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What to Wear for a Half Marathon Race

author image Shelley Frost
What to Wear for a Half Marathon Race
Choose clothing you've tried in training.

The 13.1 miles of a half marathon is enough of a challenge without the added complication of improper running gear. Consider the factors that affect your clothing and gear choices on race day. Personal preference with different clothing styles and fabrics also play a determining role in putting together your half-marathon outfit.

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The weather on the day of the half marathon helps you decide on your clothing. If possible, do your training runs in similar weather conditions and temperatures to gain a sense of the best clothing options. Expect to feel about 20 degrees F warmer than the air temperature once you get your run underway. When the temperatures reach around 50 degrees F, consider wearing long pants or running tights for your half marathon. If the race occurs in temperatures less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, start with a jacket over your running gear to keep you warm. You can shed the jacket if you get too warm during the race.


Always test out your running clothes during a training run. Trying out a new type of clothing during a half marathon race leaves you open to discomfort, chafing and rubbing. Test out new clothing on a longer training run to give you an idea of how the clothes will hold out over the 13.1 miles of the race. Choose clothing from your training runs that provides you with the best support and comfort while also fitting with the race day weather conditions.


Choose clothing made from synthetic, sweat-wicking material whether your half marathon is in cold or hot conditions. The material keeps the sweat away from the skin so you feel dry and don't chafe as easily. Choose a tank top, t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt for the top. Add a lightweight, waterproof jacket if you run in a cold climate. Most races offer a T-shirt with registration, but they are often made from cotton, which retains moisture. On bottom, wear a pair of running shorts or tights. Sweat-wicking socks keep your feet dry for a reduced risk of blisters. Wear running shoes you have tried several times to avoid support issues or blisters.


The additional gear you wear depends on personal preference. Some runners wear a special running watch that calculates pace. The watch helps the runner stay on track to finish the half marathon in the goal time. A sweat-wicking hat or headband keeps the sweat from running in your eyes. A hat with a bill also shades your face from sun. Half marathons offer several water stations, but if you want to carry your own water or sports drink, consider a running belt that holds bottles. Another option is a handheld water bottle that includes a strap that keeps it on your hand.

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