Marathon Survival Kit – Your Life Saver On The Race Day

Running first marathon is more adventurous than visiting the Disneyland, you’ll never know what will happen in the 26.2 miles. Though most of the issues are just minor discomfort or pain, adding up and lasting for hours can be hard to bear especially when you are tired and exhausted, that eventually can bring you down from accomplishing your first marathon goal. Bringing with you a marathon survival kit can help you put out the fire before it sweeps across the forest.

There is a saying, “A person embarking on a day’s march would be foolish to carry enough provisions for a lifetime.” Likewise, you don’t have to bring a camping backpack of accessories with you in running the marathon, and actually it’s not necessary. Simply bring what is essential and fit them into your hydration belt or waist bag.

Racing Fuel

While glycogen is the most effective form of energy during running, some studies indicate glycogen storage will be depleted at around 15 to 20 mile mark, depending on a variety of factors including weight of the runner, his pace, the weather. It is where “hitting the wall” happens that runners experience sudden loss of energy to carry on. I have met numerous first time marathon runners without carrying any food to fuel themselves.

If you have followed a proper nutrition plan during training, you should already have a strategy on how much and when to fuel during the race.

Some Favorite Snack

Running a marathon is grueling, both to the body and mind. You may be frustrated and feeling down especially when you are tired and exhausted in the later part of the race. Eating some of your favorite snacks like candies, nuts or cookies can bring your mood back and motivate you to carry on during the tough time.

Nail Clipper

Running in a marathon is not the right time to cut you nails, right? There are times when your toenails are not cut perfectly. Imagine your toes are being spiked by something more than ten thousand times! I have experienced in two marathons when I felt like my big toe was piercing by the edge of the nail after running a few miles in the race. It was disturbing and painful.

After finishing the race when I took off my shoes, only to find that a swollen blood pool under the nail my big toe. It was not caused by incorrect shoe size or lacing as they were not changed after the last long run in the training.

This is not a popular item to carry in a marathon. Yet, you will love it in case same thing happens to you in the race.

Anti Chafing Cream

Your skin is rubbing with clothes and skin of other part of the body for tens of thousands of time in a marathon. Though you should have applied this cream before the race, you may need to replenish after running for some time, especially when the weather is dry.

Tissue & Wet Wipes

In case you visit the mobile bathroom where tissue paper and water have run out. It does happen.

Adhesive Bandage

Quick fix protection of mild injuries and blisters. Bring a few pieces of both small and medium size.

Pain Relieving Gel or Spray

Running first marathon is probably the longest distance you have ever run, even though you have gone through training for months. It is inevitable to experience some sore and pain in muscles and joints during the race. Applying the gel or spray can help to relieve temporarily so you will stay focus and keep moving forward.

Anti Diarrhea Medicine

Running a marathon is challenging to your internal organs too. Feeling of upset tummy is not uncommon and is rather disturbing during a race. Bring 2 dose that used to work for you can help in case it happens.

Pain Killer?

Personally I am not encouraging you to take this during the race, not because it may be considered as cheating, but it can be harmful to you. Some studies indicate that taking pain killer before or during running a marathon can cause gastrointestinal upset, hurt your kidney, liver, or even raise the risk of heart attack. It is advisable to consult your doctor first before bringing and consuming any of them.

A Final Word

Running a marathon first time is challenging, there is no reason to sabotage your goal by those minor injuries or irritations happening along the race. It is better to quick fix them before becoming worse.

Carry a survival kit with the essential elements can be your life saver that take you safely to the finish line.

If you have any feedback or experiences to share with us, I would love to hear them. Simply drop a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you.

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8 thoughts on “Marathon Survival Kit – Your Life Saver On The Race Day

  1. Hoping that I have what I required during my first marathon 2 years ago, when I quit at half point due to upset stomach! It was a terrible experience! 🙁

    • Hello Jacob,
      Thanks for visiting my website and sharing your case.
      Sorry for your experience in your first marathon. Things happen unexpectedly always during a marathon which last for normally 4 to 6 hours for a first marathoner. The only way to fix those common irritations is to carry with you the quick fix tools during the race. That’s why a marathon survival kit can be your life saver to finish a marathon.

      Don’t be discouraged. We all can learn from our experience and move forward. Hope you will keep running and prepare for a success marathon in the near future.

      Best of luck!

  2. I remember my first marathon in my life ten years ago. It still impress me so much because of the feeling of my body after 10km. The first thing I feel is coming from my leg. If I have some pain relieving gel or spray at that time. I believe I won’t suffer so much at that time.

    During the marathon, if I have prepared some snack, I think I will not be frustrated and feeling down so much. When I finish the marathon, I dint feel anything because of the tired and exhausted.

    I think all the beginner of marathon neglect the importance of survival kit, So do I. After reading your post, it gains me a lot of knowledge about that. I think I should carry a survival kit when I am runnig outside or go hiking. Before, I never carry anything expcet water.

    Do you have any survival kit recommend to me?

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello CT,

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Glad to know you ran a first marathon ten years ago, it’s a great accomplishment!

      It’s hard to imagine what will happen in first marathon as it is most probably the longest distance a runner has ever in his life, everything can happen during the 42km. I have met numerous first marathoners without bringing any food to fuel in the race, it is the most terrible but avoidable mistake. A marathon survival kit with the essential element could make the difference between success and failure after rigorous training for months.

      It’s good you are thinking of carrying a survival kit running outside or go hiking, I would recommend you to bring along the essential elements with you, just in case something accidental, such as getting lost during hiking. However, it will be different from the marathon survival kit.

      For running outside, just carry water, some snack, a few piece of adhesive bandage and some cash will be good enough, of course I assume your cellphone and ID is always with you.

      For hiking, you should carry, in addition to running outside, some high energy food such as energy bar or chocolate, some medicine, a Swiss Army knife, a compass, one more bottle of water, and a spare battery pad for cellphone.

      Hope you enjoy running and looking forward to hearing from you on running a second marathon in the future.

      Best wishes!


  3. I like the Idea of running a marathon but I fear I may be too heavy to do one safely, Is there an optimal body type and weight to comfortably run a marathon? I’m 6ft and 110 kg but heavily muscled

    • Hello Marvin,

      Thank you for visiting my site.

      There is no optimal body type and weight to comfortably run a marathon, as long as you are healthy after consulting your doctor. Of course a heavy runner will be more likely to get his legs and ankles hurt, but through proper training and closely monitoring the status, I see no reason a heavy runner cannot run a marathon.

      Also if you are dedicated to the training for a marathon, there’s a good chance you will have weight loss during the training period. This will add the chance to run more comfortably in the end.

      All in all, have a health check up with your doctor. Start easy and closely monitor the status.

      Best wishes.


  4. I am an infrequent runner and have no plans to run a marathon. But if I ever do I’ll be sure to look up this article again because most of it is things I never, ever would have thought to bring on my own.

    • Hi Mariah,
      Thank you for visiting my site.
      Hope you will enjoy running in the future as it is good for your health. And perhaps you will love running once you have started and consider running a marathon too.

      Best wishes.


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