What To Wear To A Marathon

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What To Wear To A Marathon

Words by Mr Adam Welch

18 April 2016

Your essential running kit for tackling the London, Boston or Berlin road races.

Yes, it’s that time of year again – Instagram’s clogging up with images of 6am training sessions (most obnoxious hashtag: #wymtm or “what you missed this morning”). Facebook’s awash with friends offering up sponsorship opportunities. Maybe you’ve even drummed up enough charitable contributions to be running in the Boston or London marathons in the coming weeks. Maybe you’re doing something a little less ambitious, such as the Big 25 Berlin in May, or the 20km de Bruxelles later that month. Or maybe all the hype has just made you feel ridiculously lazy and you want to get a piece of the action yourself. Whatever the reason, we’d advise investing in some new kit. Scroll on for a rundown of the crucial things you might need to achieve (and look) a new personal best.

We’re guessing that if you’ve signed up for a marathon, you will already have some sneakers, unless you’re planning to copy 1960s Olympic gold medallist Mr Abebe Bikila and do the whole thing barefoot (NB not advised). Even so, you need to make sure you replace your running shoes every 400 to 500 miles, or if they’re showing visible signs of wear, such as not lying evenly on a flat surface. For training and race purposes, Nike’s Air Zoom Pegasus 32 come recommended. With their supportive cushioned heel and rubber rail on the lateral outsole, they will serve you well for both short and long distances.

For a 20-minute run, your common or garden T-shirt will just about do. When the fabric’s going to be rubbing against your skin for upwards of two hours, however, you’ll need some specialised gear. Nike Training’s Pro Hypercool shirt is made in an ultra-light Dri-FIT max fabric that will wick sweat away from your skin. It also has a flat seam construction, which means your skin will be spared a great deal of chafing. The metallic panels have the effect of reflecting heat away from the body, but they’ll also make you that little bit more identifiable as you cross the finish line, either luxuriating in sporting glory or red in the face, cursing the day you were born.

A pair of proper running shorts, such as the above by Nike Running, will really come into their own during long training sessions or on race day itself. Not only are they made from a lightweight fabric that will minimise irritation on your legs, they come with a pair of built-in boxer briefs, offering support to an area that – we probably don’t need to remind you of this – is somewhat sensitive.

Yes, there are all sorts of hi-tech supplements and vitamins you can take to support your training and racing activities. But a simple way to help your body out is to keep a supply of bananas at hand. A banana, eaten before and during a long run (along with water or a sports drink), will keep your body supplied with carbohydrates (for energy) as well as potassium and magnesium (which are lost in sweat) throughout the ordeal. Plus, they’re rather ergonomic and easy to eat while you’re running (compared to, say, a burrito).

Need some training tips? Head to The Journal to watch MR PORTER and Equinox’s video guide to How To Run Better