I'm Traveling Out of Town For a Half-Marathon, and This Is What I'm Packing

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When I ran my first half-marathon five years ago, I only had to take a subway ride into Brooklyn; the race was in Bay Ridge and it was off the water. Sounds lovely, right? False: it was pouring down rain the entire time. The course was just up and down a few times so it was incredibly boring. And the race was so disorganized, the volunteers who were supposed to give us the mile markers didn't even know what mile we were on. Needless to say, I swore off long races after that.

Although there are plenty of fun, well-organized races in the New York City area, I decided to give half-marathons another go and sign up for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas on Nov. 17. I have heard from friends that Rock 'n' Roll races are a lot of fun, and the race is around the strip in Las Vegas at night. Plus, there are tons of perks as a VIP such as a Kesha concert, after-parties, and VIP bathrooms (score!).

However, this is my first time running a long-distance race out of town, which means I need to be extra prepared. I'm only bringing a small carry-on suitcase and a small gym bag as my personal item, so I've gotta pack efficiently. And while I have my Vegas outfits planned out — trading in my sneakers for some club attire — I want to make sure I'm prepped for the race and the days before and after. Check out what I'm planning on packing ahead.

ASICS GT-2000 7 Women's Running Shoes
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ASICS GT-2000 7 Women's Running Shoes

Arguably the most important thing I will bring to my race is my pair of running sneakers. I might just wear them on my feet to the airport so I don't forget them! While everyone has their own preferred type and style of running shoe, I've been loving my ASICS GT-2000 7 Women's Running Shoes ($89). I got fitted for them at a running store after I noticed I was experiencing some knee pain in my previous running sneakers. The associate noticed I overpronate when I run, so he recommended these shoes that have more motion control and stability. After running in them, my knee and joint pain has decreased and they are roomy enough for my wide feet. Although I didn't care too much about the colorway on these sneakers (I'm more concerned with functionality than aesthetics), I got the Black/Skylight and really like them!

JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds
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JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

I would argue that my second-most-important item is this pair of JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds ($69). I have spent the last few months curating my running playlist of pump-up jams and need to listen to it during the race to keep me motivated. The sound quality is good without being noise-canceling; I still like to hear background noise (in this case, the cheering crowd!), especially when I'm outside.

Athleta Speedlight Top
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Athleta Speedlight Top

Since we are running at night, the temps will be a little cool — Vegas gets down to the 50s! I am planning on running in this long-sleeved Athleta Speedlight Top ($64) since it will keep me warm enough through the chilly temps, but it's still thin and breathable when I work up a sweat.

Dagne Dover 365 Medium Landon Neoprene Carryall Duffel Bag
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Dagne Dover 365 Medium Landon Neoprene Carryall Duffel Bag

I'm trying to pack light for this trip (which is no easy feat for me!) and I love traveling with my Dagne Dover 365 Medium Landon Neoprene Carryall Duffel Bag ($155). It's roomy enough to fit everything I need for the plane and then some — including my 13-inch laptop — but small enough to count as my personal item and fit underneath the seat in front of me.

Athleta Crunch Colorblock 7/8 Tight in SuperSonic
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Athleta Crunch Colorblock 7/8 Tight in SuperSonic

I've tried and tested several leggings during my runs, and my favorite for long runs is this Athleta Crunch Colorblock 7/8 Tight in SuperSonic ($98). This pair is high-wasted and stays up during my runs, and the 7/8 length hits me at the right spot on my ankle. Plus, the material keeps me warm without getting too hot.

Gu Energy Gels
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Gu Energy Gels

For my longer runs, I have found I get hungry and hit a wall around mile 7 or 8. I will bring a couple of these Gu Energy Gels ($32, previously $35) with me to keep me fueled during the race. The chocolaty flavors are tasty and there are enough calories and caffeine to give me a boost. I'm not sure if I will need them, but it's good to be prepared!

Reebok PureMove Sports Bra
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Reebok PureMove Sports Bra

Another essential piece of gear for a long race is a supportive sports bra. I've been loving Reebok's PureMove Bra ($60) for my long runs. Although it looks like just another compression bra, the cups are more molded than a typical sports bra so I don't feel as constricted to keep things secure, yet comfortable.

FlipBelt Classic
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FlipBelt Classic

Before I started training for a half-marathon, I was typically a treadmill gal. But when I started running outside, I needed something to stash my phone, keys, and other necessities. The FlipBelt Classic ($29) fits around the waistband of my pants without adding any extra bulk, and stores my phone and keys so easily and safely, I can barely feel them, nor do I have to worry about them falling out.

FlipBelt Water Bottle
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FlipBelt Water Bottle

Not only does the FlipBelt hold my keys and phone, but it also holds this FlipBelt Water Bottle ($10) that was designed specifically for the FlipBelt. It fits in perfectly and you can barely feel it. Plus, the 11 ounces is enough to get me through a few miles if I need to stop and rehydrate in between water stations.

Vega Sport Hydrator Single-Serve Packs
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Vega Sport Hydrator Single-Serve Packs

Staying hydrated before and after a long race is important, but many electrolyte drinks on the market are packed with added sugars. The Vega Sport Hydrator Single-Serve Packs ($19, previously $30) is sugar-free and only five calories per serving, but packs a punch with electrolytes to help you recover and stay hydrated.

Nike Elite No-Show Running Socks
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Nike Elite No-Show Running Socks

Finding supportive running socks that will move with you, wick sweat away, and not cause your feet to chafe are key. After all, you are running 13.1 miles! I love these Nike Elite No-Show Running Socks ($18) because they are thin enough to fit into my shoe comfortably, but provide enough cushion and support. My feet don't slip and slide around, and the tab in the back is big enough that I don't get any chafing.

Lacrosse Balls
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Lacrosse Balls

Since I don't have room in my bag for my beloved Theragun, I am bringing these small Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls ($10) which can get into my sore muscles and trigger points for before and after the race. They barely take up any room in my bag and work wonders.

Nike Featherlight Running Cap
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Nike Featherlight Running Cap

Since I'm running at night, I won't need to worry about the sun getting in my eyes, but I still like to wear this Nike Featherlight Running Cap ($20, previously $26) to keep the hair out of my face. Headbands tend to slide off, and this absorbs my forehead sweat better than any headband has.

Apple Watch Series 3
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Apple Watch Series 3

You can certainly run a long-distance race without a smart watch, but I have found my Apple Watch Series 3 ($189) to be a game-changer in terms of prepping for my half-marathon. Yes, it's expensive, but it helps me easily track my mileage and keep track of my pace. Since my Nike Run Club app connects to my Apple Watch, it helps me track my distance and speed. Plus, I can change the songs on my Spotify playlist directly from my watch.

Run Forever Sports Compression Socks
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Run Forever Sports Compression Socks

I've never been someone who swears by running while wearing compression socks, but I have heard they can be good for recovery. And since I'm getting on a five-hour flight a couple days after my race, I want to do everything I can to prevent swelling and sore muscles. I plan on wearing these Run Forever Sports Compression Socks ($20) both after my race and on the flight home.

One Protein Bar in Birthday Cake
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One Protein Bar in Birthday Cake

The thing about traveling out of town for races is I'm not sure what the food situation is going to be like. To curb hunger in between meals or for a quick breakfast, I'm packing a few One Protein Bars ($24 for a pac k of 12). Each bar has one gram of sugar, 13 grams of net carbs (22 grams of total carbs), and 20 grams of protein to keep you satisfied.