to run out of.
  • Foam roller or stick to help roll out those sore muscles.
  • Garbage bags because, as mentioned earlier, this van is your current home so keep it clean.
  • Shared snacks because everyone loves to snack and you don’t want to end up each bringing a dozen bananas!

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  • ALL THE NUT BUTTERS!!! Peanut, Almond, Sunflower, Hazelnut, you can’t have too many.
  • Something salty – Potato Chips, Pretzels, Tortilla Chips, basically whatever your favorite chip or cracker is.
  • Fruits – Bananas, apples, tangerines…
  • Bars and cookies (They basically serve the same purpose) – Picky Bars, oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies.
  • Bread & Bagels, by the end of this 11/10 chance you won’t want to see a slice of bread.
  • Gummy Candies or dried fruits
  • Beef Jerky
  • Trail mix
  • If you have a cooler: Lunch meat, hummus, spring mix
  • Bottled water and a stock pile of LaCroix
  • Coconut water for some extra electrolytes!

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  • Anything cozy to keep yourself comfortable after each of your legs. NBD Pants, Kara Pants, Lux Pants, or Track Attack Pants are all great lounge options.
  • Your go-to slip on comfy shoes (Birkenstocks, Oofos, Fuzzy boots) slip-on shoes are ideal to slip over compressions socks. (Also, pack your compression socks!)
  • Miir Flock Water Bottle. Staying hydrated is not a performance-enhancing secret, because it’s that important, and that proven.
  • Think of how many socks you need… okay now double it.
  • Runner Stuff Pouches packed with personal essentials. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, etc.
  • Three separate spike bags or Ziploc bags containing one outfit for each leg you’ll be running. Having your outfits already sorted and separated will prevent the frantic searching through snacks and piles of sweaty running clothes. Only use your energy to move those legs people! Once you’ve run your leg, the sweaty clothes go right back in and the back gets zipped back up. No hassle and, most importantly, no stink!
  • Your favorite pump-up Spotify playlist that’s at least 200 songs long, no one likes looping through the same playlist five times. And don’t forget your car phone charger to keep the good times rolling.

You may be wondering what three outfits to pack. Maybe you need more than that? What if there’s a weather disaster and somehow it snows in the middle of June and you didn’t pack your Super Puff mittens!? No, stop that. Don’t be the person who rolls up to the van demanding the whole backseat to be reserved for you and your military grade duffel bag.

Here’s a breakdown of the essentials you need for each leg of the relay.

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Temps are chillier, the vibes are calmer, and your body may be wondering why it’s not in a warm bed.

  • Have you ever been momentarily blinded by a beautiful rising sun? Yeah me too and as glorious as it is, it’s also terrible. The Runner Trucker Hat is perfect to shield your face from the sun and then fold up and tuck away when it’s no longer needed.
  • A light top layer is a great source of extra encouragement when you are lacking a little motivation hopping out of the van on your third leg. Vim Jacket, Vigor Vest, and Mile One Pullover, are all great options that are easy to stow away once your body is warmed up.

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Don’t daydream of your lunch quite yet, you still have some work to do. Here are some items that will help you kick ass and take names.

  • Goodr sunglasses in case that midday sun is out and in full force.
  • Manifesto Bandana; aka a utility wrap. Shield your neck from the sun or use it to wipe away sweat.

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Also don’t day(night)dream about sleeping because sleep doesn’t really happen during relays. The highest priority for the night leg, is making yourself seen. Here are some items to make you obnoxiously (and safely) noticeable.

  • Lightning Layer: look at that you’ve turned into a lantern.
  • Headlamp: Look at that you’ve upgraded from lantern to a lighthouse. Well done.
  • Just because it was warm during the day doesn’t mean it’s warm at night. Keep yourself warm with a Wazzie Wool Homerun Half Zip or Base Layer.
  • When you’re waiting to run your next leg with your safety vest and headlamp on, you’re going to want a nice, warm, temporary layer as you wait for your runner to come in and hand off. This is a great use for the Cat Lady jacket. Plus, you can pet it to make yourself feeling less anxious about running in the middle of the night.
  • When you’re settling in for your night’s “sleep” you are definitely going to want your warmest coat. The Call Her or Quill Jacket is as close as you may come to getting in a sleeping bag.

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You did it! Congrats on keeping it spicy and eating up all the miles. You may be sleep deprived but once you cross over that line as a team, your body will hit a new level of euphoria, ready to keep the party rollin’ with your favorite eats. It’s not like clothing can perform miracles… but there are some items that give the illusion you are a showered and generally put together, which, after finishing a relay, is probably far from the case…

Share with us your favorite relay tips and tricks using #RoadToRelay and follow our Podium Project Team's races by following the Oiselle Podium Project Twitter.

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