What to Wear for Running a Race: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon

5k & 10k Training Advice,Expert Advice on Running Clothing,Seasonal Running & Racing: What to Wear
What to Wear for Running a Race: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon

Beginner's Guide to Race Kit

If you're training to run 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. Here's how to put together a race kit list.

Shoes / Clothing / Accessories


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 weeks beforehand to make sure they are well worn in, but try not to leave it closer than two weeks before the race. Take advantage of our personalised shoe fitting service:

In-Store Natural Gait Analysis / Online Gait Analysis


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.

Running T-Shirts / Running Vests / Running Shorts

Running T-Shirts

A specialist running top is made from technical fabric, which will perform much better than a regular cotton top. The fibres are constructed to wick away moisture from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable, and helping to regulate temperature. Some have different zoned panels to aid ventilation. All of them are lightweight and dry quickly.

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Men's Pressio BIO Tee

Men's Montane Dart Nano Zip Tee

Men's Brooks Atmosphere Tee

Women's Montane Dart Nano Zip Tee

Women's Brooks Sprint Free Tee

Technical Running Vests

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Men's Ronhill Tech Revive Racer Tank

Men's 2XU Light Speed Tech Singlet

Men's Adidas Adizero Singlet

Women's On Active Tank

Women's Adidas Fast Tank
£38.00 £25.00

Running Shorts

There are so many options of shorts on the market – there will be a comfortable pair for you. 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. 

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Men's Ronhill Tech Cargo Racer Shorts

Men's Pressio Elite Split Shorts

Men's 2XU Light Speed Stash 5in Shorts

Women's Brooks Chaser 5in Shorts

Women's Adidas Rnfast 4in Shorts

Women's 2XU Aero Twin Shorts

Clothing for Racing in Cool Weather

In cooler weather or rainy conditions, you could look at a long sleeve top 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 leggings or trousers 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. 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. See below for the best accessories to accomodate you on your race day.

Socks / Waist Packs & Race Belts / Hydration Belts / Bottles / Nutrition / Headphones / Watches / Chafe & Blister Prevention / Hats & Gloves / Compression

Running Socks

The type of socks you choose to wear for your race can be the difference between a good race and a not so good race! Make sure you test the socks (and all your clothing) that you plan to wear for your race in training, to ensure you feel good in them and have no issues.

We stock lots of running socks to choose from. It tends to come down to personal choice, regarding padding and length. The main types are:

  • Thin socks, for example Stance Run Feel 360 Tab Sock
  • Double layer socks that can help prevent blistering, for example Hilly Twin Skin
  • Padded socks which can help alleviate foot pain, for example Thorlo Experia
  • Thick socks are great for colder weather or more off road racing, for example the 1000 Mile Trail sock
  • Socks with some wool content in, again are great for warmth and off road racing any season, for example Hilly Supreme Anklet sock
  • Toe socks, for example Injinji Performance Lightweight Toe Sock

Shop Running Socks / Running Sock Guide

Hilly Twin Skin Minimum Cushioning Socklets

Stance Run Feel 360 With Infiknit Tab Socks

Thorlo Experia Green With Repreve No-Show Socks

Hilly Supreme Medium Cushioning Anklet Socks

1000 Mile Trail Sock Twin Pack Socks

Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks

Running Waist Packs & Race Belts

Waist packs or pouches come in many shapes and sizes. They can be a useful accessory to store anything essential while racing: from gels to car keys and spare hair bands, there is often something you can't go without.

Some people don't like to run with anything attached to them, whilst others are happier to have the things they feel they need on their person. Whichever category you fit into, there is bound to be a type of waist pouch that will suit your needs when you just can't avoid carrying the essentials.

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SPIBelt Running Waistbelt

FlipBelt Classic

Ronhill Marathon Waist Belt

SPIBelt Running Belt With Window
£29.99 £23.99

Salomon Pulse Belt

Ronhill OTM Belt

Running Hydration Belts

Sometimes runners like to carry their own drinks, so they can drink as they go rather than waiting for the next water station. It can also be useful if you tend to finish at the back of the pack in a long race, as support may not always be available when you need it. Check with the organisers before the day.

Another reason might be if you want to take your own energy drink. Check with the organisers if there will be energy drinks on the route and if so, which brand. Remember to train with the same product, to make sure it doesn't upset your stomach.

