Marathon Kit List - How to Prepare for the 'Big Day'
It's easy to make silly mistakes when you're training for a marathon, such as over-training, but when it comes to your kit make sure you make the right choices. It sounds like a simple thing, pick of a t-shirt, shorts, and a pair of shoes. Boom you're done. But there's a little bit more to it that than. We asked Ken Hoye, our resident sports scientist and veteran runner of all race distances, his thoughts on running kit and what to do.
THE Marathon is fast approaching!
It’s five weeks out to London and only 3 if you are running Brighton or Paris, but do you know what you will be wearing on race day? 5 weeks out you still have a fair bit of work to do, a couple more big weeks with some long runs and it probably seems a little early to start thinking about the taper and getting ready for race day.
But that’s exactly what you should be doing. My advice to anyone running a marathon for the first time is always “Don’t try anything new on race day”. And the great thing about being a few weeks out is there is still time to get new shoes if you need them, try on your race day kit for a longish run (you really should) or test out which gels or nutrition you intend to take. There is still time to practice everything you need for race day, isn’t that essentially what you have been doing all year?
Shoes is a topic we discuss often and one that always brings differing opinions, but the basics go a bit like this; are your current running shoes “great!” if yes, you have 2 options:
1. Wear those.
2. If they are really worn out, get another pair of the same.
Preferably the same year/ model number as the ones you have got if you can. If that's not an option, a good running retailer will be able to tell you if there are any changes and you may get the chance to test them out on the treadmill for yourself. Gradually blend them in with your old ones so that they are worn in but still fresh for race day.
If your running shoes don’t fit the “Great!” category, then you probably should be getting things sorted asap. If they are OK, and you don’t intend to do much running after this anyway (you will, but we can wait for you to find this out), then you could stick with them. Personally, I always have a few pairs on the go and alternate them, but if you are not sure which shoes you should wear go try a few more on. You do have time to run them in, and why wear something that doesn’t make you feel like running marathons are a really good idea!?
Are you getting blisters? Or any rubbing at all for that matter? Unless you are wearing cotton socks (really!? Don’t!) then it is probably the shoes. If you think it might be the socks get some nice new padded socks in a technical fabric that have some thickness in the area you get rubbing (some anatomical socks miss out the arch area) and give them a go. If this does not solve the problem then it's almost certainly the shoes. I have run six marathons and have not got a single blister. Blisters do not have to happen!
TEST OUT YOUR T-SHIRT and SHORTS
Apart from a good pair of socks I assume you have tested your race kit? All of it. Your nice new charity vest or tee shirt will need a run
out, preferably over a few miles. Shorts or leggings too. Rubbing here is also not necessary! Again, the best answer is great kit, but body-glide or
similar will make up for any short comings. Ladies a good sports bra is essential, one you have tested on the run and are happy with. A belt for your
gels? There are a few options for this, but you will probably have worn this a few times by now. And on race day there will be plenty of fluid available,
just make sure you have tried it on a run, and made alternative arrangements if you don’t get on with it.
Then its just down to the accessories. Sunglasses? I wear mine a lot, and we all know what the weather was like at last years London marathon. A hat can be great if you are used to them, shade if its sunny, keeps the rain out of your eyes if it rains, but that probably won’t happen obviously! Make sure the GPS is charged too, if it’s not on Strava….
For all your kit questions the best answer is make friends with your local running shop. There are some great shops around and the majority will be staffed by friendly and helpful runners who have probably run a marathon or two themselves. They should, and probably do, know about most of the items in most of the brands. If not, don’t be afraid to find another shop!
Lastly, don’t forget to lay all of your kit out and take a nice photo for Instagram!
Written by: Ken Hoye
Run3D Sport Scientist and Technical Engineer
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