What to Wear on Race Day

As race day nears, I have been trying to figure out what I’m going to wear. The weather looks like the perfect running conditions–with a high of 65 degrees and sunny. At the start of race time, the temperature should be around 45 degrees–warming up to 55 by the time I will be nearing the end.

So what do you wear? This article from Cosmopolitan has been my favorite so far!

Which is worse: Heading out for a run and totally overheating, or completely freezing your ass off?

The truth is that both situations suck — but both are entirely avoidable as long as you dress for weather that’s 15 to 20 degrees warmer than whatever the thermometer reads, says avid runner and The North Face performance apparel product manager Becky Avila.

When temperatures soar above 80 degrees, go with a lightweight, breathable tank top and shorts made from synthetic fabrics like polyester that help moisture evaporate. Natural materials like cotton absorb moisture and hold on to it, which weighs you down and feels totally gross.

Tank Top, NEW BALANCE, $38; Perforated Great Escape Shorts, UNDER ARMOUR, $23; Zquick Sneakers, REEBOK, $50.

When temperatures hover in the 70s, go with a lightweight tank, and shorts or capris. No, you won’t sweat your ass off in the latter: If you prefer the coverage and support of cropped tights, go for it. Just choose breathable mesh fabrics or styles with vents to let in the breeze and help sweat evaporate.

Marble-Print Tee, GAP, $30; Cropped Leggings with Mesh, SOLOW, $84; Response Boost Techfit Shoes, ADIDAS, $100.

Temperatures in the 60s might just be the perfect running weather. A lightweight T-shirt lets in the breeze, while mesh-paneled capris made from nylon and spandex provide awesome coverage, but still let your legs breathe.

Stella McCartney Barricade Tee, $60, ADIDAS; Plum Stardust Crop Pant, MICHI, $129; HKNB Sneakers, NEW BALANCE, $100.

When temperatures are in the upper 50s, you really don’t need any base layers. Go for shorts or capris (your choice!), and wear a sweat-wicking long-sleeve shirt right over your sports bra. You can push up the sleeves when you get toasty — it’s more convenient than removing a whole layer and then having to hold it or tie it around your waist while you run.

Motion Long-Sleeve Top, GAP, $45; Legend 2.0 Tight Mezzo, NIKE, $65; Gel-Nimbus Sneakers, ASICS, $160.

In the low 50s, capris, a sweat-wicking undershirt, and a long-sleeved shirt will keep you warm and dry. Make sure your bottoms are made of technical materials that wick away moisture so you don’t get the chills when you sweat. And if you run in the evening or before dawn? Look for reflective detailing to help vehicles see you. (It’s a good idea in any weather.)

Fit-Sana Rib Tank, $30, ASICS; Women’s HeatGear Alpha Capri, UNDER ARMOUR, $35; In a Flash Long Sleeves Shirt, LULULEMON, $98; Zoom Terra Kiger Sneakers, NIKE, $125.

Mesh-Back Tank, VICTORIA’S SECRET, $37; Apex Light Jacket, THE NORTH FACE, $130; Speed Tight II Leggings, LULULEMON, $108; Pure Boost Sneakers, ADIDAS, $120.

Accelorate Tank Top, NEW BALANCE, $24; Pria Excel Zip-Through, LORNA JANE, $90; Thermoball Vest, THE NORTH FACE, $149; gFast Marble-Print Leggings, GAP, $54, Fleece-Lined Convertible Mitts, VICTORIA’S SECRET, $25; Z Dual Ride Sneakers, REEBOK, $70.

In the winter you want to wear just enough layers to stay warm, but not too many, which will leave you sweat-soaked and freezing. In the upper 30s, that means a sweat-wicking tank top, a windproof, fleece-lined zip up, leggings, a synthetic-fabric headband that covers your ears, and gloves. (Opt for tech-friendly ones so you can skip around your playlist without peeling off layers.)

Racer-Back Tank, GAP, $25; Windfleece Jacket, ADIDAS, $70; Compression Tights, REEBOK, $50; Fleece-Lined Headband, VICTORIA’S SECRET, $17; ColdGear Infrared Gloves, UNDER ARMOUR, $40; Zigkick Wild Sneakers, REEBOK, $50.

When temperatures hit the low 30s, you’ve got to start layering up. A hybrid jacket with a vest-like body and stretchy sleeves helps promote flexibility and keep the bulk to a minimum. Underneath, all you’ll need is a tank top and long-sleeved shirt. Wear brushed leggings, which feel fleecy inside. They’re designed to keep heat in and wind out, and will be your very best friend this winter — you actually lose a lot of heat from your legs and butt, Avila says. Add a headband and gloves and you’re good to go.

Chi Tank Top, ATHLETICA, $44; Infrared Crew, UNDER ARMOUR, $50; Animagi Hybrid Jacket, THE NORTH FACE, $150; Speed Tights, LULULEMON, $108; Printed Thermal Run Gloves, NIKE (Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods), $22; Winter Warrior Head Wrap, LUCY, $15.


In the high 20s, you’ll want to run in a tank top, light long-sleeved shirt, an insulated jacket, brushed leggings, gloves, and a hat. Make sure your headgear is made of synthetic materials to keep your hair dry when you sweat. And no pom-poms, which will bounce around when you run.

Seamless Tank, Under Armour (Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods), $26; Long-Sleeved Top, H&M, $25; Windfleece Jacket, ADIDAS, $70; Thermal Run Tights, SWEATY BETTY, $155; Run With Me Gloves, LULULEMON , $32; PureProject Running Beanie, BROOKS; $30; Free Flyknit Sneakers, NIKE (Available at Lady Foot Locker), $120.

Bring on the layers in the low 20s — you won’t regret ’em. Start with a tank top, heavy long-sleeved shirt, and light jacket up top, wear brushed leggings, gloves, wind-resistant mittens, and a hat to seal the heat in. And while standard sweat-wicking socks and your favorite sneakers generally work for cold temperatures, special insulated sneakers can keep your toesies extra warm. (A note about the socks: Don’t be tempted to switch up your regular ones for fleece or other warm-looking socks. They’ll trap heat, all right, but that’s not a good thing. When your feet get hot, they sweat and swell, which can cause blisters, Olzinski says. Choose moisture-wicking socks year-round, and always avoid puddles to keep your feet dry and warm.)

Run Swiftly Tech Tank, LULULEMON, $48; Long-Sleeve Crew Neck, THE NORTH FACE, $50; Vidali Hybrid Jacket, THE NORTH FACE (Available at Urban Outfitters), $120; Hyperwarm Leggings, NIKE, $70; Runners ETip Gloves, THE NORTH FACE, $25; Runners Overmitt, THE NORTH FACE, $35; Coffee Run Beanie, UNDER ARMOUR, $25; and Climaheat Rocketboost Sneakers, ADIDAS, $110.

In colder temperatures: If you’re smart, you’ll take your workout indoors. While you can technically still run outside when it’s clear, the air can be extremely dry in the winter, so you have to cover your nose and mouth. And because it’s so freaking cold, you should also wear leg warmers or calf tights, slip on an even heavier jacket, and wear trail-running shoes with extra grip to avoid slips. In other words, it’s a real schlep to sweat in tundra-like conditions. Spare yourself and stay warm with a cardio workout you can do indoors.

Pin the entire guide to reference later!


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