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Best Racing Gear for Marathons: Beginners Guide to Running Gear

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Whether you're doing a "fun run" or a full marathon, it's critical you have the correct racing gear to help you experience an enjoyable and stress-free event. Finding the best racing gear for you is an individual choice, and you might need to try a few different types and styles before you find what works best.

This article will give you a handy guide to find the best racing gear, and it'll also provide you with a starting place as you begin shopping and building your kit.


Best Racing Gear For Marathons, Half-Marathons, 5Ks And Fun Runs!

Running Tops

The days are over where you'll wear an ordinary cotton top. The cotton material will quickly absorb rain and/or sweat instead of wicking the moisture away from your body. In addition, if the cotton top is loose, you may experience chafing under your arms or even on your nipples. 

Pack a cotton shirt for after the race, or wear one during your warm-up, but they're a poor choice to wear during the event.

For your race you'll want to wear a moisture wicking performance top. They are sometimes called Dry-Fit, Quick-Dry, or a variety of other names that indicate that they wick the moisture away. These running tops will keep you cooler and the fabric will allow for better air circulation.

In the warm weather, the light-weight material will help keep you cool, and in the cool weather, the shirt will help you stay warm.

Considerations

Material - The best running tops are made out of technical fabrics, or synthetic blends that include Lycra, polyester, nylon, and spandex. 

Fit - Look for a running top that isn't form-fitting, however, it shouldn't be baggy either. You'll want it to fit reasonably tight, yet slightly baggy. You might need to try a few different styles and sizes during your training runs to find the right balance between form-fitting and baggy.

Sleeves - If you enjoy running in long sleeve running tops, then you'll want to have cuffed sleeves. Cuffed sleeves will stay in place. If the sleeves don't have cuffs, the sleeves may fall below your wrist or ride up your arms.

Compression - Some runners enjoy wearing compression shirts. Wearing compression running gear can help keep your muscles oxygenate by increasing the blood flow in your body. Compression shirts help prevent your muscles from getting fatigued, and allow you to run longer, as well as assist the muscles in their recovery after a hard workout.

Visibility - Whether you're training or racing it's always important to be safe and visible. Bright colors, such as green, yellow, or orange are a few of the colors that can help you stand out in a race and be seen when you're training.

Recommendations

If you're a man, the TLRUN ultra lightweight running shirts is a good pick because it's made from 100% polyester and is very breathable, with quick dry fabric. It comes in a variety of colors, including bright orange for added safety.

TLRUN Men's Ultra Lightweight Running Shirts, Dry Fit Marathon Top Tee, Cool Short Sleeve Athletic T-Shirts
  • 【SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT】reduce running burden and without restriction. Why you'll love it: A barely-there feel you'll want to experience every time you lace up.
  • 【QUICK DRY FABRIC】with superior breathability lets moisture out and helps keep you cool and dry. wearing in it you will feel like in nothing, so your run or workout will be easier.
  • 【ULTRA-THIN GRID TEXTURE FABRIC】ensures extra ventilation. Soft and comfortable fabric reduce the risk of rubbing and chafing by sitting gently against the body.
  • 【REFLECTIVE TAPES and LOGO】increase visibility in low-light conditions. improving the safety of road runners.
  • 【RISK FREE】exercise essential tops in summer, Order Now and if you are not satisfied for any reason, 30-Days NO RISK 100% Full Refund Assurance, or email us and then let us solve it for you.

If you're a woman, then the Ronhill Tech marathon tee is a good choice for the marathon. Its breathable fabric allows air to circulate throughout, and has fibers to wick moisture away. There are two colors to choose between. 

Ronhill Womens Tech Marathon S/Tee, Azurite/Lilac, 6-8
  • Breathable |Made with breathable fabric that allows air to circulate and move freely throughout.
  • Wicking | moisture wicking fibers draw moisture away from the body, through the fabric to the outer surface. At the outer surface The moisture evaporates into the air helping to keep you Dry. This enhances comfort whilst running.
  • Reflective | reflective components applied to preserve the Wearer's visibility in low light.
  • Made with lightweight material weighing a total of 143g for no added bulk.
Runner stretching quads

Base Layer

If you're going to be running in colder weather, you'll need to keep warm. Of course, for the colder weather races you'll also want to pick a warm version of the running shirts, but you'll also want to consider using a base layer.

