What to wear, what to wear

Like a lot of women, it takes me awhile to decide what to wear before I leave the house. I’m not one of those people who plan out their outfits ahead of time — in fact, true to my procrastinating nature — there’s not a whole lot I do ahead of time.

But for race days, I can’t afford the luxury of putting off deciding what to wear until the morning of the run (unless I want to have a mini-nervous breakdown before I even approach the starting line). There are too many other things to think about the morning of a race — making sure you hydrate, putting your number on, talking yourself out of going back to bed and pulling the sheets over your head — to worry about what you’re going to wear.

Of course, you can’t plan perfectly — meteorologists do their darndest, but they always seem to be off by a little bit. The forecast could call for clear skies and 90 degrees, and you could wake up to rain and 60. At the very least, though, you can pick out a shirt (Dri-Fit is always a safe bet), shoes and socks.

My issue has always been deciding whether to run with gear.  Specifically, one of those belts that have the little water packs on them. The couple of times I’ve run with one, I found it to be cumbersome. I’m not planning on using one for the PRR, but I’m a little freaked out about the humidity and the effect it will likely have on my thirst level. I know there are well-placed hydration tables on the race course, but if I get cottonmouth between stations, I might have to fight a child on the sidelines for his sippy cup.

Another thing I’m contemplating is whether to wear sunglasses. Again, I find them a little annoying on long runs, but if I wake up on PRR morning to a blazing sun, I might feel differently.

When you run, do you take a lot of “stuff” with you, or do you like to be as unencumbered as possible? Are there things you think make you a better runner that you wouldn’t do a race without?

33 comments Add your comment


June 9th, 2011
5:18 pm

No–I hate having stuff with me when I run. I do wear a Spibelt for runs of 8+ miles so that I can carry Shot Bloks. Otherwise, just my watch, iPod shuffle, and Road ID.

Water every mile on the PRR course is sufficient for me–I usually stop once, if at all.


June 9th, 2011
5:28 pm

I like to have my own water because I never seem to be thirsty when the have water stops but always where they are not ha! It is a little annoying to have a waist belt but I also put my ipod in it because I can’t stand it tied to my arm (I feel unbalanced). You get use to the belt too and you save time by not having to slow down at the water stops. For those really fast runners, they don’t run as long so they don’t need water but I’m not one of them ha!


June 9th, 2011
5:32 pm

I always do sunglasses and a hat, no matter the distance. Water – it’s hard to decide on my little 10 oz handheld bottle, a belt or nothing. I don’t think I will use the belt for the PRR, but maybe the handheld. I’m a little worried I’ll miss water stops with the amount of people there and get too thirsty.


June 9th, 2011
5:51 pm

Oh yes I always have my Garmin and Road ID as well!


June 9th, 2011
5:58 pm

Since there are water stations, no need in taking water. I chew bubble gum. No sunglasses. This time, I’m listening to music. Last year, I was told we couldn’t and it seemed half the people had headphones. I will this year. I will wear the same shirt/shorts regardless of weather.

This is my second PRR. I lost 110 pounds the year before and have been running. I will do the Chicago Marathon in October. I’m ready for the PRR!!!


June 9th, 2011
6:06 pm

I always wear my water belt, even though the constant swishing back and forth and up and down over my waist does bother me the first quarter mile. For the PRR I will wear my Road Runner Sports Visor, my cell and ID. Not sure about the bottoms yet. I have capris, but I’m thinking about getting shorts.


June 9th, 2011
6:20 pm

>The forecast could call for clear skies and 90 degrees, and you could wake up to rain and 60.

No, it’s pretty much always clear skies and 90 degrees, no matter what. Plus all the heat coming from the 50K people jammed around you in the corrals. Rain and 60 would be fairly close to paradise.

The Peachtree is an OK race to do once or twice, but I’m done with it. Too ridiculously hot, too many people.


June 9th, 2011
7:47 pm

Learn to run the race w/o stopping for water. If you are properly trained for the Peachtree (able to run 6.2 miles w/o stopping before hand), then it should take roughly an hour, maybe 1:10 if you are slow. I know that sounds funny, but if you spend the two weeks before hydrating, you won’t need that much water when running. I quit stopping for water after my 2nd Peachtree b/c all it did was slow me down and it made the race harder to run (got out of rhythm).
FYI: 3 of the last 4 Peachtrees have had the coolest starting temps ever.
I do recommend a dry fit shirt and shorts.

Come on

June 9th, 2011
7:53 pm

If you can’t make it a mile with out water you shouldn’t be running the Peachtree.

Come on

June 9th, 2011
7:55 pm

That is impressive.


