Marathon Clothing and Essentials Checklist

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or participating for the first time, a marathon checklist can get you race day ready.

May 01, 2019

Running a marathon can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. One thing that shouldn’t worry you is the lurking feeling of forgetting an important item. Whether it’s your lucky socks or your favorite hair tie, don’t let the stress of forgetting something throw you off.

You’ve already put in the time and the miles to prepare for the big race. Now it’s time to make sure you’re equipped with a marathon checklist that covers all the running essentials. From must-have running gear to post-race items, this list can help prepare you for the big day.


Your attire should be the first thing that you have ready. Know what running clothes you’ll be wearing, including your shirt, pants, socks and shoes. Don’t forget a sports bra. Make sure you have a well-fitted sports bra with our guide.

You’ll want to make sure you have the right running shoes before you start your marathon training. Your shoes should offer proper support, stabilization and cushion for your feet. Appropriate running socks are also a must-have for all runners. Discover the right fit for you with this running socks guide.

An important factor when choosing your clothing is the weather. Depending on the temperatures, you might need layers and other running accessories. Consider throwaway gear that you can toss as you get hot. Other cold weather items include a jacket, gloves and ear warmers. If the forecast calls for a hot, sunny day, then have a hat, sunglasses and sweatband ready.

When training, try different running clothes. This will help you learn what to wear for a marathon by finding what is most comfortable for you. All of your clothes should be items that you have done your marathon running training in. To avoid surprises on race day, you don’t want to change up your running shoes or typical attire. You want to make sure you’re comfortable in your marathon clothes, so it’s not recommended to try something new.


To participate in an organized run, there are also marathon essentials you need to bring. For example, when checking in it’s common that you’ll need identification. At check-in you’ll get your race bib, safety pins and goodie bag. Sometimes races will provide timing chips. Other times it will be on the back of your bib. So, make sure to have those with you before you leave for the race.

Bring cash and/or a credit card. You may have to pay for parking. Also, part of the excitement of an organized race is the festival at the finish line. Make sure you don’t get caught empty-handed so you can partake in the fun.

And don’t forget a water bottle. There are different water bottle options that can help keep you hydrated before, during and after the marathon. Consider bringing multiple bottles to the event so you can have one for water and another for a beverage with electrolytes.

Another race day tip is to bring fuel for the run. A distance run takes a lot of energy, so make sure you have something to eat during the race. This could include gels, gummies, bars or some other solid carb source. Consider your fueling strategies with this Pro Tips advice. The important thing is that you’ve used them during your training. Also have a light meal the morning of the run. Bring extra fuel for after the race as well.


A lot of technology is dependent on personal preference. If you enjoy jamming to music, don’t get in a jam by forgetting your headphones. If you use your cellphone for your tunes or run-tracking apps, it could drain your battery. To avoid this, make sure to bring a portable charger for after the race.

Other running gear that comes in handy is wearable technology. Make sure you have your watch or GPS tracker charged the night before. For technology that you don’t wear or hold, make sure you have armbands or belts to carry them.


It’s important to bring your own personal first aid kit. This could contain items such as bandages, lip balm and any medications. Pack a marathon kit bag with runners’ supplies for before and after the race. This could include anti-chafing products, sunscreen, deodorant, extra hair ties, face and body wipes and a bag for ice.

If you need any support for your run, like compression sleeves for your arms or calves, make sure you have it ready to go. This could also include a knee strap or brace and kinesiology tape.


After running for 26.2 miles, you’ll be ready to change out of your race clothing. Bring an extra pair of socks, pants, undergarments and shoes, as well as a fresh shirt. This will help you feel comfortable for any post-race activities that you’ll be partaking in. Of course, make sure to have a bag to carry all of these things in.

After you finish your run, you’ll start to cool down, so bring a blanket or towel to keep you warm. If you use a foam roller to stretch out post-race, have that with you as well.

You’ve already crossed marathon training off your list. Now, with the help of this marathon checklist, you can further prepare yourself for the race. If it’s your first marathon and you want more guidance for the big day, check out this must-read marathon advice.

* Click here to expand and print the checklist.