How to Pack for Running During the Winter Vacation
The holidays are an exciting time of year, full of awe and wonderment, anticipation and joy. But oftentimes, traveling for the holidays means added stress and anxiety. And as runners, trying to plan ahead for both holiday festivities and the opportunity to squeeze in some runs during our downtime can be overwhelming. This is especially true when our holiday plans have us flying up in the air, and we are trying to be mindful of the number of bags we are checking and the weight of each of those bags (or else risk breaking the bank in extra airport travel fees!). Fortunately, whether you are traveling by car, by plane, or just staying at mom’s down the road overnight on Christmas Eve, we have you covered with a full list of running necessities and how to pack enough but pack lightly!
Will You Have Access to a Washer and Dryer?
The first thing you want to figure out is if you will have access to a washer and dryer. Even if it means splurging a couple bucks and spending a bit of a free afternoon at a nearby laundromat, being able to wash and re-wash your workout clothes can really help you pack more efficiently. Having to only pack a few complete running outfits (as opposed to one outfit for every single time you plan to run or exercise) means having more room and spare weight in your suitcase for cute party dresses, holiday suits, and plenty of shoe options. This is even more important during the winter months when clothing is bulkier and heavier, and packing efficiently becomes even more of a priority.
If you absolutely will not be able to wash your clothes, then it is all about strategically planning and picking your outfits. Unfortunately, this does not leave much room for flexibility, as it is best to plan out ahead of time exactly what days you will be running, and check your weather app for the forecasted temperatures. One packing tip that has really helped me in the past is to roll clothes instead of a fold and lay them flat. Rolling clothing articles into little cylinders allows for easy stacking and packing!
What Will The Weather Be Like?
Going back to the weather, you will definitely need to check to see what temperatures are to be expected where you are traveling and plan for any sort of inclement weather. This is where it will really help you out to research ahead of times if there are any cheap gyms in the area you will be staying. If you can get to the gym to do your runs on a treadmill, (although it might not be the ideal running location) you will ensure that you can get your runs in, you won’t have to worry about the weather, and you can pack summery running outfits, which are typically lighter and will help save you more room in your bags and suitcases.
If the weather is calling for rain or snow, you will have to pack more insulated and thermal layers. In these instances, it is better to have too much than not enough (for safety purposes). Make sure you pack headgear or something to cover your ears, gloves, long tights, and long-sleeved shirts. If temperatures are really going to drop then you might want to consider extra insulation, such as a vest to protect your core or a wind/rain running jacket.
The good thing about these clothing items is that, even though they are made for winter running, they are typically easy to fold and pack, and lightweight (with the exception of puffier and bulkier wind and rain gear). If you are wanting to run every day, and snow or rain is in the forecast, your shoes probably won’t have enough time in between runs to dry out completely. So it might serve you best to consider packing more than one pair of running shoes.
Technology, Devices, and Fuel
Aside from clothes, you need to think about what running technology and devices you will need. If you have a smartwatch, that will definitely come in handy – especially if you plan to run outside and want a way to track distance, mileage, and pace. If you are used to running with music at home, then you will probably want to bring along an mp3 player and headphones, as well as an armband or belt to stick your devices in.
If you are still marathon training over the holidays and hope to squeeze in a few long runs on vacation, then you will need to bring your fuel as well. If you are really trying to stick to a particular nutrition plan, then the planning ahead becomes a bit more tricky because you might have to find a way to get to a grocery, health foods, or running foods store while on vacation (since not all of those foods can be easily transported when traveling). If your suitcase and bags have room for non-perishable items that will get through security at the airport, then take as much with you as possible. But, if you are already worried about the room in your baggage for other essentials, choose to pack clothes before food (since it’ll be more cost-effective to purchase food as opposed to purchasing new clothes).