“In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.” – Haruki Murakami –What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Since we are approaching marathon season it seems a perfect time to jot down some words on the subject and which key pieces of kit you should be packing.
Do not approach the start line looking like you have turned up for your first day at school, a wedding or post pay day night on the tiles. This is not the time to crack out the Sunday best kit-wise. The look you should be aspiring to, we’d recommend, is slightly bedraggled (on the cusp of socially unacceptable) but comfortable.
It is critical to have tried out all of the kit that you are either going to wear, or nutrition that you will consume on race day. Try every element of kit out, long runs are the best testing ground. It can be that the shorts that were comfortable at 5 miles are extremely irritating after 18.
“The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner
We recommend using the classic Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes technique to ensure all elements of your running kit is covered. So here goes with some marathon kit suggestions for you to pick up and practice with prior to race day.
Head to Shoulders
- Depending on the time of year a running cap, headband or beanie type hat may come in useful. Just be mindful that you don’t overheat later on in the race, however you can always do a Mo and hurl it toward the adoring masses.
- If you like to listen to music as you race then make sure you have your earphones situation covered. Hear no further than Aftershokz Headphones, award winning open ear headphones approved for use in all UK Athletics race events featuring bone conduction technology.
Shoulders to Knees
- We would advise against wearing a cotton t-shirt, or risk hopping on board the train to Chaffington. It is best to stick to a technical tee or vest which is breathable and wicks sweat away from the body.
- To ensure the safe passage of the male nipple through the 26.2 miles a Nip Guard or two (or three in Mark Wahlberg’s case) go down a storm.
- Whilst we are in the nipple vicinity a good sports bra is a must. Whether it be a crop or a run bra or both, make sure you have the undergarment situation under control.
- Chafing can be an issue even when wearing technical clothing. The volume of repeated repetitive movement can take its toll. Bodyglide is always a good product to turn to here, it tends to hang around longer than our old friend Vaseline and will leave your top free of stains.
- A tried and tested good pair of shorts, tights or capri’s are a very important part of your race day kit.
- If you are going to be carrying any nutrition or drinks you may need to invest in some sort of waist pack or hydration belt. The amount of items or bottles you want to carry will drive out the best type of product for you. There are many different options available from brands such as FlipBelt, Ultimate Direction and Nike.
Knees to Toes
- Wearing a technical breathable running sock will make a difference to your foot health, especially where marathon distance is concerned. Our favourite sock brands are Balega, Stance and Nike.
- Last but not least it is the running shoe! We suggest checking the wellbeing of running shoes around 6-7 weeks out from your marathon date – at this point you should be able to approximate how much running mileage you still have to cover before race day. If you don’t think your shoe will last the distance now is the chance to get a new pair on the go.
- If you are planning to use a racing shoe on the day make sure that you have practiced sufficiently in this. We recommend a mileage shoe for marathon distance races – you won’t get much edge over this distance by using a lightweight shoe, and more likely will compromise performance by using a less cushioned and less supportive shoe.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of items you may need to get you through the race, but it should hopefully give you a few things to think about. Enjoy your autumn marathon if you are running one.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running