What to wear for a Marathon - Essential marathon running gear

What to wear for a Marathon - Essential marathon running gear

Running a marathon is one of the biggest challenges you can take on. It’s a huge test of your fitness and endurance, not to mention your character. Putting in countless hours of training to get in shape is tough, never mind the 26 miles on the day. But it’s all worth it when you cross the finish line. It’s a feeling like no other. To help you enjoy the experience as much as you can, it’s really important to have the right marathon running gear. 


Marathon running gear guide - what to wear for a marathon


This guide will help you pick out the essential marathon clothes and accessories you need, spurring you on for your training and on the big day itself. 


Marathon running essentials


Choosing the right marathon running kit is key to your success. And getting gear that’s made with reflective materials is super important for staying seen and safe in the dark. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials. 


Running shoes


Let’s dive in feet first. A good pair of running shoes is arguably the most important piece of marathon gear you need. They’re your only point of contact with the ground, so they need to be sturdy and made from quality materials. They should also be lightweight and comfortable, while you need to make sure you break in your running shoes before you attempt a marathon. The bare minimum to wear them in is 10 miles. 


Running socks


Don’t underestimate the importance of a good pair of running socks. An inadequate set can decimate many of the benefits of a premium pair of running shoes. Get socks that are made from moisture-wicking materials that are thick enough to prevent blisters, yet breathable to keep your feet dry and comfortable during your marathon. 


Running top


Tops and t-shirts that haven’t been designed for running tend to be heavy. They aren’t great when they get wet from rain or sweat, and can make chafing more likely. A specially designed running top that’s made with lightweight, breathable and reflective materials and has the right fit is much more comfortable. If you’re running in winter then layer up with base and mid layers as needed. 


Running jacket


Your top layer in cooler weather will be your running jacket. Look for one that’s relatively lightweight, but also waterproof and windproof for when you run in tougher conditions. Some fold up nice and small so you can carry them if you get too warm, while an alternative to a full jacket, if you’re worried about overheating, is to go with a running gilet instead. Either way, don’t forget to get a jacket that’s reflective for running in low light. 


Running shorts


The same as with your other marathon running gear, you’ll find proper running shorts much more comfortable than a regular pair of shorts. Lighter, moisture-wicking fabrics can help to draw away sweat and keep you moving freely, while shorts with pockets are great for extra storage space for things like your keys, phone or energy gels. If you go for a tight-fitting lycra pair, they can help prevent chafing in your inner thigh area. 


Additional marathon running gear


Beyond the essentials, there are more things to consider getting if you’re going to run a marathon. 


Running watch


A running watch can help you keep track of your pace, distance and overall time. This means you can monitor your speed and stay motivated during your runs. 


Running leggings


If you’re running in cooler conditions, you may want to get a pair of running leggings. They’re great for warming up your muscles when it’s cold, helping to protect against injury. They can also keep you dry and mud-free too. 


Arm and leg warmers


Running warmers give you a flexible way to stay warm when you’re out running. They can easily be adjusted or removed as you get going, without the bulk of a full jacket or pair of pants. 


Running gloves


Cold hands are never fun, so you’ll want a good pair of running gloves to keep your fingers warm in winter. Look out for ones that are compatible with touchscreens so you can use your phone when you have them on. 


Running hat


Running hats can be thin and lightweight or thicker and heavier for colder weather. They can be a worthy companion on a cool, early morning run, which you can easily remove as you warm up. 


Head torch or chest light


If you’re running in the dark, a head torch or chest light has a couple of benefits. As well as helping you to be seen by other road users, they also mean you can see the way ahead properly, potentially avoiding injury on uneven surfaces. 




Listening to music can be great for your motivation and keeping a steady pace on long runs. You may prefer to put on a podcast instead. Either way, you can also keep track of time and distance updates from a running app on your phone through your earphones. 



Marathon running gear - FAQs


What is the dress code for a marathon?


Most marathons don’t have a dress code as such, but it’s important to wear appropriate running gear for maximum comfort and performance. Stick to lightweight, breathable fabrics and ensure your running gear is suitable for the weather conditions. 


Should I run a marathon in leggings?


Running leggings are a good option in colder weather, as they provide lots of warmth and support. If you’re wearing them in warmer conditions, make sure they’re made from moisture-wicking materials to keep you comfortable during your marathon. 


Is it better to run a marathon in shorts or leggings?


The choice between running a marathon in shorts or leggings comes down to the weather and your personal preference. Leggings can be more suitable for colder conditions, and shorts for warmer weather. Some people prefer the freedom of shorts, whereas others prefer the support of leggings. 


Hopefully, you’re now armed with all the information you need on what to wear for a marathon. Having the right kit can give your training a huge boost, leading you to a more successful marathon at the end of it. To find all the marathon running gear you need, browse our full range of reflective running gear.
Article by Holly Townsend
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