Race Day kit essentials
Ensure you’re as comfortable as possible on Race Day by choosing the right kit…
Shoes and socks
Trainers are the most important piece of kit, so you shouldn't be trying out new ones on the day of the race. Make sure you are comfortable running in them and have trained in them several times before the event comes around.
If you are buying new trainers ahead of the race, be sure to visit a specialist running shop, like the London Marathon Store (1-3 Norton Folgate, Bishopsgate, London E1 6DB), where the staff will be able to advise you on your foot type and what sort of shoe will suit your running style. Avoid buying a running shoe simply because you like the look of it, as the wrong shoe could increase your injury risk.
It is also a good idea to give your socks a dress rehearsal before Race Day to ensure they don’t cause blisters.
T-shirts and shorts
Save cotton T-shirts for after the race and opt for a technical, or ‘wicking’, T-shirt for the run. Technical fabrics wick sweat away from your skin, moving it to the outer surface of the fabric, where it evaporates. They also feel lighter and more comfortable against the skin than cotton, which can become very heavy if it is raining or you’re sweating a lot. Wet cotton can cause painful chafing and should be avoided at all costs.
The best wicking T-shirts keep you warm in cold weather and cool when it is hot. If you know it will be hot on Race Day, look for a technical T-shirt that features extra ventilation, such as lighter weight mesh fabric, in key areas.
Go for shorts with wicking properties too and you’re less likely to suffer from chafing – and as with all your Race Day kit, try them out before on several training sessions before the big day.
Women should always wear a high-impact sports bra when running to protect the ligaments around the breasts. If the Cooper’s ligaments stretch there is no way to reverse the damage, which can cause discomfort or even soft tissue damage. A good sports bra can reduce breast movement by around 60 per cent, as opposed to just 35 per cent for a regular bra, so it is worth the investment. Sports bras can also reduce how much you sweat and help to regulate the temperature of your body.
If it’s cold or wet on Race Day a lightweight running jacket can help to keep you comfortable. Avoid overheating by wearing a quick drying, showerproof shell rather than a heavier weight fully waterproof jacket, which may prevent sweat escaping, unless you opt for a pricier model. An unlined jacket with built-in vents for breathability is ideal, while high-visibility panels will also ensure you’re seen when training in the evenings or in the darker winter months.
If you’re running for fun you don’t need a watch but if you’re keen to track your progress and performance levels, they can prove very useful. Apart from the basic stopwatch function, GPS sports watches offer a variety of information, including your split times, the gradient of the roads you’re running on and your average speed.