At the risk of your non-running colleagues referring to you as that crazy runner chick or dude, below is a list of the top 10 things every runner should keep in their car.
Mini First Aid Kit w/ ice pack
Safety first! Everyone wipes out once in a while or rolls an ankle. Having a kit on hand can prevent infection or reduce swelling dramatically; this could be the difference between you racing next weekend or not!
Towel or Two
Being a runner is no excuse for a dirty or unhygienic car. If you don’t plan on investing in washable seat covers, consider throwing an old towel or two in your trunk. Friends that catch a ride to and from the trail will feel more comfortable sitting on a towel than mucking up your seat! Some races sell towels as memorabilia!
There is nothing worse than starting a run on an empty stomach or finishing a run feeling faint with a 30-minute drive ahead of you. Keep some simple snacks (Picky Bars) on hand to prevent mid-run blues and post run spins. Having protein bars on hand will allow you to refuel within the recommended 30-minute window and help quicken your recovery! If you have the next item you could consider keeping a jar of protein powder in your trunk!
Most trailheads or parks have a water fountain around. Fill up your bottle to replenish all the water you lost through getting your sweat on. This will make your drive home much more comfortable!
This is a must! All runners should be applying sunscreen before runs to protect themselves from UV rays.
In addition to fending off the sun, you may want to keep Technu on hand to ward off poison oak and ivy. Read more on Technu.
Deodorant/Baby Wipes/Hand sanitizer
Be fast but don’t be stinky! It’s very common to grab a drink or breakfast with a training partner after a run. Whip on some deodorant, wipe the mud off the back of your legs with your baby wipes and clean up those hands before you stuff your face.
A Change of Warm Clothes (Beanie & Gloves!)
After the next rainy day you will thank me! Nothing beats swapping out your wet running clothes for some cozy dry ones. If you haven’t yet stocked your car with towels this change of clothes will save your seats and keep you from catching a cold! It isn’t a bad idea to keep a beanie and gloves in your car as well; you never know when a storm is coming!
Extra pair of shoes & socks
It happens way too often that you pack your gym back but forget your shoes or socks. Having a spare can be quite a relief on days when you just can’t quite get it together! An extra pair of socks can also serves as thin gloves when you forget those as well!
Perform your pre and post run stretches in comfort and style! You are more likely to stretch immediately after running than when you get home. If you’ve had a long day at work we recommend experiementing with Wharton’s Performance rope stretching exercises.
Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) Tool
Don’t let your muscles get “gummy” as US Half Marathon Record Holder Ryan Halls says.
Prevent build up of scar tissue and muscle adhesions by using SMR tools before and after runs as needed. For every 10 minutes of running you should perform at least 1 minute of SMR on your body!
About the Author: Chantelle Wilder is the Senior Editor and Co-Founder of Runners Feed. She also competes for the New Balance Silicon Valley Club in the Bay Area of California. When she isn’t running, or editing she can be found enjoying the fruitful wines of nearby Napa Valley while challenging her husband to a game of Bananagrams®.