Friday, May 3, 2013

Put your running spectators to work

There is nothing better than knowing that you’re going to see family and friends along a race route.  It’s a milestone marker that you can set out for yourself and recover a bit.  It’s also a huge boost that you’ll need.  When my family comes out to see me run a marathon, I stop just about every time that I see them, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.  I figure if they’re going to follow me around during the whole race, I better stop and let them know how I’m doing and all.

There are definitely times when I’ve seen my family at a race and haven’t stopped.  My awesome family in Ohio were at mile 25 of the 2010 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, I was on track to PR and felt too darn good to stop.  I was too close to the finish to stop – I had to keep stepping.  If I ever try to BQ, I’m sure there won’t be much stopping then either.

Since my family is coming to these races, I secretly put them to work as my race crew.  I’ve asked them to bring me items during and after the race.


I usually prepare the before, during, and after bags the night before the race.  Creating 3 different bags makes it so easy for your family.  Instead of asking for certain items, you’re asking for a specific bag.  Pictures shown here are from the Cowtown Ultra Marathon – 50K that I ran in February.

Before Bag

The Before bag has my stuff that I need before the race… Garmin, GUs, SPI Belt, headphones, etc., etc.  I usually take this bag with me to the start line.  I’ll hand it back to my family along with any jacket or pants that I might take off.

During Bag


I usually pin some directions on the During bag as shown in the picture to help them during the race.  What’s in the bag?  Some extra GU in case that I drop any.  A dry shirt, a towel, band aids, extra water bottle, and a plastic Walmart bag for any wet sweaty clothes that I might take off.  As you might notice in the picture, I ask for water and Gatorade G2.  It’s listed on the directions since the drinks are in a cooler.  :)

So, just think of what you might need during the race and throw it in the during bag.  Best case is that you won’t need it.  But, if you need it and it’s there… all the better!

After Bag

20130224_040759My After bag usually contains my favorite post-race beverages: chocolate milk and grape Gatorade G2.  It also contains my favorite protein bar, a dry shirt, towel, pants, and a jacket.  I get cold pretty easily after the race is over.  I need dry clothes to change into pretty quick.  It’s such a weird luxury to change into dry clothes.

I also place a portable battery phone charger in this bag as my phone will usually be close to dead.  I got my phone charger from Groupon.  It definitely comes in handy.  With the phone charger, I can start responding to tweets, texts, and FaceBook posts as I recover.

I keep refining the before, during, and after system and it’s worked out pretty well.  Below is a picture of my race crew after the race.  Notice the after bag :)   Best race crew ever!

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If your family is out there, they want to help you along your journey. Make it easy on them to help.  They’ll even feel more involved in the race.

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