What to Wear for Racing: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon

If you are training for your first race you might want to start giving some thought to what you will wear on the day.

You want to make sure you are suitably dressed for the weather conditions, and feel comfortable and confident in your choice of outfit.

Training in the gear you will race in is definitely recommended – race day is not the time to find what rubs you, or is too hot!

Running Shoes

If you don't already have a properly fitted pair of running shoes that should definitely go on your 'to do' list. Ideally you should have the shoes a few months beforehand to make sure they are well worn in, but try not to leave it closer than two weeks before the race. If you live near one of our stores, take advantage of our free personalised shoe fitting service, including natural gait analysis.

Running Clothing

It's important to bear in mind that most runners heat up more when racing, plus you can also get hotter running in a group of people if it's a large field. Many runners will race in less clothing than they would train in, and choose their race day clothing based on the conditions for that day.

So it's helpful to start checking the weather forecast a few days before you race – you don't want to wake up one spring day and find it's suddenly so much warmer than it has been, and your favourite vest is in the wash after your last gym session! Also look at the wind speed – strong winds will bring the temperature down if the course is exposed.

Warm Weather Clothing

If the weather is reasonably warm, a technical running T-shirt, plus lycra shorts or capris are ideal. In hotter weather you may want to go for a running vest, which will give a bit more air circulation, and lighter running shorts. Most of the shorts and many of the T-shirts available now will include a pocket for small essentials, like a car key. Don't forget to use sunscreen if you're prone to burning.

There are various different lengths of running shorts, and many of them now offer built in lycra shorts. These are great if you do have trouble with chafing, or just want to keep your muscles warmer. In hotter weather, shorts with an inner brief will feel cooler, rather than lycra shorts, but again try them in training to make sure they work. For women who want a bit more coverage, skirts or capri length tights are a popular and comfortable choice.

There are so many options of shorts on the market – there will be a comfortable pair for you, it's best to just try a few pairs on. The main consideration most runners have with their shorts is that they don't chafe. If you have never run in shorts before, then definitely use them in training first to make sure they don't rub you.

Cool Weather Clothing

In cooler weather or rainy conditions, you could look at a long sleeve wicking T-shirt or thermal top, or a lightweight windproof jacket to go over a base layer. If you have a tendency to heat up, two thin layers may be better than one thicker layer, as you can always take one off. If it's chilly, then lycra tights or capris are a good option instead of shorts.


By race day, you want to have tested out all of your kit and know your favourite items, plus what temperature they are most suitable for, so you can make a wise choice on the day. If you sometimes rub, then on race day it's best to use Body Glide or Vaseline on that area.

In terms of feeling 'fast' while racing, less is definitely more, but if you do need to carry things, think carefully about what you really do need to take, and look for the smallest lightest option.

Good luck and enjoy your race :-)

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  • Andrea MyersMarch 22, 2018 at 7:00am

    I like how you mentioned about checking the weather forecast a few days before you race for you to decide what type of running clothing to wear. We are planning to join a fun run next month, and we are thinking what type of running clothing we should wear. I'll make sure to keep this in mind and visit one of the sports stores in our area if they can recommend an activewear clothing for the fun run.

    • Bhauliya MossMarch 23, 2018 at 3:21pm
      Hi Andrea,

      I'm so glad you found our blog post helpful. Remember to buy your running clothes in plenty to time to try them out before race day. I hope you enjoy your fun run and many thanks for the positive feedback.
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