The Marathon Gear You Need to Stay Comfortable for 26.2 Miles

Maximize your marathon results with gear and accessories to keep you comfortable, as suggested by STACK Expert Jamie Walker.

Marathon runners

Months of training can go to waste if marathoners neglect their health and comfort on race day. Don't let race-route disasters end your run early. Stay as comfortable as possible (except for that burning in your thighs) with the right marathon running gear and accessories.

Block the Sun

You'll be baking for hours even on partly cloudy days. Make sure to protect more than your face and shoulders. Reflections from clothing and pavement can make the backs of your legs, underside of your chin and behind your ears vulnerable to burns. Liberally apply broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sun block that is both sweat resistant and easy to apply on the go. Don't forget the SPF lip balm.

Stay Fueled

Runners need to focus on hydration and caloric intake on race day, or they risk bonking (or worse) mid-marathon. Chewables provide essential carbohydrates to recharge energy stores. Electrolyte tabs help prevent cramping during a race. Snacks like 200-calorie gluten and dairy-free Picky Bars are designed with a carb-to-protein ratio ideal for post-race recovery.

Pack It In

Backpacks and nutrition belts can carry more than the water you need on race day. For example, Nathan Race Vests are highly adjustable and designed with easy-access pockets for non-water essentials: wet wipes, keys, cell phone, energy bars and sun block.

Rock the Socks

Cotton won't cut it because absorbent fabrics retain moisture. Add that to the heat and friction from running, and you're asking for nasty blisters. The same principles apply to running clothes and chafing. Synthetics like nylon, rayon and polyester wick moisture away from the skin, keeping your body as comfortable as possible.

Stay Warm and Dry

Fall races can mean chilly starting temps and possibly rain. A plastic rain poncho or, in a pinch, a trash bag with a hole cut in the bottom can solve both problems. Plus, they're lightweight and disposable as temperatures rise or the sky clears. For especially chilly days, arm warmers can fight off the chill and are easily stashable when the day heats up.

Cap It Off

A cap does double (and sometimes triple) duty on the race route. It keeps both the sun and sweat out of your eyes, and it can be a great place to stash a little ice to keep you cool. Choose a white cap to deflect some of the sun and heat. Darker colors absorb the heat.

These items, along with a perfect pair of running shoes, a singlet (and a sports bra for the ladies) are must-have marathon gear and accessories to keep you safe and comfortable for the entire 26.2 miles.

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