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First half-marathon- chilly weather- what to wear?

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Hi, Everyone!

This Saturday, I am participating in my first half-marathon! I am very, very excited and I have been training for about 3 months. The weather is predicted to top out at 50 degrees, and the run is at 8am, so I am thinking ~40 degrees when starting out. There is also a 30% chance of rain. Any advice on what to wear/layer with?

Thank you!!
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I am proud of you what an amazing  thing to take on. Good luck to you! I look forward to seeing your post of how you finnished. about the clothes. I have no idea. I Live in the great north. ( Alaska) and we layer like you wouldnt believe. But Good luck to you........

Have you been training outdoors, or indoors?

I ran 5 in the rain yesterday, just under 40 degrees.  I had on moisture wicking pants (not running tights), a long sleeve but thin moisture wicking shirt, a lightweight running rain jacket (with 'air vents' that you can unzip to let air in without letting moisture in), running gloves, and a regular baseball type cap.

And I was unzipping after mile 1, and hot after mile 2!

The first mile is always cold, just like it is always the hardest mile (for most of us).  Personally, I would do a short or long sleeved thin shirt of some kind with a lightweight hoodie/pullover type jacket.  Not the rain barrier kind, but the fabric kind.  Ideally with a zipper, so it is easier to take it off when you don't need it.  If you wear gloves, make sure you have pockets to stash them in.

*If* you wake up the morning of and it is raining, then go for some kind of rain protection.  I like to wear a cap either way, so if it does rain at least it stays out of my eyes.  It's a tough call, but if you wear the rain gear and then don't need it, you might end up with extra weight and heat that you wish you didn't have.  Of course, if you need it, you end up wet and bedraggled.  :D  Oh, the joys of race day!!  :)

Edited to add - GOOD LUCK!!!  :)

Thank you cruebug2002 and Jenn! I appreciate the encouragment!

Jenn- I have been training in and out doors. Yesterday, I did a 10 mile run in about 40 degree weather. It was sprinkling and it turned into a full shower! I was not adequately prepared- I had on fleece pants that tried very hard to meet my ankles by the end of the run- they were soaked and heavy :D! I really appreciate the suggestions as I don't want to be caught like that again.
That's awesome, mcrouch!  Good luck!  I mainly do cycling, but I also jog around my neighborhood on the days when it's too cold or too dark to take the bike out on the open road.  The one piece of workout gear that I cannot live without - my Under Armour "Cold Gear" long-sleeved turtleneck top.  Wow.  At first, I didn't like it; it took me a while to get used to the fit and "feel" of it.  But now that the temps have taken a dive, I love it.  The "Cold Gear" stuff is made to be worn at 55 degrees (F) and below - I've worn it in the upper 50's down to the low 30's, and it really does keep you warm and dry and it's lightweight as well. It dries very quickly, and though I've never worn it in the rain, I imagine that it wouldn't be terribly uncomfortable if it got rained on (though I'm not sure how well it would insulate you at that point.)  I'm thinking that layering a cotton t-shirt and a breathable, windproof/waterproof shell over the Under Armour would probably be all you'd need...but then again I'm only jogging short distances right now so I wouldn't know for sure.

Anyway, good luck!  Let us know how it turns out. :)

I've started running outside and am up in the cold north.  I am a huge fan of the Under armour brand.  Unless you like to be warm or it's windy the all season gear would probably be best.  I like the cold gear because I like to stay a little warmer and I ussually run in the wind.  Like Jenn said layering is great.  Putting a long sleeve shirt with a hoody or wind breaker over top.  Just something that wicks on the bottom.

I've been running with the weather in the 30-40's and will start off with my cold gear compression top, a zip up hoody, light weight gloves and a hat on.  If it's really windy I will throw a pair of tights on under my pants.  By about mile 3 I am unzipping my hoody.  By mile 4 or 5 I'm shedding the gloves and hat and the hoody.

Best of luck to you I will be running my first 1/2 in May.

Oh, yes, I would definitely recommend against the fleece pants.  Either a lightweight fabric of some kind that won't be obnoxious if it gets wet, (I wear pants by sugoi, but any similar will do.  Here is an example), or running tights that will cling to your legs either way.  Tights may not be fashionable, but they get the job done! 


I did my 1st half marathon last month and had the exact same angst!  It was 35 degrees at the start and warmed up to probably 50s by finish time (and there was a chance of showers, which fortunately never happened).  I wore a sleeveless lightweight underarmour shirt and lightweight stretchy synthetic pants and I was perfect.  Admittedy, the first mile was cold, but I warmed up pretty fast.  I did wear a warm fleece jacket until the race started (at which point I gave it to my boyfriend) though.  A lot of people wore tube socks on their arms before the race and for the first mile or so.  Around the 1 mile mark, a lot of discarded tube socks and jackets appeared on the street.  Apparently, people buy "throw-away" clothing at goodwill or wallmart before a race for this purpose.  The race organizers usually donate it to a homeless shelter or goodwill afterwards.

