Some may say that the only thing runners need on race day is the belief in themselves that they can make it to the finish line. That and their trusty pair of running shoes. And GU. And hydration vest. And running watch. And the list of running gear for race day can go on and on.
It’s true that it costs nothing to be a runner, but any runner can tell you that we spend a decent amount of money on gear. We just can’t help it but go on shopping sprees whenever we go to our favorite running store. The truth is that runners do need specific gear in order to be prepared for race day. These items actually have to be purchased and used way before race day when training. Runner probably heard the phrase, “nothing new on race day.” This includes sneakers and nutrition. Use the time when training to break in those new Brooks and try out which sports beans or GU flavors work best.
More established runners have a few items that are their go-to gear for race day. This might include a specific handheld water bottle or moisture-wicking socks. But what is the best running gear for race day? Here is what this runner can’t race without.
*Updated: February 2020
Race Day Gear: Apparel
The Brooks Ghost 11 was named the 2018 Runner’s World Editor’s Choice running shoe. And as a runner who laces up with these, I can contest to how great they are. A neutral category shoe, the Ghost 11 has just enough cushion while still being lightweight. It has smooth heel-to-too transition thanks to its Segmented Crash Pad, and comes in great colors. Remember to buy new running shoes with ample time to break them in before the race.
Along with my Brooks Ghost 11 sneakers, the Adidas Solar Glides are always in my sneaker rotation. I love the bounce and energy return these sneakers have. These running shoes are lightweight and make the runner feel fast. There is plenty of cushioning without being too soft and provides all the support needed for long runs.
Running clothes: ODODOS High Waist Out Pocket Yoga Shots Tummy Control Workout Running 4 Way Stretch Yoga Shots
Hot and humid weather means I can’t run in anything but shorts and a tank. And these running shorts are a best-selling option for multiple reasons. First, these shorts are affordable. They have a great fit, not being too short and has a high was it for tummy control while helping it stay in place. There is a side pocket for holding your phone, and it’s available in multiple color options.
My favorite running leggings are the Adidas Own the run leggings. These leggings are smooth like butter on, soft and comfortable. Made of breathable fabric, these are the best for working out in. They don’t slide down, fitting perfectly with its high-rise fit. There is plenty of flexibility to assure range of motion is possible.
Race Day Gear: Nutrition And Hydration
Kramp Krusher Energy Chews
Kramp Krusher quickly became my go-to racing and training fuel of choice. I especially consume them before endurance workouts like my HIIT classes and long runs while half marathon training. I love how well these work to keep my glucose levels up whole providing me with electrolytes to aid in hydration. These prevent muscle cramping by preventing lactate acid buil-up and I love the tangy taste.
There is no way I could complete a half marathon without GUs. These are what works best for my stomach, and my go-to source of fuel during a race. Runners need to consume nutrition every 35-45 minutes during their run. I average about 2 GUs during my long runs. And Mint Chocolate has been my latest obsession. I start off with Chocolate Outrage when not in the mood for a berry flavor, and then eat Mint Chocolate as my second GU, much like a dessert. I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, so this is a treat for sure.
Sometimes during my shorter training runs I need an extra boost of energy—especially when I am looking to crush a PR. This is when I whip out the pre-workout. This C4 is insanely popular among my fitness friends. It helps to give that jolt of energy without making the runner jittery. Some get the tingles when consuming this product, which just means the blood vessels are opening for increases blood flow and oxygen. That means it’s workout time. Only use half a scoop if it’s too intense. This product tastes great too, with Blue Razz a popular option.
Race Day Gear: Accessories
There are times when I run without music, but sometimes we just need that extra motivation. If I am bringing headphones along to play Apple Music, there is no way I can without using my Sprigs Armband. This armband can git any size phone. It fits snug around the arm, with grippers on the inside to prevent it from slipping. It is stretchy and comfortable and goes unnoticed on. Best of all is it is machine washable to clean and remove the stink.
The Nathan Trail Mix Plus is among my favorite fuel belts. I love that it doesn’t bounce during my run. I forget it is even on. The greatest thing is I can be hands free while still having water on hand. It has a pocket big enough for my phone, and the color is great.
Race Day Checklist
It’s a smart idea to first make a checklist of what gear is needed for race day. Do this on the first day of training to be able to give yourself enough time to get products you don’t have or restock on nutrition that is running low. Then as race is approaching, go over the list again. The night before the race, pull out that list one more time and lay each item out as you read down the list. This ensures no piece of gear is left behind.