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  • Writer's pictureDallas Galloway

What to Wear

What do marathoners wear?  Do we have to wear those uncomfortably-short shorts???  What’s the best shoe for me?

There are a variety of considerations that go into decisions concerning attire.  We’ve tried to outline some of the basic considerations below.  Going for style points or the most fashionable outfit is not always the best way to go.  But, we will warn you that the Fashion Police are out there to help keep us all in line!  (Just ask the Whinos!)


Your Keds or cross-trainers will not stand up to the training needed for marathoning!  You need a good running shoe.  Does that mean you need to spend a ton of money?  NO!  But, it’s important to get the best shoe for your foot.  Here’s a good way to do it:

  • Go to a reputable running shoe store (e.g. RunOn!) and get them to test you.  These stores have trained professionals who can identify issues with your feet and recommend shoes that best fit your needs.  They will ask you to walk and/or jog in the store to see how your feet work.  Buy your first pair at the store (to compensate the sales clerk for their time) and test them.  If they work, great!  If not, try again.

  • Going for the cheapest or most fashionable could lead to bigger issues down the road.  Learn what works best for you and do your best to fit your fashion needs within those parameters.  This will save you a trip (or multiple trips) to your friendly podiatrist.

  • Should you change brands?  It shouldn’t be a problem provided the shoe meets the needs of your foot.  Keep an eye out for any issues early on when changing brands to avoid issues.

  • Should I shop online?  -  Sure, provided you understand the shoe you are buying and how it will meet your foot’s needs.


We live in the Dallas area.  So it’s hot for a good part of our training season.  In other words, you will sweat.  A lot. 

Good running clothing is lightweight, breathable and wicks moisture away from your body to help reduce chafing and to prevent your clothes from weighing 10 pounds after a long run! 

There are a ton of brands out there at multiple running and athletic stores.  Follow these simple rules and stay away from cotton.

You will need to dress for the season.  Hot summer days will likely call for lightweight, light colored clothes.  During cooler runs, long sleeve shirts (same lightweight, wicking material) or running pants may be needed.  It will depend on your sensitivity to the cold.  Gloves and hats will become important in cold runs.  Remember – you lose most of your heat from your head, hands and feet.  So, having those areas well protected will help significantly in cold weather.  Gloves also serve as handy handkerchiefs too.

Dress in layers.  Often, an early morning run in the fall will start out cool/cold and then warm up.  It is usually best to dress in multiple lightweight layers so that you can shed clothes (or tie them around your waist) as it warms up.  For cold weather marathons, wear an old sweatshirt or long sleeve cotton shirt until you start to warm up.  Then, take it off and discard alongside the road!  It’s okay - most races collect discarded clothing and donate to charitable organizations.

Rainy weather?  The wicking material in good running clothes will help keep the water away from your body.  A lightweight, water proof jacket also helps.  These jackets help out in windy weather too!

Head Wear

This is a matter of preference.  Many like to run with ball caps or visors to keep the sun off of their faces.  Others prefer sweat bands.  Experiment and see what works for you.

But, in cold weather, or in conditions with high windchill, it is often advisable to wear a cap or some kind of head covering to protect your ears.  You may be a little warm at the end of a run, but you can always remove the head wear!  Your ears will thank you!

Sun Issues

We live in Dallas. The sun is strong here.  Sunscreen is a must.  Although we start our runs early in the morning, we will be in the sun some of the time.  Protect yourself.  Use sunscreen!

What about sunglasses?  Again, this is a matter of preference.  Athletic sunglasses can be expensive.  At a minimum, find a pair that is lightweight and provides UV protection.  Extra points (and dollars) if you choose a pair that reduces the sun’s glare (polarization).


Often overlooked, but important!  Choose a pair based upon preference.  Some like thin socks, others like thicker socks.  Experiment and find what works for you.  Your feet will thank you!

Carrying Water

YOU NEED TO CARRY WATER DURING ALL TRAINING RUNS AND LONG-DISTANCE RACES!  Recall the 2007 Chicago marathon.  Water supplies ran low, but those who carried some water fared better.  Trust us!  Several in our group were there! 

We have water along our training courses.  But carrying water is needed, especially in the heat of a Dallas summer.  There are multiple water carrying belts available at all area running stores.  They are relatively inexpensive.  Experiment and see what works best for you.


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