As the race date approaches, you'll have a better idea about the rain possibility.  If it does rain, you probably wouldn't want to have bare arms, so you can adjust your gear accordingly.  Good luck and have fun!!
40s and 50s are perfect running weather, IMO. You don't need to go too overboard, because you'll heat up quickly in weather like that - provided there's not a lot of wind. The wind can be an issue.

Here's what I wear for that sort of weather:

- a pair of running tights, nothing too heavy. Or even running shorts - if there's little wind.

- good running bra

- Either a long-sleeved tech top OR a short-sleeve/sleeveless tech top plus a tech jacket that can be shed and wrapped around the waist. This second alternative is good if you have no idea what the weather is going to be like - gives you options. You can start out with the jacket and then later as you warm up strip down to the short-sleeve top.

If you find your hands get cold, bring along a pair of lightweight, disposable gloves you don't mind losing on the side of the road. Around here, our local Walgreen's sells stretch gloves for a couple of dollars, and I stock up on them each season.

DO NOT wear cotton - not for a long race like this. You will regret it! Not just that it gets soggy and heavy and makes you chillier, but also it can cause horrible chafing. Invest in tech fabrics designed for running, the kind that wick the moisture away from your body. It will be well worth the investment! If you're looking for bargains, try new balance's online discount store.

The only cotton you might wear is the race t-shirt if they give you one. If you feel nippy, put it on OVER your high-tech stuff (not under).

If it looks like rain, assuming you don't have the $ to spend on a fancy running jacket, just take a plastic garbage bag and use it as a poncho.
Thanks everyone!! This information is extremely helpful!!!
Oh! And Cassy- good luck during your first half! have fun!

I suggest Target. They have nice training clothes there for a good price. Avoid cotton because it becomes heavy when soaked. Find something imitation NIKE there!


Or, footlocker may have some steals at this time of the year.


Good luck!  

When I run a cold weather marathon, I wear throw away sweat pants/top covering shorts and a dry weave top.  Do not wear any type of sweatpants during the race, you'll regret it.  Stay warm w/ the sweats until the race starts, then strip them off.  You'll warm up quickly.  This is the Custom at the NYC marathon, which I ran Nov. 4th!


Good Luck! 

I prefer to under dress on long runs because I tend to get very warm. I would probably wear shorts and a shot sleeve shirt.  Maybe take a cheap sweat shirt to start with then toss it.  If you stay on the cool side then wear tights and long sleeve (light weight) performance top like under armour.  I have run 3 half marathons but none in the rain.  Personally I wouldn't worry about the rain unless it is very heavy. Good luck and watch your pace at the start.  It is easy to start way to fast at the beginning when you are excited.. 

Here in Utah, I run in 30-40 degrees pretty much daily.  I always wear one of those ear warmer head band thingies.  It lets the heat escape your head better than a hat, but keeps your ears warm (and your headphones in place).  Because gloves make me sweat by mile 1, I wear my husbands rain jacket because the sleeves are too long for me.  That way i tuck my hands up in the arms so they don't freeze for the first little while.  I usually shuck that and tie it around my waist at mile 3.  Legs are the last thing to get cold, so I just wear a nice dry weave/lycra running pant.  It works swell.  Good Luck, you are my hero.

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Good luck 13 miles peace of cake knit hat and gloves when you finish tell us how good the cake was
Hope you let us all know how you do tomarrow, I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

I saw your post and replies today, almost 3 years after they originally appeared.  However, they have been very helpful to me.  I will be running my first half-marathon in 3 weeks.  It might be cold here in Ohio, and I had no clue how to deal with the temps at 7:30 in the morning.  When I train, I can always take off layers, but I don't want to discard things over the race course.  I am going to try some of the advice you received over the next couple of weeks to see how I handle being very cold at the start.  I'm not worried about anything after the first 10 minutes.  I hope you are continuing to run!!!

Original Post by chmecray:

When I run a cold weather marathon, I wear throw away sweat pants/top covering shorts and a dry weave top.  Do not wear any type of sweatpants during the race, you'll regret it.  Stay warm w/ the sweats until the race starts, then strip them off.  You'll warm up quickly.  This is the Custom at the NYC marathon, which I ran Nov. 4th!


Good Luck! 

Yes, this ^

If you have a friend that will be near the start, it is easy. You stay warm until a few minutes before the start, and then give the warm stuff to your friend. 40-50 F is great weather for racing. Plenty of people will wear shorts and SS top. Some will have synthetic long sleeve top and push up the sleeves as it gets warmer.

The St. George marathon (UT) starts out cold (in the dark), but ends in 90+F sun. People strip during the first few miles, leaving clothes on the road. The race people collect them and have them at the finish. Most people toss older/junk clothing, just in case they don't turn up.

Make sure you have a way to get warm and dry at the finish!!

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