5 Gear Must-Haves - interview with EMPOWER Race Ambassador Susie Lemmer, Suzlyfe.com

We caught up with popular run coach, marathoner, blogger and EMPOWER Race Series Ambassador, Susie Lemmer about her race day gear must-haves.

We learned that race success comes from having a plan, taking a little extra time to pay attention to details, and trusting your training and your gear strategy!

Susie says when it comes to gear on race day, these five things are essential to your success:

  1. Charged Technology! The worst thing that can happen to a nervous runner is getting to the race and finding out that his or her watch, phone, Bluetooth headphones, etc isn’t as ready to run as he or she is.

  2. Body Glide/anti-chafe anywhere there is a seam or change in fabric, and includes transitions from fabric to no fabric! Roll anti-chafe all over areas such as your bra straps around your chest and at the neck, the elastic band around your waist, the tops of your socks, behind your knees, around your toes. Particularly if it is a sweaty or rainy day! You are welcome ahead of time!

  3. Another time tested piece of advice is nothing new on race day. Don’t try new styles, and even if you buy something the day before that is the same style and size and brand as your normal clothes, try it on before to make sure it fits like you expect! Also, don’t try out new fuels the day of your race. Check out what fuel is going to be offered on course and either train with it or make sure that you have enough of your own. Trust me, you don’t want to revisit your fuel on the course!

  4. Lay out your clothes for before, during, and after the race the night before. I start with what I am going to wear for the race, from underwear to sunglasses.

    1. An example: Underwear, sports bra, shorts, singlet/tank, mid-weight throwaway shirt (if needed) or arm warmers, compression sleeves (if needed), running socks, shoes with In Case Of Emergency tag, watch, hat, sunglasses, gloves (if needed). Then I add my fuel and other things that I keep with me (depends on the length of the race) for my pockets or running belt (if needed). My bib and safety pins are last. Sunscreen and antichafe finish everything off!

    2. Before races, I am usually pretty cold, so I get my jacket and overpants ready, as well as what I want to eat in the morning!

    3. For after the race, I make sure I have something to eat, even if there is a party. You never know if there will be enough for you to eat! Also, bring a hairbrush!

    4. If you are taking a bag, make sure that it is suitable for gear check!

  5. Let’s end with 5 things that I never race without:

    1. My phone. I listen to music for the last half of my races, sometimes I take pictures, and I always want it with me in case of emergency.

    2. Clothes that I know fit. Ain’t nobody got time to readjust every 3 seconds. Or blisters from your socks.

    3. Hat and sunglasses. You will notice in nearly every race photo of me that I have my running hat on! I got it at my first marathon, and though I started my running and racing career in headbands, this is my go to--especially once the sun as come up!

    4. Sunscreen! Trust me, it isn’t worth the pain or the later skin cancer.

    5. Confidence. Ok, so maybe not “gear” and let’s be honest, I definitely get nervous, but if I can tell you nothing else, it is to trust your training. It is too late to do anything else!


At the end of the day, gear isn’t going to run the race for you; you still have to do the work. However, the right gear, fitted and applied properly, can help you push just that little bit further and increase your chance of running just the race that you want!

Susie’s BIO

Susie is a Chicago-based running and fitness coach and blogger. Through her blog, Suzlyfe.com, and Coach Suz Training, she works to educate, connect and inspire everyone to live beyond expectations, just as she did when she started running with CCFA Team Challenge for her first half marathon! She has qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times despite her chronic illnesses and now is working on starting a family with her husband, who never listens to any of her running advice. Find out more about her at suzlyfe.com and suzlyfe.com/coach-suz-training and follow her on social media @suzlyfe and @the_suzlyfe on Instagram.