In the next week or 3 there are a couple of big races coming up, in case you hadn’t heard.
NJ Super – this coming weekend
VT Beast – 2 weeks later
Paul did a great series of blog posts for the Sprint (Here, Here, and Here). All of which are still super applicable here. Some points to remember (for the newbies, especially):
1) Cotton is NOT your friend
2) Start hydrating
3) Dress for the weather, and your ability to stay warm/cold. Also keep track of weather reports.
4) Eat a good meal hours before you are taking to the course.
The Super (and the Beast) will likely be supported races (meaning there will be water stops along the way). Last year, initially, the Beast was not going to be supported. I had already run the NJ Super (aka Mini Beast) and had an idea of what worked for me, and what my Battle Group encountered on the course. I used this knowledge to prepare my pack for the Beast – and some extra. This is my take on the subject of packing for these races.
I highly recommend planning as though there won’t be any stops along the way and you are self supportive. Granted, if you are planning to be running with the elite folks, you may not need to worry quite so much, so use these tips as needed. Some people will take a few hours. Some people will take longer. Some people may lose the trail for a bit – Sorry Team Lost 🙂
Last year the NJ Super took me about 5 hours to complete and the VT Beast took me about 10 hours to complete. I had ITB issues in both races which led to a slower pace, but I was trucking along nonetheless. If you feel you fall in the middle of bell curve (like me) or on lower end of the bell curve (a slower, and yet still awesome pace!) you’ll want to pay attention to the information I have to share. Keep in mind, on these types of courses, you obviously need to look out for your own needs first. It is always mindful to consider you may run into another athlete in need as well, and it would be best to have some extra stuff “just in case.” Also, in the event you have some sort of issue that slows you down, you’ll be happy to have prepared for the extra time by having extra stuff.
My Packing List:
3L Hydration Pack – 50/50 mix of unflavored Pedialyte (or generic brand) and water
2-3 Powerbar Energy Gels (I’ll use at least one at the midway point)
2-3 GU Chomps/Clif Bloks
2-3 Pkg Snap Supercandy
2-3 Bars (My current bar of choice is Garuka Bars, but Clif/Luna/whatever)
2-3 Salt or Mustard Packets (You, or someone you encounter, may have some serious cramping – this will help!)
1 pair of dry socks
*I purchased some small dry bags to put all of this stuff in. There’s nothing worse than consuming half a package of Chomps or SportsBeans and then discovering they were submersed in water along the way and now are useless.
** The socks will be stored in a different dry bag. Obviously they are more useful when dry.
I’m not saying they’ll be needed, because I don’t know what is being thrown at us, but here are a few other things worth possibly throwing in your bag:
Goggles (I’m giving these a shot this year, as I wear contacts!)
Headlamp (For the NJ Super -If you are still on the course and hit the cutoff at 7pm, you will need this to continue!)
Above and beyond the lists above, use your best judgement. I like to prepare for the unexpected on some level. If this is your first distance over a Sprint (and TM doesn’t count because they are HEAVILY supported, usually), you’ll probably want to bring a little more than you expect to use and learn from your personal experience.
I hope this answers some questions for those of you who are trying to figure out what to bring along!