Base layers are not just for cold weather, they are also a good choice for hotter months because they'll wick your sweat away and keep you cool. If you choose to purchase a base layer, you'll need to buy one specifically designed for the cold weather, and another one designed for hot.

Running base layers can be special tops that go underneath your main running shirt, fitting to you like a second skin. Through their special material and construction, a base layer will sit tightly against your skin in the winter, insulating you to keep you warm and wicking sweat away so you'll remain dry.

On the other hand, when you wear a base layer in the summer, it'll help prevent you from overheating. The sweat-wicking technology wicks away your sweat, keeping you dry and cooling you down.

Considerations

Material - Base layers can be made out of synthetic materials, merino wool, or bamboo. Synthetic is the less expensive option, but will also be sufficiently lightweight.

Merino wool will provide breathability and warmth, and it's stretchier and more lightweight than synthetic.

Bamboo base layers are just as effective at controlling your odor and wicking away sweat, plus they're environmentally friendly!

Thickness - Base layers are available in different levels of thickness. A lightweight base layer will do a good job of being breathable and won't restrict your movement.

On the other hand, a mid-weight base layer is best for moderate activities during the cold, and can be combined with other layers for more warmth.

A heavyweight base layer is not as breathable or as good at controlling moisture as the other, but it can be combined with thinner layers in order to trap plenty of heat and keep you toasty. 

Running Tights - Base layers can also be purchased for your legs. Running tights go underneath your shorts, or they can be worn on their own. They're a great option to help keep your legs regulated and dry.

Recommendations

If you're a man, then the MEETYOO base layer set is a great choice. You'll get both a top layer and a pants layer which will provide extra regulation for your whole body. They're made with a blend of polyester (86%) and spandex.

The shirt has a mesh design which aids with breathability, to help keep you cool. Better yet, both the shirt and pants are effective at moisture wicking. 

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For women, the base layer of top and pants from HiZiTi is a good choice. They're also made from a blend of polyester (95%) and spandex.

The material is breathable to keep you cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather, while also being effective in its moisture wicking capabilities.

HiZiTi Thermal Underwear for Women Long Johns Set with Fleece Lined Base Layer Suits (Grey, Small)
  • 【ULTRA SOFT & WARM FABRIC】The thermal underwear set is made from 95% ultra-soft polyester and 5% spandex to create a super-charged fabric with incredible performance benefits, four-way stretch material allows for easy movement and flexibility without that constricting compression-fit feel.
  • 【BREATHABLE & MOISTURE WICKING】The functional underwear set for women is made of moisture-wicking and breathable fabric, which will absorb sweat and dry quickly in exercise and keep away from clammy feeling, provide enough comfort and warmth when you play sports in cold weather.
  • 【COMFORTABLE FIT】The underwear for women is available in different sizes and can be easily cleaned in the machine. 4-way stretch span allows you great freedom of movement, compression fit to keep your body looking slimmer, flatlock stitching for friction-free to eliminate annoying itching.
  • 【TOP & BOTTOM INCLUDED】 Our women's long johns thermal set consists of a long sleeve top and a pair of full-length pants, which are great to be wear as a set and also performs well as a single fleece top or a pair of basic leggings or tights. Combines performance with fashion to give you a more streamlined look.
  • 【LONG UNDERWEAR FOR YOUR WARDROBE】Stay toasty this winter with this warm but not bulky fleece lined thermal underwear set. Perfectly for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, marathon, Motorcycle, running, climbing, training, yoga, snowboarding, hunting and fishing.
Marathon runner wearing compression socks

Shoes

Finding the right shoes is arguably the most important part of your racing gear. Your shoes will need to be comfortable and fit well to your feet. If they don't, you'll find your run to be painful and you'll likely struggle to finish the race.

Not to mention, when your shoes don't fit properly it could be harmful during long runs and actually strain your muscles. 

