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July 18, 2013

What a Runner Should Have in the Car

Written by Dena Evans

glove_boxEven if your runs primarily depart from home or office, running or racing will likely take you to points best accessed by car at some point or another.   Not everyone can have everything in the car at all times, but a few key items left in the car (rather than trying to remember them each time out) can make a driving runner’s life a bit easier. Furthermore, even when days, weeks, or months go by without needing to use these exact resources, knowing they are there can reduce concern and stress heading into an important effort.

 

Blanket / towel (or more than one)

One of these items can provide protection and warmth after a surprise cold rainstorm on a November morning, or a layer between you and the driver’s seat when the air is thick with humidity.  Having a towel or blanket can also make it more likely you will take a moment to stretch or roll, or spend 5-10 minutes adding some core work to the end of your run when you have a spare few moments.  If you or someone you are with is really in distress, a blanket or towel can be invaluable sopping up a variety of bodily fluids, and takes up relatively little space in the trunk.  Although the absorption value isn’t there, a saved space blanket from the end of a long race can also be an easy to store, useful item as a layer between a gross, sweaty, or wet you and your car / the elements.

 

Fuel

Fueling directly after a hard workout or long run is key to regulating your blood sugar and quickening recovery.  Take a moment to stack a few of your favorite bars and some gels for mid run replenishment in the glove box or in a Ziploc in the trunk.  This will ensure you can top off the tank at the end of your run and avoid a midday bonk or rash meal decision due to the sharp pang of hunger + fatigue.  Sometimes, you are coming from a location where you can’t select or prepare a snack to bring with you for before, during, or after.  If you have a snack readily accessible, your chances of success in that workout or run will increase.

 

Water

Even one spare 16 ounce bottle can be of great help if you exhaust your fluids on the run and arrive back at a trailhead with no facilities and a lengthy drive to the nearest gas station or store.  Water can also wash dirt or blood away as needed due to mid-run mishaps.  Pack a dissolve-able tablet or two of your favorite electrolyte replacement fluid with your fuel stash, and you will be in even better shape.

 

First Aid Kit

A must.  Even if it includes only some bandaids, Neosporin, and some basic gauze, tape, and perhaps an anti inflammatory, the chance to tend to a mishap directly after it occurs makes a huge difference compared to how that same injury might react hours later.

 

A charger or an adapter

When in remote areas, having a phone charger that works with the car can be of significant help in a tough spot, and with the proliferation of chargers with USB ports, charging a GPS device with the car’s power is now easily possible as well.

 

Hat with a bill, gloves

A running hat with a bill is compact and crushable, but can help keep water from the eyes in a rainstorm and sun from the face when no clouds are in the sky.  Gloves ($1 gloves from Target, or similar), can feel like the most precious piece of clothing when they are really needed.  Neither takes up very much space.

 

A Roller or a Stick

Again, if your run is squeezed between other appointments or engagements, or involves a decent length drive to and from, consider keeping a stick in the car.   It takes up very little space, and can be used both to loosen up before the run as well as to start the recovery process without some of the stiffness inevitable on the drive back.

 

Wet Wipes

No longer just for the backsides of babies, these come in handy packets and can save the day in an unlimited array of hygiene and cleaning scenarios.

 

Every runner has their particular comfort items, their specific variations of this list that provide peace of mind and care when things haven’t gone well, or even if they have.  A bit of forethought to keep some of these items on hand when driving to runs can clutter the trunk, but can also help our bodies handle the rigors of training well, even while in the midst of our complicated lives.

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