What to Wear When You're Running a Marathon

By Iffley Road. Posted: March 16, 2017

What to wear when running a marathon

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned marathoner, choosing the right kit for a spring marathon such as London is a really important decision.  The absolute golden rule is to ensure you’ve worn everything several times before, preferably on your long training runs.  Sporting new kit on race day, however appealing, is a real no-no.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a couple of options prepared, just in case the weather does something unpredictable.  Of course, this makes for more things to pack in your luggage or bag, but in most cases, better safe than sorry.

The next consideration is the weather on the day.  Here are some combinations we suggest for a couple of different scenarios:

Cold and wet...

We’ve run some pretty cold wet spring marathons over the years.  A good combination is a technical t-shirt and light to mid-weight leggings.  You warm up after the first few miles so for cooler days, even with a bit of drizzle, this should work well.  If you’re unlucky enough to face heavy rain on race day, we’d recommend adding a lightweight waterproof gilet.  (So if you were kitted out in Iffley Road you’d be running in our Cambrian technical t-shirt, Windsor or Virginia leggings and a Sheen waterproof gilet.)


Cambrian maple running t-shirt

Technical t-shirt with drirelease technology.

Windsor slate grey leggings

Mid-weight leggings.

A warm spring day...

Some years you can almost overheat on a spring marathon as the day gradually warms up.  Choose a vest and shorts and remember the sun cream, shades and possibly a cap.  It’s important to choose a fabric that is soft and wicks well - our bespoke drirelease fits the bill.  Apply Vaseline or anti-chafing cream if chafing has been an issue on warmer training runs.  (The Iffley Road outfit would comprise our classic Lancaster running vest with Pembroke or Thompson shorts.)

Lancaster night sky stripe running vest

Soft, wicking running vest

Thompson marine blue shorts

Shorts with highly breathable, mesh fabric

Socks, shoes, and sundries

The “tried and tested” kit rule applies particularly to socks and shoes.  Socks should have been worn a few times without being worn out.  Ditto shoes.  If you have several pairs of trainers put comfort over performance – your superlight racing shoes may be fine for a 10k or even a half but might not offer enough cushioning over the final few miles of the marathon.  Carrying gels and water shouldn’t be necessary as most marathons supply the basics, however check first and practise in training.

Before and after

You may have quite a wait between checking in your baggage and the race start.  It’s important to stay warm and dry, so we always take some old sweats we’re happy to discard plus a trusty black bin liner as a makeshift jacket.  Remember also to pack plenty of warm kit in your baggage for a few hours time when you’ll be celebrating in style.

We hope you now have some good ideas for planning out your kit for race day. Alternatively, you may decide to throw caution to the wind and take the more impressive route of donning fancy dress. After all, it’s all about having fun!

Marathon costume

 Hi-Vis bunny costume

Good luck!

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