Running holidays are insanely fun, but unless you’ve been on a few it can be difficult to know what to pack. With many airlines being quite strict on cabin baggage and limited kgs in the hold it’s important to pack the essentials and be economical whilst having enough (and appropriate kit).
My top tip for the baggage situation is to check closely with your airline as the allowed weights can differ greatly. Also check your cabin allowance as some airlines allow a small case AND a personal item. If so, pack enough essential kit for a day in your carry on- so shoes, leggings, top, sports bra, swim suit etc the last thing you want is to miss some of your planned activities because your case got lost in transit!
Pack for a variety of weather, including rain. A good lightweight rain jacket is a real must on any running holiday, particularly if there are mountains involved (just because it’s sunny in the valley doesn’t mean it isn’t raining or even snowing at the top!). A jacket can double up as an excellent wind stopper too. I take two jackets, one super lightweight one that can go in my running bag and one a bit more substantial for days when the weather is bad.
Pack more than one pair of shoes and check the terrain you’ll be running on. If it’s a mixed terrain holiday ie trail and road the best advice is to assess which type of running you’ll spend the most time doing. For Majorca, which was mainly trail I packed two pairs of trail shoes and one pair of road shoes. Sounds excessive for a week?! My reasoning was if one pair of trail shoes rubs, pinches, gets absolutely soaked, or doesn’t quite fit if your feet swell then you don’t really want to wear those shoes again the next day. If you’re struggling for room in your case, wear a pair on the flight!
Take more socks and underwear than you need. You’ll be changing from running kit to evening clothes so you’ll need more than usual.
Plan your kit. When packing lay out your top/bottom combinations so that you don’t overpack leggings and accidentally pack only two tops! As I did when travelling to Liverpool Marathon. Plan you kit by days and combinations that go together. If you’re going on a sunny running holiday try to avoid packing all racer back tops as you’ll be going home with a well developed racer back tan. Make sure you pack some T-shirt’s to help cover your shoulders from the sun.
Plan your nutrition. This is important too, long days out running mean you’ll need gels, snacks, recovery, hydration and the chances are you’re not going to find a running shop stocking all your favourite things half way up a mountain or even in a city. In a sense overpack slightly here as you need plenty, especially when it comes to electrolytes. I always carry two gels in my hand luggage, again to help avoid the lost case worst case scenario. But remember these contribute towards your liquids allowance and must be under 100ml.
Pack some self care goodies, foam roller, massage ball, deep heat, cold spray, kinesiology tape etc. Your tired body will thank you. If you’re going somewhere hot invest in an antichaffe balm (I use ivydure) And DO NOT forget your sunscreen and after sun. You will be slightly dehydrated spending all your days running and more susceptible to burning. I always take factor 30 and above, look for ones with a five star rating (boots do a fantastic and affordable range) and buy a mini bottle to carry in your running backpack. Don’t forget to reapply regularly. Likewise pack sunglasses (UV affects your eyes too) and a hat for the hottest points of the day.
Invest in a good running backpack/ hydration pack. I use an Osprey Sylva 12 (kindly gifted to me) which I love, it has enough room for my hydration pack but also allows me to pack some spare layers, snacks, sun cream and a camera. This is a women’s bag so fits my frame perfectly and has a cooling system to avoid damp back patches.
You’ll do more than running so don’t forget to pack some non running clothes! Something comfy to relax in for dinner and some dressier things!
Finally, the really important practicalities. If you’re leaving the UK you’ll need your passport, travel insurance (I cannot stress this enough- CHECK YOUR POLICY COVERS THE ACTIVITIES YOU’RE DOING) and some travel money. It’s also worth checking visas, driving licenses (especially after October in light of Brexit and how this impacts Driving in Europe and the EEA) and sharing the details of your trip with a close friend or family member.
And not to forget, your inflatable unicorn counts as an essential relaxation item. Happy holidays!!!