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Road Race 101: What to Wear and Bring

So you’re about to run your first road race? Here are some important tips, or a road race 101: what to wear and bring.

What to Wear

Check the weather the night before and dress as though it's 15 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. If you think you’ll be cold before you warm up prior to the race, wear a warmer layer while you are waiting for the race to begin. Wear synthetic materials and avoid cotton, even cotton socks, as it will absorb your sweat.

What If It's Hot?

If you are running the race on a hot summer day, dress lightly in clothes that will breathe, and stick with lighter colors to reflect the sun’s rays. Wear shades and most importantly, don’t forget to slap on some sunscreen.

What If It’s Cold?

If it’s less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside, be sure to wear a thermal fleece or wool hat, or even a ski mask. Wear three layers on top, a synthetic under layer, an insulating middle layer and a wind or waterproof outer layer. Pants are a must and should be running pants or tights. Apply chapstick or Vaseline to your lips and wear a pair of gloves or mittens. 

What to Bring

Most road races will have areas or lockers available for you to place your items if necessary, so pack them up in a small bag.

  • Extra change of clothes and shoes to change into after the race
  • Light snacks like oranges and granola bars
  • Registration information, if you haven’t already registered
  • Racing bib and timing chip
  • Safety pins to clip your bib on
  • Money
  • Extra clothing, like rain or snow gear, depending on the weather
  • If you prefer to run while listening to music, bring your charged MP3 player and headphones
  • Extra pair of socks

Don’t forget to eat a good, carb loaded meal the night before and get plenty of rest. Lay out your clothes the night before and most importantly, don’t forget your running shoes!

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