Choosing the right marathon clothing is essential – making poor decisions about what to wear can result in a very unpleasant race. Appropriate marathon clothing should be so comfortable that you literally don't even think about it, allowing you to relax and focus on the thing you want your mind to be on – running!
So what are the decisions you need to make when thinking about marathon clothing? The first and most important consideration is temperature – with many marathons being run in spring and autumn, the weather can be very changeable, so that means you need to have appropriate marathon clothing for a variety of different conditions.
If the weather is warm, then you should be able to run in shorts and shirt – in this case, your concerns may be more about getting too hot, so you'll want lightweight synthetic materials that will stay dry by wicking sweat away from your skin. You'll also want to consider whether you need a sun hat – you'll be out in the sun for several hours, so something that protects your head and face will make a huge difference to your comfort.
Running shorts are typically fairly loose fitting, but beware overly fashionable clothing, such as mega long shorts, that can get uncomfortable over the course of 26.2 miles.
For your top half, comfort is again paramount. Women need to be sure to wear an appropriate sports bra, so make sure yours fits properly, and is not old and worn out. Running tops can either be loose and breezy, which can feel nice in hot weather, or close fitting – either way, look for clothes that are designed specifically for running so that the design and choice of materials is fit for the job.
The other item people often forget to pay proper attention to is socks – you will live and die according to the comfort of your feet, so be sure to have some comfortable running socks. Twenty-six miles is an awfully long way to travel by foot!
If you are running in cooler weather, you will have to think about wearing layers – conditions can change a lot during the course of a race, so having layers that you can slip on and off as the temperature changes – or it if suddenly rains – is the best way to go. You'll also have to decide whether or not to wear tights, gloves, a hat and so on.
The important thing about all these choices is that you should have figured them out before the race. There should be no surprises, no items of clothing that you haven't tested out in training – that way, whatever the weather throws at you, you will be prepared and ready to deal with it.