Thursday, July 10, 2014

#FitnessHacks - Cut Down Your Packing Time & Stress | Excel to the Rescue

We have all heard the stories of runners forgetting a shirt, Garmin or even their shoes for an out-of-town race event.  I think that is my worst nightmare. 
I have traveled a lot due to personal and work responsibilities.  Traveling is no longer my thing, but when I do, I use the same methodology I used when I was traveling non-stop for months at a time.

Here are a few tips that will help you ensure you have a successful packing & travel plan
1.  TRAVELING BY AIR:  Always put your race day gear and essentials in a carry-on bag.  Shoes, Body Glide, KT Tape, Gels, shorts, shirts, Garmin, etc.  Never chance that your luggage will be delayed or lost.  Have it on your person, at all times.

2.  TRAVELING BY CAR:  Do not depend on your GPS working.  Technology does go out.  I had that happen to me on one trip. It was out for over a day.  Trying to find a local map, anywhere was impossible.  Create a travel folder. I use those cheapy folders with pockets (10 for $1 at the Dollar Stopre). I print off from Google Maps several directions  *How to get to from home city to the Expo  *How to get to Expo to the Hotel  *How to get to Race start from Hotel *How to get to carb load dinner from Hotel *How to get home from Race Finish.   If your GPS goes out, these will be life-savers.  Once, my GPS wouldn't work for 2 days.  The written directions were the only way I could figure out how to get to my destinations. 

  • To also include in the folder:  Your race day registration & hotel registration.  In 2012 the hotel lost my registration (twice!).  I was able to present them with hard copies and get a room. Had I not, I would of not had my room at my discounted rate.  

3.  LEAVE AN EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET AT HOME:  If someone should happen to you, don't count on anyone knowing how to get in touch of your loved ones.  Emergencies can happen anywhere, not just on the race course.  Leave your race and hotel information.  Leave a detailed plan of where you will be each day.   Leave at least 2 other phone numbers of friends you will be with.  That way, your loved ones can call others, if they cannot locate you. You should also give the person(s) you are traveling with your medical history and loved ones contact information, in case they need to get in touch with them. 

PACKING - this is the make it or break it moment for traveling racers. Forget something and your entire race experience could be in jeopardy.

Next time you are prepping for a local race, make a list of ALL the things you need to get ready.  Don't leave any detail out, including your fueling source.  Pack your fueling source!  Do not believe you can find it at the expo.  They may run out or won't have your preferred brand or flavor.  Fueling takes up MINIMAL space. I have seen many, many runners in a panic, because they could not find their fueling at an expo. 

I create a packing list on an Excel Spreadsheet.  It helps me organize each day and then decided what I am needing/wearing for each day. The Excel template is saved on my laptop and also in Google Docs.  I print it on packing day, and I am ready to pack. No more wondering "what do I need to take?"  I have it already written down.

Below is an example (blank) of what I do.  It's an older list, as I have added some things (like a fueling belt, supplements, etc)

In each space - I write a description of what I will be wearing that day.

The list stays the same for every trip (left hand column), but what I wear changes based on what race I am running.  Below is an example of how I begin to fill out my packing list. This way, I am not thinking about what I need to bring on each trip - the master list is created.  My only choice is what to wear for each category (what top, what shoes, etc)


  • You will also see off to the right is my meal planner. I bring my own food for the races, so I can control what I am eating and no risk of food poisoning.  This helps me plan and pack for the meals.

  • The bottom part of the this is toiletries and personal essentials.  

I no longer have to make a new list on every trip.  The amount of time I am packing is cut down considerably because I have this list on my desk and I make notes on it, as I think about it.  On the average, I can pack for any race road trip in less than 30 minutes.  I use this style of packing list when my family is coming with me.  2 adults + 2 kids + 2 dogs + 2 hamster = serious organizing.
  • Cost:  pennies for paper
  • Time saved:  for me, it saves a few hours each trip and stress-free packing

What tips do you have the road traveler? I would love to hear them!  

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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