Dark periods, please, please wear reflective gear. If you can't do that, wear something bright......if you can't do either then stay off the road.....don't blame some unfortunate motorist if he can't see you.
If you can't be bothered to MAKE yourself visible...then don't expect to be seen!!
If you are showering/changing at the track, you don't need other gear, except for a pair of ‘flip-flops' (for foot hygiene) and toiletries. However, if driving home directly, at least a further change of top is absolutely essential, preferably have a spare set of leggings also. Remember, when you FEEL cold, you ARE *extremely* cold - and at that point, you are most susceptible to coming down with a cold and that will put a stop to your gallop, or at the very least disrupt it.
You use your feet all the time - so for Pete's sake, take care of them.
Nails: If you don't cut them they'll make crap of your socks and maybe your shoes too. You won't do the nails any good either.
Calluses: If like me, you suffer from calluses, there is a solution. I used to suffer terribly from massive blood blisters during long races, particularly marathons. I then discovered callous blades and have had very few problems since. Basically the blade pares down the callous, thus significantly reducing the risk of the callous lifting and a blister forming.
Vaseline & Talcum Powder I have found by experience that applying Vaseline to the feet doesn't work. Its great starting out but dries out and makes matters worse, with bigger blisters forming. I graduated to using talcum powder. This works fine until your feet get wet... What I use now....see calluses, above!
Bodyglide: Use this instead of Vaseline. It's available from certain sports shops and particularly cycling shops. Costs about €14 but, I'm told lasts, a long time.
Stitching on your socks chafing your toes? Does the stitching on your socks chafe/blister your toes? Wear the socks inside out! Who is going to be looking at you? I wear all my running socks inside out...training or racing. I doubt if anyone ever noticed...and if they did, it was while watching a clean pair of heels go past.
Shoe & Gear Care
Get yourself a GOOD pair of runners. You will need a pair of shoes with plenty of support, particularly if you have a tendency to pronate or supinate. Many of the general "sports shops" sell runners that are a heap of crap - designer accessories.
Go to a proper sports shop where you can get advice on running - if in doubt, ask "Where can I join a running club?" If they can't answer that, you know you're in the wrong place.
Laces coming loose in the middle of a race? Always happens when you're on for a PB (whatever that is - haven't had one for 15 years!). Solution: After you've tied them, stick the loops under at least one of the cross strings. Almost guaranteed you'll never have a lace problem again.
Wet shoes: If your shoes get soaked, dry them out by stuffing rolled up newspaper pages right into the insides. If they're really wet, you may have to change the paper later on or the next morning. Generally, no matter haw wet they've been, they will be dry enough to run in when you want them. It is crucial to follow this procedure - if you don't do this, your shoes will smell like CAT'S PISS - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
Do NOT be tempted to put wet shoes on top of a radiator, hot water cylinder or other heat source - they will SHRINK!
Sunlight - don't leave your shoes in direct sunlight - worst place is the back shelf, under the window, of the car. UV light will prematurely age the synthetics in the shoe and make them hard.
It is a good idea to rub a small bit of Vaseline into the holes of your spikes before using them for the first time - makes it easier to get them out afterwards. When removing spikes, give then a slight turn in the tightening direction first. This loosens the spikes slightly and makes it easier to open them - assuming that didn't over tighten them in the first place! After a muddy cross-country session, follow the procedure for wet shoes and, once the mud on the outside has dried, brush off with a stiff brush. A scrubbing brush is useful for doing this.