Considerations

Surface - If your race is going to be largely on sidewalks and concrete, then you'll want to wear a road running shoe.

Road running shoes have plenty of cushioning to give you good quality shock absorption. This is especially important on a hard surface like concrete. These shoes have plenty of cushioning which will provide a quality level of shock absorption, this is especially important on hard surfaces such as concrete.

If the majority of your marathon is on muddy trails the ground will be soft and you'll want to wear a pair of trail running shoes. These shoes provide a deeper tread to give you a better grip on the ground to help you from slipping in the mud. They'll also provide firm ankle support to prevent injuries.

However, keep in mind that trail running shoes aren't as comfortable on sidewalks and roads, so it's a good idea not to wear them for road races.

Race Distance - You'll also want to consider the length and type of your run when choosing your shoes. If you're going to be doing a full marathon, then you're going to want a shoe that has more cushioning than shoes for shorter races.

The added cushioning will give you more comfort on long races, but if you're doing a shorter race you may want to consider a more flexible shoe.

Gait - We highly recommend having your gait professionally analyzed. This study takes a look at how much your foot naturally rolls inward when running.This is called pronate.

Once your gait has been analyzed, a professional recommendation can be made to match the right shoe to your individual needs. They'll consider the terrain you'll be running on, the shape of your foot, your pronation, and your own personal preferences.

Race Date - After purchasing your new shoes, it's a good idea to train with them for a couple of months prior to the race date.

You don't want to wear them out, but you do want to get comfortable wearing them.

Keep in mind that each brand and shoe fits slightly differently. Even if they're the same size.

It's recommended that there's at least the width of a thumb between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the actual shoe.

Recommendations

We highly recommend having your gait analyzed and talking with a professional to select the best shoe for you based on the results.

However, with that said, here are a few top performing shoes you may want to consider:

If you're a man, then the Charged Assert 9 shoes from Under Armour are a very affordable pick that still offers great quality. They're lightweight and durable, with charged cushioning midsoles. 

Under Armour Men's Charged Assert 9 Running Shoe
  • Lightweight mesh upper with 3-color digital print delivers complete breathability
  • Durable leather overlays for stability & that locks in your midfoot
  • EVA sockliner provides soft, step-in comfort
  • Charged Cushioning midsole uses compression molded foam for ultimate responsiveness & durability
  • Solid rubber outsole covers high impact zones for greater durability with less weight

A more expensive choice would be the Ultraboost 21 shoes from adidas. They have a mid-foot cage for support, as well as special rubber for extra traction. 

adidas Men's Ultraboost 21 Running Shoe
  • Men's Ultraboost shoes for an energized run
  • Sock-like fit; adidas Primeknit upper for support and comfort
  • Midfoot cage and heel counter for support; Boost midsole for a responsive feel
  • Stretchweb outsole flexes naturally for an energized ride; Continental Rubber gives you superior traction
  • This product is made with Primeblue, a high-performance recycled material made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic

For women, the ASICS gel-excite running shoes are a great and affordable pick. They have good ventilation and are comfortable and flexible.

ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 7 Running Shoe
  • Jacquard Mesh Upper:
  • AmpliFoam Midsole: Engineered to maintain durability at softer densities, providing better flexibility, comfort, and platform adaptability ideal for natural running.
  • Ortholite X-40 Sockliner: This premium sockliner features higher rebound properties while providing excellent moisture management and a high-level of breathability (Ortholite is a registered trademark of O2 Partners LLC.)

For a more expensive pick, the Endorphin Speed 2 from Saucony is a great choice. They have Speedroll technology to propel you forward, and they're springy and ultralight.

Saucony Women's Endorphin Trail Health Care Professional Shoe
  • The Endorphin Trail features a lofty bed of our most premium PWRRUN PB cushioning, wrapped in a net mesh for added durability over long miles.

Socks

At first thought, you may not be too worried about the socks you wear during an event, but they're actually very essential to your comfort and success.

Technical Running Socks

Technical running socks are, in most cases, your best choice.There are plenty of styles and choices available, but you'll want to find a pair that provides good arch support.