June 9th, 2011
8:54 pm

Does the chewing gum help cotton mouth?


June 9th, 2011
8:57 pm

Chewing gum helps me.


June 9th, 2011
9:00 pm

Well, let’s see…in this heat I’d probably just carry a water bottle. Either a handheld, like a Nathan or Ultimate Direction, or a plain old generic 20 oz bottle. I use the UD because I don’t like buying water. Don’t listen to people who say you don’t need any water on a 10K. Sure, it’s doable. But in 90F heat it’s stoopid. But you don’t need a lot. And you don’t need gatorade or gels for that short a distance. Just make sure you eat a bagel before and carry your water.

A handheld with 20oz should last you the whole race. The only time I carry hydration on my back (I have the UD Wink) is for my 50Ks.

Unless I’m on the trial I always wear sunglasses. No matter what, in the summer I wear a visor and keep it low to help keep sweat out the eyes.

Make sure you put sun screen on.

I almost never run with music, not even marathons and 50Ks. I might if I was doing something like 50m where I’ll be all alone for hours and hours. But this is the PRR. You’re going to be running in a crowd. Don’t mute the experience with headphones.

Have fun, most of all.


June 9th, 2011
9:09 pm

Thanks DHD .. I will try on my next run! :)


June 9th, 2011
9:15 pm

@RM, gum does work great for cotton mouth. Inexplicably I find I don’t need it anymore, but ever since I migrated over to doing long distance running I’ve definitely slowed my pace. Back when I used gum I was cranking out 7 min/mile for anything under 10 miles. And I think the slower pace means less huffing and puffing and drying out the mouth.

For me, though, I found that most gum was too large and it made me feel like it was impeding my breathing…because we all become mouth breathers when we run. What I found was gum like Trident, or even half a Trident, was perfect. Experiment a bit to see what you like. But if a whole piece feels like you’re chewing on a pound of rubber when you’re running, just start throwing chunks of it away until it’s a size you’re comfortable with.


June 9th, 2011
9:16 pm

I said “inexplicably” and then went on to explain it. Doh…


June 9th, 2011
9:20 pm

LOL, thank you also iRun! All that makes sense…. I was thinking maybe it could be nerves as well as some huffing and puffing…. maybe chewing a bit before the race and a little while into it would help. I will try several things to figure it out!

Gen Neyland

June 9th, 2011
9:46 pm

For a 10K, a Purist wears running clothes and shoes. Hats, or headbands, and sunglasses round out the accessories ensemble. The rest of the stuff is a waste…
DHD : I’ve chewed Double Bubble bubblegum on runs for years. Actually helps with all phases, even track work..!


June 9th, 2011
10:01 pm

@Gen, Purist sounds like a religion. Don’t do that…turns off noobs. I want the world to run.

This blog is about what you need to go the distance, not about keeping up with the competitive elite.

That being said…I don’t feel there’s much you need on for a 10K. I do think water should be accessible, either in the hand or stop at the tables, with this heat. Personally, I have to wear sunglasses or I get headaches…I’ve got sun sensitivity issues. But that’s one of those individual things. So, for me, water and sunglasses and sunscreen are about all I need for running for 50ish minutes in the blazing sun.


June 9th, 2011
10:02 pm

Wow, you people are SERIOUS, aren’t you? Folks, it’s just a race… unless you’re vying for a top-five overall finish, just relax and have fun! Geez…. wear shorts and a tee-shirt, take your ipod, and that’s it! The sun is not that bright at that hour of the morning… you don’t need to carry your own water (it’s only 6 miles, not a marathon)… and you don’t need sunglasses, hats, your CELL PHONE (good lord, really?), visors, or whatever the crap a “Road ID” is.

Just go out and RUN and have FUN! Some of you take running so seriously, it’s not enjoyable anymore. The Peachtree is an event, like a Jimmy Buffett concert… you just go for the experience and the memories. Don’t make it like trekking up Mount Everest… just go with it!

Oh, and by the way, I can’t imagine running without my Ipod… gotta have some music to pump me up and keep me going! It also helps me pace and takes my mind away from the running sometimes. To iRun at 9 p.m., who said “I almost never run with music …. this is the PRR. You’re going to be running in a crowd. Don’t mute the experience with headphones.” Dude, I don’t wanna hear 50,000 people moaning and groaning and breathing and wheezing and gulping and gasping and talking and belching… gimme my headphones all the time! It’s not a cocktail party where I’m having a conversation… it’s just a 6-mile run!

Just my 2-cents worth… but remember, some of you who are so uber-serious about running… take that attitude to the marathons and stuff. This isn’t the Olympics, it’s the PRR, so just ENJOY it! Good luck to everyone….

