Step 1 for me is washing my hydration pack (and race day clothes), as it’s usually pretty rank smelling from all the training. Then I’ve got a clean pack to start prepping for race day and my fellow racers won’t be leaning away from me wondering about the smell and if it’s healthy.
Step 2 is checking my stash of things that are (almost) always in my pack, and all are in individual plastic baggies for safekeeping. First Aid Kit (restocked?) Seat Saver (anti-chafe cream)? TP? Baby wipes? Hand sanitizer? Extra pair of socks? ID in case I fall off that cliff? Extra hair tie? Swiss army knife (possibly)? Kleenex? Depending on the weather, possibly a Buff and/or sleeves as well. And depending on the race, possibly a map of the course, as well.
Other items to consider for the pack: sunscreen, trail gaiters, headphones. And head lamp (if required by the race.) And don’t forget to put music/podcasts on your phone/iPod, just in case you need it!
Step 3 is food prep. I usually try to make sure I have all of the foods the week of the race, and then pack them up the day before. And then organize any foods that need to be in a drop bag/crew bag. Along these lines, other items for the drop bag/crew bag: sunscreen, bug spray, baby wipes, extra clothes/shoes. And a helpful item for any crew/drop bag: a list of questions to ask the runner to make sure all their needs are met. Also, any little inspirational quotes, etc, are always welcome as well! (Or if you’re me, that’s Star Wars duct tape on the bag…)
Things to pack up for pre-race: (Safe and proven) dinner, breakfast oatmeal, other road snacks. Also, watch charger is crucial. And, of course, your race day clothes, hat, shoes, sunglasses.
Things to have for post-race: Flip flops, lemonade and/or smoothie, and any other treat that might be welcome.
And the most important prep is in your head. Try to remember:
-We don’t have to do this, we get to do this.
-Be your own biggest fan out there.
-Be available for a good day!