In addition, you should consider buying a pair that offers additional padding across your toes, the ball of your foot, and your heel. This added padding will help protect your feet from the pounding impact during the race.

Your Shoe

You'll also want to consider the shoes you wear when picking a pair of socks. The thickness of your sock can change the fit and feel of your shoe. Keep in mind that your feet will expand when they're hot, so what fits perfectly at the beginning of your race could be uncomfortable by the time you reach the end.

Slippage is another consideration. If your socks slip into your shoe, they'll not only be uncomfortable, they could cause blisters. The socks you select should always be higher than the back of your shoes, and you should wear them for a few training runs to ensure they stay in place.

Recommendations 

The socks from Hylaea are a good choice for both men and women. They cushion your foot well, wick moisture away, and minimize friction to help avoid blisters.

Hylaea Quarter Athletic Running Socks for Men & Women, Cushion Moisture Wicking Socks for Cycling Sport Tennis No Blister Coolmax Ankle Black Small
  • [Moisture Wicking Socks] The cushioning in the heel and toe areas of these athletic quarter socks are made from high-end moisture control and quick-dry Coolmax fabric. Coolmax is a necessary material for making high-end sportswear. It may keep your feet dry, breathable and odor-free while doing exercises. If you need a pair of quick dry, anti odor fitness socks, this is your best bet
  • [200 needle count technology] The running socks for men and women uses professional high density 200 needle technology to knit. These socks achieve the highest levels of quality and durability. While others use 96, 144 needles, we use 201 needles technology. There are more stitches per inch than other ankle socks, which means a more comfortable, durable, great fitting sock with no added bulk
  • The raised shock absorption design on the sock body can increase the cushioning capacity, prevent blistering and reduce foot pain. Perfect as athletic socks, tennis socks, cycling socks. Attached right and left identifiers fit feet shape greater, and reduce wear to be more durable
  • [No blister socks] Hand-linked seamless toe minimizes friction and exposure to blisters. Compression arch support keeps runners' arch stable and secure fit, prevent runner socks sliding from your daily walk, cycling, running, golf, tennis
  • [Durable and breathable] The athletic socks are made from Lycra spandex and moisture-wick Nylon. The Lycra fabric features good tear resistance, stronger and more compression than other sport socks. The moisture wicks through the Nylon to a wider surface area for a greater evaporation rate, keeping your feet dry, breathable and odor-free longer

A more expensive option are the socks from Balega Silver. They're a very high quality sock, although you'll only be able to purchase a single pair at a time.

Balega Silver Compression Fit Performance No Show Athletic Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair), Aqua, Small
  • Compression-fit, no-show performance running sock encapsulates silver ions in the yarn to keep feet clean and dry
  • Drynamix polyester blend features fibers and knit patterns of varying tension to provide compression and support without constricting movement
  • Constructed to mimic running shoe design, the silver sock locks in the heel and mid-foot, while allowing the toes to move freely
  • Seamless toe box minimizes friction for blisters and chafing; high tab heel and extra deep heel pocket keeps socks from slipping down
  • Medium-volume cushioning ensures comfort and durability for extended training and endurance events

Shorts

For hot weather, you'll want to wear light running shorts. There are several different cut styles. The Loose Cut is longer than most; the Racing Cut is the lightest choice; and then there's the Twin Shorts which have lycra built into them to help you feel cooler.

Recommendations

For men, the shorts from BALEAF are a great choice. They're lightweight, comfortable, and wick sweat. In addition, they have a hidden pocket and a split leg design.

BALEAF Men's 3" Running Shorts with Liner 2 in 1 Quick Dry Workout Shorts with Zipper Pocket Packable Athletic Gym
  • Lightweight and stretchy fabric wicks sweat away and helps keep you dry and comfortable
  • Built-in briefs for comfort and support
  • Interior drop-in pocket at waist for convenient storage
  • Split-leg design for enhanced range of motion
  • Elastic waistband for a snug, adjustable fit . Reflective elements keeps you visible in low light

For women, you may want to consider the shorts from Ronhill. They are high-quality and effective at moisture wicking.

