What to Wear for a Half Marathon: All the Gear I Recommend
Running 13.1 miles is no joke, but having the right gear can make all the difference! Before I ran my first half marathon, I was so worried about what shoes to wear and I was pretty clueless about what type of gear I'd need.
I remember perusing the aisles of REI asking myself if I needed all this stuff. Should I try these supplements? What about one of those running belts? What the heck are these toe socks, do people actually run in these?!
Needless to say, it got a bit overwhelming and I freaked out.
Thankfully, I consulted my friend who has run a dozen or so marathons. She recommended a few things, like taking salt stick supplements at mile 8, trying out some compression socks, and she ultimately advised me to not to get new running shoes since the race was only a few weeks away.
With that, she gave me the best piece of advice:
"Whatever you do, never try something for the first time on race day."
I took her advice to heart and made sure that I trained in all my gear so that I could see how it worked at long distances to make sure that there would be no surprises on race day.
When race day finally arrived, I felt confident in my gear. By the time it was over, I was so happy with how it went and was so thankful that everything worked out okay.
Now that I have run two half marathons, I can confidently say that this gear has been perfect for me and I'd highly recommend each item. This is everything that I use when running, with the exception of an armband to hold my phone. I am not linking that here because I did not love the one I used and wouldn't recommend it.
I don't use any running belts as they never stay put around my waist. Instead, I use a camelback that holds everything I need.
Read on below for the descriptions and reasonings for why I love each one!
*Note that the links below are affiliate links through Amazon. Purchasing one of these helps support my blog! However, if you aren't into that sort of thing, feel free to search for the items on your own.
Best Running Gear for a Half Marathon
1. JBL Reflect Mini Wireless Headphones
I have been using these headphones for years and I love them! They are so lightweight and they are the only pair that doesn't fall out of my ears when I run. The battery life is also good on these, a full charge will get you through a half marathon with plenty of charge to spare. I use these for almost every workout, not just for runs!
2. Apple Watch Nike+ Series 2
I'm pretty sure I can't run long-distance without my Apple Watch. I use the Nike Run Club app on it to track my pace, mileage, and time. Having this info quickly available on my wrist makes it really easy to stay on track. While it is a bit of a splurge item, I absolutely love it.
3. Camelbak Hydropak 50oz
A Camelbak might not be necessary for most people, but I drink a lot of water when I run. I really like having water readily available, especially when i'm training and don't have access to water while out running. I love this pack because it is super lightweight and it has a little pocket that can fit a phone (an iPhone Plus is too big though), keys, and supplements.
4. Nuun Energy Electrolyte and Caffeine Drink Tablets
Nuun Energy Electrolyte tablets are perfect for giving me a little jolt before I start my run. I take half of a tablet and dissolve it in a large glass of water. I tend to only drink two-thirds of it though to ensure it's not too much. I love this stuff though because it is the only type of "pre workout" that my body can handle without feeling jittery or dehydrated. They also sell non-caffeinated ones that are just electrolytes.
5. Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves
I originally ordered a cheap pair of compression socks online and they gave me the worst blisters ever! Thankfully, I found these which are just sleeves so that I can wear my regular socks with them. These helped my legs feel so much less tired and sore. I wear them every time I run 7 or more miles.
6. Brooks Running GTS 17
I had always heard that Brooks are the best running shoes, and these did not disappoint! They have a lot of cushioning and my feet feel fully supported. Since having toe surgery last year, my toe is very sensitive, but these shoes provide a ton of support around the toe box, which is awesome. I also never got a single blister while wearing these, which is a huge win for me!
7. Under Armour Women's Armour Low Bra
This is my favorite sports bra every because it's light and comfortable. It's not insanely tight like so many of them are and there's no award stitching down the center of your boobs. I'd say this is definitely best for women with small chests as it does not have that much support and there is no lining. I would not recommend this if you are looking for full support.
8. Nike Pro Black Capri Leggings
These capris are light and don't chafe at all. I mostly love these because the capri length is also perfect for wearing compression sleeves or socks. The length of these perfectly lines up with the top of the compression sleeves I wear, so it looks as if I'm wearing full-length tights.
9. SaltStick Fastchews Electrolyte Replacement
These salt and electrolyte supplements are lifesavers on long runs. I always take them around mile 8 or when I start to feel tired. When I don't take them, I feel really tired and "out of it." I highly recommend this Salt Stick brand, and this version here that are the fastchews. I've tried both these and the capsules, and while they both work the same, the chews are much easier to ingest while running. Definitely take these with water as they will dry out your mouth otherwise!
10. Clif Shot Bloks
During my most recent half marathon training, I started to feel really sick after my runs and would have to eat something sugary almost immediately afterwards. I realized that I could avoid this if I ate a little something to prevent my blood sugar from getting so low. So, I normally pack 2 of these Clif shot bloks (each pack comes with 4) and I take 1 with the salt stick supplement around mile 8. I like this because it is a chewy, almost gummy bear-like consistency and isn't gooey like gel shots they give out during races.
11. Thorlos Experia Thin Socks
Yes, these aren't cheap, but they are my favorite socks ever. The toe and heel have extra cushioning which helps prevent blisters. They sell these in thick or thin styles, the thick ones are great for colder temperatures, but might be too hot for warmer weather.