What To Wear For A Half Marathon
Written By: Tom Wake
Your entry is confirmed, training is in full swing and you’re gearing up for your race. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or it’s your first time, there’s always the question of what to wear for a half marathon. That’s why we have teamed up with Salomon athlete Tom Wake to provide you with the ultimate kit list that will have you prepared and equipped for crossing the finish line.
With lots of choice available, it’s important to find a running shoe that is not only comfortable, but also suitable for your own individual running style. If you’re a neutral runner, you will want to avoid any shoes that are designed to support over-pronation and vice versa. More information on how to find out your pronation type and pick the correct shoe can be found here. There are also shoes such as Salomon’s Predict RA, that are designed to allow you to run in your natural style allowing for some pronation rather than totally correcting it.
Race day is a good time to lean towards wearing shoes that are more race specific, designed to have slightly less cushioning and made from the lightest materials. These types of shoes are engineered to help you run at your fastest. If you are swapping to race specific shoes for your marathon then make sure that you run some miles in them beforehand, rather than wearing them fresh out of the box. This ensures that they’re suitably worn in and will help to reduce the risk of getting blisters.
The weather forecast is your friend in helping you to decide what to wear for your half marathon. British weather can be very changeable and a summer race doesn’t necessarily mean hot and sunny. This often means that you’re left to decide what to wear only a few days before the big event. Here’s some top tips for staying cool, warm, dry and everything in between. You can even mix and match for the perfect combination:
Hot & Sunny
- A vest might be preferable instead of a t-shirt, with less material and more ventilation to keep you cool as you fly towards the finish. Either way, go for a technical material that provides moisture-wicking to help keep the sweat away, preventing the top from rubbing too close to the skin.
- Shorts come in various lengths and which ones to wear really just comes down to preference. The benefit of some shorter 4” shorts is that they might feel lighter due to having less material and are more aero-dynamic for racing.
- If it’s particularly sunny then a pair of running sunglasses will help to keep the glare out of your eyes.
Wet & Rainy
- If you know that you’re going to be in for a particularly wet half marathon, you might want to consider wearing a waterproof jacket over your t-shirt or vest top. Ensure that it’s lightweight and breathable, such as the Salomon Bonatti Race, so that it doesn’t feel too heavy and you’re not excessively sweating underneath.
- As a general rule of thumb for wet weather, you should avoid materials that will absorb the water and become wet and heavy such as cotton.
- Wearing a peaked cap will help to keep the rain off your face.
Cold & Breezy
- If it’s looking like it’s going to be particularly cold, a base layer under your top will help to keep your body warm. Getting too warm however, can be uncomfortable, especially when you have 13.1 miles to run.
- Another option is to wear arm warmers. These will give you the effect of wearing a long sleeve top, with the added benefit that they can be rolled down to your wrists once you do warm up.
- For those really cold days, running tights could be a warmer option than shorts for keeping your legs warm.
Socks with a good level of padding and support will keep your feet comfortable every step of the way. If you like to go for shorter socks, ensure that they cover a good portion of your ankle so that the back of your shoe isn’t rubbing on your skin - a painful situation to be in!
Although most races will have somewhere to safely store your stuff, if you’re looking to carry things like gels, medication or keys, then a waist belt will allow you to carry your belongings comfortably on your run. Some belts will carry small water bottles too. However, if you’re looking for something more minimalist, there are gel belts with specific loops for holding gels or belts with pockets and zips that can be used for bars, sweets or any other running fuel to keep you going.
Most importantly, it’s essential that your kit is comfortable, fits correctly and that you’ve tested it out before race day. There’s nothing worse than finding out that your kit is uncomfortable only a few miles into the race. Make sure that you are happy with what you’re wearing, go run your half marathon, get the time that you’re after and enjoy. Good luck!