Why suffer through a long, chilly wait before your race begins? Pack these throwaway essentials into your security bag and you’ll be comfortable, entertained, and warm! Most of these items you should have laying around at home, and only a few you might need to order, but it’s worth it.

1. Ready-Heat™ Warming Blanket

This is my #1 item to bring along. This kept me toasty warm to the point of being too hot. It’s basically a blanket sewed with heating pads inside. There are 2 sizes: 34″x60″ (full body) and 34″x48″ (half body).

2. Disposable phone charger

Let’s face it, we’ll probably be on our phones for most of the wait, so make sure you have plenty of charge to get you through the pre-race waiting period and the post-race frenzy of contacting your support crew. Choose your version: iPhone or Android.

3. Toe Warmers

Stick these in your shoes to prevent cold toes. You should only need 1 pack.

4. Hot Liquid Thermos for Coffee, Tea, or Bone Broth

Any cheap hot liquid throwaway thermos will do. You can get cheap, lightweight ones from Royal Farms, WaWa or other gas station convenience store that sells food. You’ll have your beverage at hand during the long wait.

5. Reading material (Magazines, Newspapers, Paperback Book, Race Program)

Pack old magazine issues that you have lying around the house. I pack several and get caught up on the last few months of issues that I didn’t have time to read. Examples: Runner’s World, USA Triathlon, American Randonneur. Bonus points for reading articles on the pros that will be at your race. Very inspiring. This is also a great time to read your Race Program and study the route if you haven’t done so yet.

6. Food

Bring enough food to keep you full during the wait. Since that’s usually a few hours, I bring solid foods because I know there will be enough time for it to digest. I am fond of breakfast burritos – pop them in the microwave and throw them in your bag. No utensils needed.

7. Clothes

Wear your throwaway clothes to the race so there’s enough room in your bag for all the other stuff. Throwaway clothes should include a warm pullover or hoodie (a couple layers if it’s extra cold or your garments are thin) , sweatpants, hat, and gloves. You may even consider throwaway shoes if you really want to save your race shoes.

8. Sitting pad

Bring something to sit on. This could be an old yoga mat, pillow, insulated food packaging, or even bubble wrap.

9. Skin Care (Body Glide and lip balm)

Pack one of those tiny samples of Body Glide so you can apply right before your race begins. This will help it last longer instead of it being worn off after hours of waiting.

10. Nail Polish

Bring a color you don’t use anymore from home and do your nails! You’ll have plenty of time to dry them, and then you have something pretty to look at while racing.