When you're running a marathon, the last thing you need is to be held back by uncomfortable gear or a chafing vest. Take the same approach to race-day wear as you do to race-day itself, and practice, practice, practice!
Opt for breathable, quick-dry clothing for race day. You might be given a branded running vest by your charity; pair this with a pair of running shorts or cropped running leggings. Some people prefer to run in full-length leggings, but it can get warm in our European marathon cities so something shorter is better. Don't forget that you will heat up a lot over 42.195km, and will likely need less clothing than you would on a shorter training run.
Whatever you choose to wear, the most important thing is that you practice running long distances in your race kit. Everyone is different, and the only way you're going to work out what you like to wear whilst running is to test it out.
“‘I had absolutely ZERO chafing or discomfort from my clothes or shoes because I’d worn the exact same outfit for all my long runs in the month before the marathon!’ ”
— ELINA KUKK (UNIVERSITY OF YORK)
Getting the right pair of running shoes is really important, and you should make sure you purchase them long before race day so that you are training in the same shoes. For guidance on finding the right running shoe for you, please check out our blog: Running Shoes 101.
If you like to listen to music or carry water or snacks with you while you run, you might like to invest in some running accessories.
Armbands are great if you like to listen to music or podcasts while you run but don't like to be weighed down by too much extra gear. They are super cheap and can be easily found online. Their only potential downside is that they can cause chafing if worn on bare arms - try to find one in as soft a material as possible. If you are prone to chafing, you can always try putting vaseline on your trouble areas to prevent it. Invest in a pair of bluetooth headphones (ones with ear/sport clamps are best) so that wires don't get in the way and fall out with the gait of your run!
Running belts come in a variety of shapes and sizes - from the slickest pouches with barely enough space for your keys, to those with big pockets to carry multiple water bottles at once. They're a great way to carry everything you might need hands-free, but again, watch out for chafing!
You might like to invest in a running bag for training, particularly if you like to run to/from university or work. But it's best to avoid carrying too much on race day as extra weight will only make the race tougher, and with lots of water and snack stations along the course, you shouldn't need too much with you.
Whether you opt for an armband, belt, or running bag, the same rule applies: ensure that you practice with your kit before race day, and there will be nothing to hold you back.