Ron Hill Women's Infinity Marathon Twin Shorts, All Black, 2
  • BREATHABLE | Made with breathable fabric that allows air to circulate and move freely throughout.
  • WICKING | Moisture wicking fibers draw moisture away from the body, through the fabric to the outer surface. At the outer surface the moisture evaporates into the air helping to keep you dry. This enhances comfort whilst running.
  • REFLECTIVE | Reflective components applied to preserve the wearer's visibility in low light.
  • Made with lightweight material weighing a total of 189g for no added bulk.
  • Outer short has extra stretch for added movement, 2 gel stash pockets, 1 secure pocket, 1 fob pocket

Accessories

Accessories can make your race more comfortable. For example, a visor cap will help keep your head cool. The Mission Cooling visor is a good choice.

MISSION Cooling Stretchy Visor - Unisex Visor Hat for Men and Women, No Slip Band, UPF 50 Sun Protection Visor
  • COOLING COMFORT TECHNOLOGY - Stay active longer even when the temperature rises with a cooling and invigorating MISSION Cooling Visor!
  • GET OUTDOORS! - The perfect hot weather visor to keep your hair, sweat, and the sun out of your face! Wear it for Running, Pickleball, Tennis, Golf, Softball, Baseball, Football, the Beach, Fishing on the Lake, or keeping you cooler for any summer work or play!
  • COOL OFF QUICKLY - When activated with water, MISSION performance fabric cools up to 30 degrees below average body temperature in under 1 minute ! Activate quickly in 3 steps: Wet it, Wring it and Wave it. This visor stays cool for up to 2 hours!
  • STRETCH FIT - For all its cooling power this visor is incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear. The stretchy fabric band is woven with spandex for a comfortable, secure fit.
  • CHEMICAL FREE SUN PROTECTION - This is machine washable and reusable with permanent, chemical-free cooling fabric technology that will never wash out. It also provides UPF 50 sun protection.

Additionally, a running watch will help you measure your distance, time, and performance. The Garmin Forerunner 55 is a great pick.

Sale
Garmin 010-02562-00 Forerunner 55, GPS Running Watch with Daily Suggested Workouts, Up to 2 weeks of Battery Life, Black
  • Easy-to-use running watch monitors heart rate (this is not a medical device) at the wrist and uses GPS to track how far, how fast and where you’ve run.Special Feature:Bluetooth.
  • Battery life: up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode; up to 20 hours in GPS mode
  • Plan your race day strategy with the PacePro feature (not compatible with on-device courses), which offers GPS-based pace guidance for a selected course or distance
  • Run your best with helpful training tools, including race time predictions and finish time estimates
  • Track all the ways you move with built-in activity profiles for running, cycling, track run, virtual run, pool swim, Pilates, HIIT, breathwork and more

A hydration belt is also an essential part of your gear. Most hydration belts have a pocket where you can keep your nutrition bars or other small snacks. The G-Run is a great choice with plenty of room.

Hydration Running Belt with Bottles - Water Belts for Woman and Men - iPhone Belt for Any Phone Size - Fuel Marathon Waist Pouch for Runners - Jogging Cycling Biking
  • Men Women Running Belt - Are perfect for anyone who is enjoying outdoor activities sport runs and even marathon. Black Running Belt – is made in one unisex color that can fit everybody’s want.
  • Best Running Belt You can find on market - This Pack For Running – Is the most comfortable no bounce Runners Belt you can get, Enjoy your activity CAREFREE and HANDS-FREE.
  • Hydration Running Belt – It’s perfect to keep the water HANDS-FREE for any distance. Water Belt – Is designed that water bottles don’t bounce creating perfect run that you can fully enjoy. Race Belt – Perfect as Jogging Belt at any exercise.
  • IPhone Belt – Now your IPhone is save from scratches, large pockets fits any size of IPhone. Phones belt – You can take with you any android phones such as Samsung s8 s9 plus.
  • Running Pouch – Is large enough to fit ID credit cards keys and your phone also. Fuel Marathon Belt – Take with you any protein snacks bars energy gels to keep yourself energize.

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