What to Wear for a Half-Marathon Race

What to Wear for a Half-Marathon Race

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Shorts and tank top are fine for sunny weather, but add some layers if the temperature drops.

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Running for 13.1 miles requires weeks of training to build up the stamina needed to complete the distance. Along with your physical fitness, proper nutrition and adequate hydration, you need suitable clothing and weather protection for marathon running. Having the right running shoe is critical: Pounding the roads in the wrong running shoe is not only painful, it could cause lasting damage to your feet.

Running Shoes

Finding the right running shoe for you requires a bit of research. "Runner's World" recommends visiting a specialty store with staff who are knowledgeable about different running styles and shoe requirements. When trying shoes on, look for snugness rather than tightness around the heel. Your heel should be able to move little, or your skin will chafe when running. The fit around your instep is important; it should not feel tight or constricted. If you feel any pressure on your foot from the laces, try lacing the shoe another way or try another style of shoe. "Runner's World" suggests taking the laces underneath the eyelets at a pressure point and threading them through the next pair of eyelets. Also, make sure you have some wiggle room in the toebox, and that you can pinch at least a quarter-inch of material at the toes. When you find a pair that works, train in them for a few weeks and then buy one or two more pairs so you can alternate your shoes during training, allowing one pair to dry out before your next run. Use good quality sports socks made of synthetic fibers that draw moisture away from your feet and protect the skin from rubbing.


Running in the heat requires less clothing -- shorts and a T-shirt or tank top are all that's needed. On colder days, you might need a long-sleeved T-shirt, sports pants and jacket. Look for sports clothes made from moisture-wicking fabric, which draws sweat away from the body. According to, preventing sweat from drying on your body stops you from getting chills when running in the cold. Cotton stays wet when you sweat, so it's not an ideal material. The amount of clothing you need for a half-marathon depends on the season and the location. If you are used to running in the heat, add some layers for more northerly climates; however, don't overdress as you should generate enough heat once you start running. Ladies need a well-fitting sports bra with appropriate support.

Weather Protection

Wear a woolly hat to protect your head if the the temperature drops below 40 degrees or a lighter cap for protection from sun. If you run in the sun regularly, wear a pair of sports sunglasses, which are lighter than fashion sunglasses. Don't forget sunscreen with an appropriate factor for your skin type and total sunblock for sensitive areas like the nose, cheeks and lips. Sunblock is a thick, white cream made of zinc or titanium oxide that reflects the sun's rays, whereas sunscreen absorbs them.


Apart from clothing, you may want to add some other accessories to your running wardrobe. A heart rate monitor or a sports watch keeps you on track during training and the actual race by showing your pace and the distance run. Some watches also track your heart rate. Because hydration is so vital, a belt that holds water bottles is important and keeps your hands free.