Gen Neyland

June 10th, 2011
6:13 am

Shoot. I hate to be misunderstood by those that missed the MAR 2007 issue of Runner’s World. Here’s another’s perspective…


June 10th, 2011
6:33 am

Jeff–LOL. A Road ID is a tag attached to my shoe with my emergency contact info on it. I have it with me for all runs since I don’t carry a cell phone or driver’s license. Trust me, it’s not impeding anything.

I also don’t use my iPod for races–only for training runs when I’m alone.


June 10th, 2011
7:40 am

I ran the race several times over 20 years ago. There were a lot of folks even back then running.

Enough folks to where you weren’t going to get a blazing time, due to weaving in and out of the slow ones.

I have to laugh about carrying your own water….not necessary. There is plenty of water available.

Here is the deal – if you run three times a week at least 3 miles, and run in some heat, and throw in a 5 miler every now and then, you can do 6.2 at 8 or 9 in the morning with little difficulty.

Now if you want to run with the Kenyans, then you are not who I am referring to.

Heartbreak hill is only heartbreak if you haven’t trained much.

One of the most interesting things about the run was when we would be done in the park, you would pass by the medical tents.

I was appalled at the souls who attempted this race who were very obviously in NO shape at all to run, much less 6.2.

They would be beet red and packed in ice!

Good luck to all!


June 10th, 2011
9:59 am

I think it is irresponsible to run with an iPod when running in such a large event. you need to be aware of your surroundings. Blasting Beiber through your earbuds drowns out possibly important information.

[...] What to wear, what to wearAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Like a lot of women, it takes me awhile to decide what to wear before I leave the house. I’m not one of those people who plan out their outfits ahead of time — in fact, true to my procrastinating nature — there’s not a whole lot I do ahead of time. … [...]


June 10th, 2011
1:15 pm

I agree with Jeff and Cecil34. Each of these races provide feed zones either at various mile markers and at the end. If this is only 6mi – one should easily be able to run this without requiring any fluids. (I always find it humorous when I see one running with a water bottle). If you’re in marginal condition – then, go to Road Runner Sports and get a YIKES ID visible emergency identification because you never know if something could go wrong (i.e. you pass out from the heat or from listening to all those “50,000 people moaning and groaning and breathing and wheezing and gulping and gasping and talking and belching”).
Have fun & run.


June 10th, 2011
1:37 pm

Are the water stops on both sides of the road? I’ve been in some larger races before, but not this large and missed water stops because there was no warning and no time to get over to grab the water. That is why I like to carry my own in certain situations :D


June 10th, 2011
9:48 pm

@RM There is water all over the place – on both side’s of the road every mile or so. Big signs let you know where the water is as you approach. Matthew


June 11th, 2011
11:32 am

Awesome thanks Matthew!

I did a 10k this morning and tried the gum thing – it worked!!! Thanks y’all!


June 11th, 2011
6:13 pm

I would not wear earphones, because I would miss my absolute favorite part of the PRR, which is the crowds, the bands, the street noise. I train in the deep woods on mountain trails, and one of the things I love about the PRR is the overwhelming cacophony of background noise, so different from the quiet woods I’m used to. I haven’t carried anything because I don’t like the distraction of stuff jiggling about as I run, and there are plenty of water stations. I have to stop and drink, because I am from a cool northerm mountain climate and I worry about heatstroke running in the south in July. I do wear my Garmin and try not to let it distract me as I run, but it helps me keep track of my time and pace.

Oh, and heartbreak hill? When you train at 10,000 feet elevation – that’s not a hill. I have yet to have either my lungs or my legs tell me that there are any hills on that course and I’ve run it several times.


June 12th, 2011
7:41 am

Question to the women out there…
I hate hate hate when that little itty bitty area of your upper legs rub with your shorts and require you to keep adjusting. I’m looking for a great pair of shorts where I don’t have to deal with that. Can you help??


June 12th, 2011
10:25 pm

NLK, It might mean they are too big for you… I have some that got too big and started doing that, while the same exact shorts did not do that before I lost a few pounds. I prefer underarmour running shorts from all the ones I’ve tried so far.


June 13th, 2011
4:45 pm

I find Stride Gum to be the best running companion! Lasts thru my 3-4 mile treks, and then some. I can’t (or don’t like to) run without it. I’m taking Marta to the starting line, and Marta back up. Where does one put the Breeze card? I have a key keeper for my shoe, suppose I can stuff it in there?
I was thinking of taking my iPod, too, but I’m pretty nosey and will probably be more entertained by the crowds!