Running Gear 101: What to Wear on the Run

Running Gear 101: What to Wear on the Run

Although having a clothing crisis weeks before the race may seem a bit melodramatic, giving your race-day outfit some thought now will pay off later. (Read: Your non-red, non-angry thighs that haven’t been rubbing together for 13.1 miles will graciously thank you.)

Yes, weather can be unpredictable, but give some thought to what you think you might wear on race day, then wear the whole outfit, from your hat to your socks, for a long run or two. This way, you’ll know if your favorite pink tank doesn’t cover your muffintop the way you thought it did (disappointing to find out that detail in your eagerly awaited race pic) or if your shorts’ pocket doesn’t accommodate your two gels (sucks to find that out when you reach for one at mile 9, and it fell out miles ago).

Some ideas of what to—and what not to—wear on race day:

  1. Avoid the chafe. Unless you’re shaped like Karlie Kloss, you must consider your inner thighs, and how they will likely collide frequently. The skin-on-skin contact is affectionately called chub rub, and while it feels unpleasant with every step or the race, when you hit a hot shower, it’s positively shriek-inducing. The best way to avoid chub rub is to wear some bottoms that definitely will not move–a pair of capris work best. If those are too warm, consider longer compression shorts or a skirt; many styles of skirts have compression shorts under them. That said, some shorts under skirts tend to creep up over the course of a long run, which is why you’re doing a test run in your duds.

  2. Where to stash your cash. Be sure to have some storage for keys, cash or credit card, and an I.D. somewhere in your clothing. The little key pockets in most bottoms suffice, but if you want to carry gels or chews, an iPod, or other necessities, plan out where you’ll store them.

  3. Prepare for pics. To get the best race pic possible, go with a streamlined outfit. A skirt, which eliminates the unsightly crotch bulge most running shorts create within a few steps, is a great call. Capris are flattering friends, too. Take off your hat, if you’re wearing one, for the finish line photo.

  4. Support the girls. Hopefully, by now, you’ve found a good sports bra that supports your ladies, feels comfortable, and doesn’t produce angry red marks on your super delicate skin. If that’s not the case, run—don’t walk—to find one.

  5. Consider the sun. For a shirt, think about sun protection. The technical fabrics used in many athletic tops now have UPF to shield harmful rays, but if you wear a tank, remember to slather on some sunscreen on exposed shoulders. Oh, and we know you’re excited, but debut your nifty race tee on a future training run–not race day.

  6. Don’t overdress. Even if it’s nippy on race morning, dress as if it’s at least 10 degrees warmer than what it really is. If you’re not a little chilly standing around, waiting for the start (or, during your trial runs, during the first few minutes of your run), you’ve overdressed. Although a light jacket might feel good for the first mile, do you really want to have it wrapped around your waist for the next 12? Didn’t think so.

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