There are many different shapes and sizes of hydration belts that contain bottles / bottle holders and usually some space for keys or gels etc.

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Running Bottles

Soft bottles – which collapse and get easier to carry the more you drink – are now very popular. They come in different sizes, from 150ml to 500ml.

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SPIbelt H2O Companion Running Bottle

Ultimate Performance Runner's Bottle 580ml

Running Nutrition

Nutrition is a really important aspect to consider when racing. What works for one person probably will not work for another! The best thing to do is to try a variety of options when training. For anything above 10 miles it is certainly a good idea to consider Energy Gels, Energy DrinksEnergy Chews or Energy Bars. For more information on nutrition for racing, see Fuel Your Body for Running.

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Maurten Gel 100

Lucozade Sport Dual-Fuel Energy Gel

Precision Hydration Effervescent Electrolyte Tablets

Tailwind Nutrition 2 Serving Stickpack

Running Headphones

The only note of caution here is that you must remember when racing to check with the race organiser as to whether it is permitted for you to run with headphones in. It is common for this not to be allowed due to safety issues. The only headphones that are now generally permitted in road races are the bone conduction headphones. Shokz headphone are Scottish Athletics and English Athletics race-approved headphones. They sit just in front of the ear and the music you are listening to travels by bone conduction to the ear while you hear everything else in the normal way.

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Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones

Shokz OpenRun Mini Headphones

Shokz OpenMove Headphones

Shokz OpenSwim Headphones

GPS Running Watches

The most basic function of a running watch is to track how long you've been running, and perhaps to record your mile splits on a longer race. This will help you ensure you're meeting any targets you've set yourself, while making sure you're not running too fast and peaking early.

Beyond that, GPS watches have a wide variety of features, such as a heart-rate monitor, route mapping, multisport features, and sophisticated training programmes.

A watch is, however, not essential and some people just prefer to run how they feel without the pressure of being aware of the time.

Shop GPS Running Watches / GPS Running Watch Guide

Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar

Garmin Forerunner 265s

Coros Apex 2 Pro

Polar Ignite 3
£289.00 £235.00

Running Anti-Chafe & Blister Prevention

There is nothing worse when racing than to chafe. It is not very comfortable, and especially in warmer weather when you sweat more it can be pretty stingy as well! Anti-chafe products are great at preventing this from happening.

BodyGlide works similar to a stick deodorant, you just roll it on the areas where you are likely to chafe and it creates a protective layer between your clothing and your skin. It is not greasy and therefore does not cause any discolouring on clothes.

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Original Anti-Chafe Balm 22g

BodyGlide Original Anti-Chafe Balm 42g

Sidas Gel Toe Caps

Compeed Blister Pads Small

Running Hats, Caps & Gloves

You don't want to wear too much when racing, and end up carrying more than you need. Again, training in the gear you're considering for a race is a great idea – preferably in conditions that the race is likely to be in.

When it's sunny, a Running Cap or Visor helps shade your face and keep sweat out of your eyes. In colder weather, hats, gloves and headbands are definitely worth considering.

Running Gloves range in their thickness and weight. Even a lightweight glove will help keep your hands more comfortable and will be easy to put into a pocket if you get too warm.

Running Hats are great for really cold weather, or if you tend to feel the cold. Your choice will depend on the weather, your constitution, and the pace at which you'll be running. Some hats are really lightweight, so could easily go in a pocket or waist pack if you get too warm.

A Running Headband is a great alternative to a hat when it is not as cold. It also helps to keep your hair out of your face.

A multipurpose option would be Running Neckwear such as a Buff – make it into a hat, a headband or a neckwarmer.

Odlo Visor Cap Performance Light

Ronhill Afterhours Gloves

Odlo Velocity Ceramiwarm Hat
£30.00 £24.00

Odlo Revelstoke Performance Wool Headband

Buff Lightweight Merino

Compression Running Gear

Calf sleeves or compression socks are a great accessory if you're prone to sore or tight calfs, or simply want to give your calfs and shins a bit of protection when racing. Compression gear helps blood flow and keeps your muscles warm, so in colder weather especially these are great. They may just give you that extra bit of confidence to go flat out in your race!

Compression Running Socks / Calf Guards / Compression Running Clothing

Pressio Equilibrium Compression Socks

Compressport R2 Oxygen Calf Guards

Compressport R2V2 Calf Guards V3
£32.00 £22.40

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