The Virgin Money London Marathon is always planned to take place at times of the year when it’s usually not too hot or cold, with little chance of snow – though it doesn’t always work out that way! British weather is unpredictable, so you need to be ready for anything, and that includes preparing your kit.
The number of months you’ll be preparing for the marathon will vary depending on your current running base. Working this out is quite an undertaking and you need to be honest about what’s required, otherwise the result may be injury. In general, around six months is a realistic period to allow most beginners to get to a condition that will get them round.
Running in April means you’ll be training in some of the coldest months of the year (if you live in the UK at least), while October marathons will require training during the summer. These seasonal changes should be reflected in your running kit.
What to wear and when?
If you’re training most days you’ll need a certain number of garments to get you through the week before a weekend wash.
Even if you’re happy to wear your kit a couple of times before washing it, you’ll need at least a couple of pairs of each article to get you through a week.
September, October and November are usually when you’ll wear shorts and T-shirts (vests if preferred) and these will be worn again around March and April and through the summer. The intervening months of December, January and February are when tights, long sleeve T-shirts and jackets, or even fleeces, become vital.
Gloves and a beanie hat are also key in winter to help you maintain body temperature and ensure you’re relaxed enough to run effectively.
What to look for in your running kit
Wearing fabrics that have the ability to wick away sweat, to avoid discomfort caused by wet kit, is essential for long distances such as marathons. But there are other specific things you should look for in all aspects of your training gear:
Basic sports socks will absorb sweat, but may move about in your shoes, which can cause blisters. Investing in some running-specific socks that are anatomically (left and right specific) fitted should reduce the incidence of blistering.
- Shorts and T-shirts
Non-technical garments tend to be heavy to start with and can get even more so with rain or sweat. This means wearing extra weight while you run and remaining wet, as such clothing doesn’t dry quickly. So look for wicking fabrics that not only effectively draw sweat away, but also feature extra ventilation at the key body zones (which differ from men to women).
Many women wear running tights, and men can too – Lycra tights support the major muscle groups and prevent the chafing that may come from wearing shorts.
Fitted, wickable, quick-drying, lightweight fibres are the key things to look for in jackets to ensure they’re fit for your running needs. As you may be training a lot in the darker months, reflective materials are also a must. Our partner New Balance has several jackets in its range with pockets, removable sleeves and mp3 pockets, making them versatile pieces of kit.
Dressing for marathon day
It is important to wear clothes you’re comfortable in, and make sure you’ve already worn and washed them before the big day.
As well as your own personal needs, the weather will play a key factor in your apparel choice. If you’re planning to be on your feet for some time, you will be exposed to the elements for a prolonged period, during which your body temperature could fluctuate. Here are some things to consider:
- In mild weather look at including some lightweight cover-up pieces, like a long-sleeved T-shirt.
- If it’s due to be very hot and sunny, consider wearing a T-shirt instead of a vest, as well as a cap, to avoid the risk of sunburn (especially if you expect to take five or six hours). Quicker runners (sub-hour hours) will prefer lighter, minimal kit as you will be running more intensely for a shorter period.
- Unseasonably cold weather should make faster runners consider slightly warmer layers while slower participants should consider tights and lightweight jackets that can be zipped and unzipped en route – plus pockets are useful for carrying nutritional snacks.
- A pair of lightweight gloves in mild or cold weather are invaluable for all runners, as chilly hands can be a very uncomfortable distraction and can affect your overall body temperature. If the conditions warm up they can be removed and stashed away easily.
It’s never been easier to stock up on official Virgin Money London Marathon running kit from New Balance. Start shopping now!