The UK’s marathon season kicks off this weekend with the Greater Manchester Marathon. The Brighton Marathon follows next weekend, and then it’s the turn of London to host its showpiece race at the end of April. And with your training coming to ‘gruelling’ stage, we say it’s time to treat yourself to some new gear. So in preparation for the big day, here’s all the gear and accessories you’ll need to run a marathon!
If you’ve just released your current trainers won’t make it around the circuit, or want something special for your first ever marathon, we’d firstly recommend you get a new pair of running shoes as quickly as possible. The sooner you wear them in, the more comfortable you’ll be on the day of the race. We’d also suggest you err on the side of cushion and get something with ample padding underfoot. If possible, also go to a specialist and have your running technique/foot checked out to see which shoe is best.
We’d recommend checking out something these highly cushioned GEL-NIMBUS trainers from ASICS. They’ve been the flagship plush trainer for ASICS for twenty years now and have a reputation for offering springy yet soft cushioning and plenty of grip on the sole. The midsole set-up incorporates FlyteFoam Propel, which give you maximum bounce on the forefoot and to help move you forward. During those 26 miles, every little bit of extra thrust will help!
We make running socks the next most important thing on your marathon checklist. Even if you’ve been getting by with a cheap pair of six-pack cotton socks during training, longer runs mean more sweat and more friction, with blisters becoming a very real danger. Not only that, you may find yourself needing stop during the race to adjust cheap pairs, affecting your overall time. In short, invest in a pair of technical running socks.
One brand very much in that mould is Balega. We’ve been using their socks for years and never had an issue. Designed for optimum performance, their Hidden Comfort Socklets are a comfortable and stylish ankle sock which come with a plush under sole for greater cushioning and Drynamix air conditioning fabric which allows free movement of airflow, ensuring cool and dry feet with a unique rapid moisture evaporation system.
We’ll level with you; we find compression workout gear far too thick and inflexible for marathon running. That said, some runners swear by it and it’s been proven to aid recover after exercise. According to research, constant compression can reduce muscle oscillation by up to 50%, reducing energy consumption, improving output, muscle endurance and strength. So they’re certainly to be considered.
Price: From £50
Though they may be known for their rugby gear, Canterbury’s Mercury TCR range of compression gear is great value for money. Compromising of compression Leggings, Top and Long-Sleeve Top, each item provides graduated higher levels of constant compression in key zones, improving blood flow around the body. The tight fit increases muscle awareness (proprioception) too, reducing wasted energy.
Though you can never be sure when racing in the UK, we’re often blessed with half decent weather during marathon season. And even if the weather is temperamental on the day, you’re still going to want to be prepared with a decent pair of running sunglasses.
We like these new Exhale sunglasses from adidas. Sporty and stylish, these sunglasses are designed to stay in place with a non-slip grip and adjustable nose pads, so you don’t need to worry about the amount you sweat. The frame can also be fitted with prescription lenses if you want to soak up the sites during your run.
It might not be the first thing you think of but taking a running jacket is always a good idea on race day. Obviously you’ll need something if the heavens open, but you’re also going to need something for before and after the race.
We couldn’t really opt for anything other than this New Balance Windcheater, specially designed for this year’s London Marathon. Not only is an outright beauty, it also features an adjustable hem which lets you create a wind-blocking fit, while 360-degree reflectivity helps increase your visibility.
No matter how many marathons you have under your belt, a race belt is always going to be your best friend. You can fit your nutrition in there, as well as your phone and keys etc. But getting yourself a cheap bum-bag just won’t be the trick; instead you’ll need something specifically designed for the task, which won’t ride up and jangle all over the place.
Price: From £28
For us, the original FlipBelt can’t be beaten. This premium quality running belt carries all of your essentials without riding up or chafing thanks to the innovative design and high quality material. We make it much more comfortable than the likes of armbands and it’s got easy access thanks to its three multi-access pocket openings. It also has no buckles to cause irritations during your marathon.
Blisters & Chaffing Protection
If you don’t protect yourself, marathons can equal painful chafing and blisters. But all that can be avoided too. Obviously you’ll need to be prepared for them with plasters and the like, but prevention is your best tactic.
It might be small but Body Glide can make a big difference. This invisible skin lubricant glides over your skin and leaves a protective, slick layer, cutting down friction and all the problems it brings. Make sure you glide it well over your feet and inside your thighs to keep all blisters and chafing at bay.
If you are racing the London Marathon on the 28th April, New Balance are rewarding your training efforts with pints at their very own pub called ‘The Runaway’!