You’re signed up for a half marathon or other running event, and race day is quickly approaching. Even though you’ve been training hard and you feel ready, you may be worried about what to wear. Luckily, gear experts have a host of tips about what to look for in race day wear.
Lightweight, Flexible Clothing
Whether you run hot or cold, lightweight, breathable clothing that moves with you is going to be best option for racing. If you tend to chafe, make sure you’re racing in something that will decrease friction in `hot spots’ such as inner thighs and under your arms.
In cooler weather or rainy conditions, you could look at a heat and moisture-wicking T-shirt or thermal top as a base layer with a lightweight windproof jacket over it. For those who run hot and sweaty, two thin layers are often better than two. Lycra tights or capris are best when it’s too cold for shorts.
Race Shoe Choices
While you want your everyday trainers to offer the proper amount of stability, support, and cushion to prevent overuse injuries, racing shoes are designed to help you feel faster and lighter on your feet. If you’re going for a personal best, lightweight shoes can help you get there. Try new racing shoes on a few workouts before the race to get your body used to running fast in a less supportive shoe.
Arm Warmers and Gloves
It’s a good idea to keep your hands warm if the temperature dips below 50 degrees. You may also want to consider using arm warmers, which allow full range of motion in your arm swing and are easier to take off than a shirt if you get too warm.
The right fuel not only keeps you going through the finish, but can help prevent cramps and intestinal distress. If you’re walking or run-walking, an energy bar or banana (nature’s energy bar) can provide you with carbohydrates, electrolytes, and other nutrients. If you’re running, you may prefer gels for a quick fuel solution. (And they fit nicely into that seemingly random little pocket in your running shorts.)
There are a profusion of gels out there in dozens of flavors with varying levels of sugars, primarily glucose (often listed as maltodextrin), and fructose. Some gels also include electrolytes, caffeine, and other nutrients. Glucose is the simplest way to replenish glycogen energy stores to working muscles. Fructose can help speed the delivery of glucose, but too much fructose may cause some people intestinal discomfort. It’s a good idea to try different gels before race day to determine which one works best for you.
Always consume an energy product or food with eight ounces or so of water to help expedite delivery to working muscles.
Even though there are water stops along the way, many runners and walkers choose to carry water during a half marathon. You can choose to wear a hydration belt or backpack or use a “handheld” running bottle ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand. Hydration products usually have extra pockets for nutrition and personal items.
Even on a foggy day, UV rays can break through the clouds. Take care of your eyes and sensitive skin areas with sunglasses, a visor, and sunscreen. Many running brands also offer clothing with UV protection.
Race Number Belt
Last but not least, you may want to consider a belt specially designed to hold your race number. It also protects your singlet or hi-tech running shirt from snags.