Beginner's Guide to Race Kit
If you are 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 – race day is not the time to find what rubs you, or is too hot! Here's how to put together a race kit list.
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.
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.
Clothing for Racing in Warm Weather
If the weather is reasonably warm, this combination would be ideal:
In hotter weather you may want to go for:
There are various different lengths of running shorts:
- Loose Cut – longer length
- Racing Cut – shorter split style
- Twin shorts, offering built in lycra shorts
Twin shorts, also called 2-in-1 shorts, 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.
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.
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.
Clothing for Racing in Cool Weather
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. See our guide below – this also includes tips on socks and caps: