Marathon Gear: Clothing and Essentials Checklist

Training for a marathon takes commitment, discipline and determination. And whether you’ve been joining marathons for years or are participating in one for the very first time, keeping a marathon checklist is essential to get you ready for race day.

After running a couple of times, you will find that no two marathons are the same, and one thing you can do without is the worry that comes with the realization that you omitted to pack an important item. This could be anything – from your cover sleeves, bandanna, favorite compression socks to your music player, scrunchy and GU energy chews.

Remember, you’ve invested your time, money and energy into training for the 42.195 kilometers ahead of you, so you shouldn’t let any added stress creep in on race day.

To avoid forgetting any of your race day must-haves, here’s a marathon gear checklist to ensure your clothing and race essentials are with you on the big day.

Running attire

One of the most important sets of items you need to prepare for your marathon event are the clothes and shoes you’ll be wearing.

Ideally, these should be items you’ve tested before, so you know perfectly well how they will hold up during the race. More importantly, your running clothes should keep you comfortable and (hopefully) chafe-free till you finish the entire route.

The right marathon running clothes will certainly make a world of difference on how well you hold up and perform on race day. An important consideration in selecting your running attire is the weather during race day itself. If it’s cold, you’ll probably need extra layers other than your average running top, plus other running accessories.

To keep things light as you go along, consider carrying gear that you can toss away as you start to warm up and get heated. Some cold-weather clothing you should consider bringing include a running jacket, ear warmers and gloves. For a hot-day run, consider wearing a hat, running sunglasses and a sweatband.

Your shoes should ideally be light but also give you sufficient support to carry you through the 42-plus kilometers you need to cover. Your running shirt and shorts or pants must be moisture-wicking, light and breathable.

Be sure to pack the following items and keep these packed the day before your race:

  • Best long distance running shoes
  • Socks
  • Running shirt or top
  • Running shorts or tights
  • Jacket
  • Sports bra (for women)
  • Hair tie (if you have long hair)

Some optional items to bring would include compression stockings, cover sleeves and a bandanna. You also need to bring a towel and a change of clothes, as well as comfortable footwear you can wear after the race. Aside from these, have a bag ready for keeping your soiled clothes as well.

Running essentials

It would be so nice to just turn up on race day and run as fast as you could, unhampered by anything. However, participating in an organized run (and a marathon at that) requires you to bring items that can help with easing your running and keeping you energized along the way.

You also need to bring personal identification, especially if you’re claiming your race kit on race day itself. If you’re issued a separate timing chip that’s not attached to your race bib, make sure it is securely fastened to your shoes.

Also, make sure to bring some cash and or your credit card to take care of any fees you’ll need to pay for along the way, such as parking. If there’s a post-marathon party, and you’re planning to join, you’ll find having some cash on you means you can participate in the revelry.

Hydration is of prime importance, so make sure you bring a water bottle. You’ll need to stay hydrated before, during and after the marathon. There are several types of water bottles to choose from, but try to bring one that’s light and sturdy at the same time. If you can take two, do so. This means you’ll have a separate container for water and another one for electrolyte drinks.

Keeping yourself fueled for the marathon is critical to not only finish the race but also for you to be able to give your best performance. No matter how much stamina you’ve developed during training, a long distance run requires a lot of energy, so you’ll need to keep yourself lightly nourished throughout the race.

During training, read up on tips on how to strategically fuel for the marathon. You need to ensure that you’re not just energized for the first ten, 20, 30 and 40 kilometers – you have to make it all the way through the race and have a strong finish.

Make sure to practice fueling, too, to avoid finding yourself unpleasantly reacting to any of the gels, gummies, bars and other carb sources you bring on race day.

Also, prior to the marathon itself, have a light meal a few hours prior to help your body jumpstart its energy-burning engine at the beginning.

For your race day supplies, cross check your items with the checklist below:

  • Personal identification
  • Race bib and timing chip
  • Cash and or credit card
  • Hydration bottle
  • Energy gels, gummies, bars, etc.
  • Safety pins (for your race bib)

Again, you should practice being completely geared up with your supplies during training to ensure your body gets accustomed to the added weight.

Optional items you can bring with you are your music player and earphones, GPS-enabled watch, cellphone, portable charger, headlamp, running vest or belt and other items you’re accustomed to having on long runs. Taking these with you can add to your sense of security during the run.

Personal care items

For your safety and peace of mind, bring along your personal first aid kit which should include lip balm, bandages and any medications.

Keep other supplies handy, too, such as petroleum jelly or any anti-chafing products, soap, deodorant, face and body wipes, sunscreen, an ice bag and facial and body wipes. You can also bring a knee brace or strap and kinesiology tape for added support post-run.

After the race

Once you’ve crossed the finish line, continue hydrating and cool down. After cleaning up a bit and changing into fresh, clean clothes, you can move on to the post-run celebration, or celebrate your victory with friends and family later with a sumptuous steak dinner at your favorite restaurant.

So, to make things as easy and comfortable for you on race day, consider using this marathon gear checklist, and be fully prepared for your race.

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