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What to Wear When You're Running a Marathon

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned marathoner, choosing the right kit for a marathon 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 weird. 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 marathons over the years.  A good combination is a technical t-shirt and mid to lightweight 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 or jacket. So if you were kitted out in Iffley Road you’d be running in our Cambrian technical t-shirt, Windsor II leggings and a Sheen II waterproof gilet or Marlow II jacket.

What to Wear When You're Running a MarathonCambrian technical t-shirt with drirelease technology

Warmer days...

With the temperature being unpredictable some years you can almost overheat during a marathon. Choose a vest and lightweight 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 Hampton or and a Putney cap.

What to Wear When You're Running a MarathonLancaster sweat-wicking running vest; Hampton 8" Slim-Fit shorts made from a highly breathable 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 super light racing shoes may be fine for a 10km 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. Iffley Road offers Hilly socks.

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. Usually this kit is given to a worthwhile charity. 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!

Good luck and do let us know how you got on, just email claire@iffleyroad.com.