What Do I Need When Running A Half Marathon?

If you’ve ever run a half marathon, then you know it’s not exactly easy. It’s hard work, both physically and mentally   especially if it’s your first time doing so. 

The good news is that after completing one of these races, you’ll be proud of yourself and proud of what you’ve achieved. 

If you’re planning on running a half marathon in the near future, make sure to do all the training necessary to be prepared for race day. Here are 16 things I recommend bringing along with me when I’m running:

How To Train For Your First Half-Marathon! – YouTube
Proper running shoes are essential for a half marathon.
Hydration is crucial, so carry a water bottle or use water stations.
Wear comfortable and moisture-wicking clothing during the race.
Fuel your body with a light meal or snack before the half marathon.
Don’t forget to apply anti-chafing products to prevent discomfort.
After the race, focus on recovery with hydration, stretching, and rest.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are the most important thing to have when running. They should be comfortable and supportive, and they should fit properly. 

Never wear shoes that are too loose or too tight; you don’t want your feet to be hurting while running! It is recommended that you replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles (or after 6 months if they still look reasonably good).

Proper shoe maintenance is crucial for runners. Learn about the importance of regular shoe replacement and how often you should change your running shoes in our detailed guide on how often should running shoes be changed.

Race Bib

Race bibs are a must when running a half marathon. They provide you with your number to identify you. 

They also include information on the timing of your race and some even have tracking so that people can follow along with you online. 

They help with crowd control because they allow spectators to know who they should cheer for and when they should cheer. 

The race bib itself is also used as a souvenir afterward, which is great for those who like to collect memorabilia from different races or events! 

Finally, some races will require fundraising in order for them to take place you could be able to help out by selling your half marathon bib if this is the case!

PurposeIdentification and tracking during a race
MaterialLightweight, tear-resistant paper or synthetic material
FeaturesPrinted participant number, event logo, and timing chip
AttachmentSafety pins or adhesive backing
PlacementTypically worn on the front of the runner’s clothing
ImportanceEssential for accurate timing, race organization, and results

Timing Chip

You can get a timing chip for your shoes and it will track how fast you are going. This is important when running because if you want to know how well you did, this is the way to do it. If you don’t have a timing chip, there are other ways to time yourself.

You could use an app on your phone or even just use Map My Run’s GPS tracking feature which shows where you started and ended up!

If you’re not sure how well your race went, then check out Strava! It’s a great app that allows runners like myself to see what pace they kept throughout their races as well as provide information about elevation changes during training sessions (which I think is super helpful).

Preparing for a half marathon involves careful planning, including your last training session. Find out how many miles you should run the day before a half marathon in our informative article on how many miles should you run the day before a half marathon.

Sports Bra

You need a sports bra that is comfortable, supportive, and has enough coverage.

A sports bra should not be too tight or loose. It should also be easy to take off and put on in case you want to take it off during the race.

I don’t like high-necked bras because they can get annoying when I run for several miles at a time; however, if you’re new to running or have small breasts then this may be your best option.


Running socks are one of the most important parts of your running gear. They need to be comfortable, breathable and able to wick away sweat from your feet. 

You want them thin enough that you don’t feel like you’re wearing a thick layer on top of your skin, but not so thin that they slide around inside your shoes too much. 

If it’s cold out, thicker socks can help keep warm; during summer months we recommend thinner ones for optimal performance. 

If you’re prone to blisters or chafing then look for crew length or over-the-calf (OTC) options these will keep the inside of your calf covered while also protecting it from rubbing against other surfaces like shin pads or even just tight shorts!

NikeMoisture-wickingBreathable fabric, cushioned footbed
SmartwoolMerino woolTemperature regulation, odor resistance
BalegaBlended fabricSeamless toe, cushioning, arch support
FeeturesSynthetic blendTargeted compression, blister prevention
Darn ToughMerino woolDurability, moisture management, cushioning

Compression Shorts/Pants

Compression shorts or pants are a must for runners. They help with muscle soreness, blood flow, recovery and injury prevention. 

Compression pants/shorts help with muscle fatigue, cramping and swelling as well.

Many people find them uncomfortable to wear during their run but they really can make a difference in your performance when used correctly. 

If you are not sure if you need compression gear then try wearing some while doing some easy jogging on flat terrain first before trying them out in training or racing.

A comfortable camping pad is essential for a good night’s sleep while camping. Discover useful tips and instructions on how to make a camping pad in our easy-to-follow guide on how do you make a camping pad.

Hat Or Visor

A hat or visor is a must. I’m someone who doesn’t like to wear hats, but there’s no way around it here. 

The sun is intense, and your face and head are going to sweat like crazy. I got a hat with a long bill that keeps my hair out of my eyes so I don’t have to worry about it being in my face, and also protects me from the sun (which can cause skin cancer).


In the morning, your eyes are at their most sensitive. The sun shines brightly and directly on your face, which can cause eye strain and even temporary blindness. 

It’s important to protect yourself from UV rays so that you can continue enjoying running throughout the day.

I wear polarized sunglasses when I run because they help reduce glare from the sun’s reflection off of shiny surfaces such as cars, water and snow. 

I also like them because they’re lightweight but durable; if I were to drop them or crash into something while wearing them (like a tree branch), they wouldn’t break! 

Polarized sunglasses come in many different styles including wraps or half-framed designs like mine below (see picture).

If you’re planning a tent camping adventure, it’s important to know how long you can camp in a tent. Get a better understanding of the duration and factors involved in tent camping in our comprehensive article on how long can you tent camp.


Sunscreen is an important part of your race day routine and should be applied before you leave for the start line. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing a sunscreen, such as SPF (Sun Protection Factor), waterproof or water resistant properties and whether it has additional skincare benefits like anti-aging or skin whitening.

Here’s how to get it right:

Read the label carefully—the higher the SPF, the better! If you don’t see an SPF on your bottle of sunscreen then it probably doesn’t contain any UVB protection at all.

Don’t forget to reapply after sweating or swimming! This is one of the most common mistakes runners make because they think their moisturizer acts as sun protection too but this isn’t true moisturizers only protect against dryness so if you’re sweating profusely during exercise then make sure you reapply every 2 hours at least. 

Similarly if you’re swimming then use waterproof formulas since these will last longer under water than normal formulas would (you’ll also need higher levels of UVA protection in these cases).

Top Layer, Depending On Weather

The top layer is the most important. Depending on the weather you’re running in, what you wear here will change. 

If it’s cold, I need a jacket that is thick and warm but not bulky. If it’s hot, I want something light and breathable so that I don’t overheat. 

When it rains or if there is wind (or both), I need an outer shell that can protect me from getting wet or keep me warm even if my layers get wet from sweat or rain, respectively.

I also want to look good! This one might seem trivial but no runner wants their race photos coming out looking like they were just pulled out of a dumpster after being used as target practice by local gangs of raccoons (don’t judge).

Weather ConditionTop Layer Options
Cold and RainyWaterproof jacket
Cold and DryInsulated hoodie
Mild and RainyLightweight raincoat
Mild and DryLong-sleeve shirt
Hot and HumidMoisture-wicking tee

Shorts Or Pants, Depending On Weather Conditions

As long as it is not too windy, I usually run in shorts. If it is colder than 50 degrees outside (I live in the Midwest), then I wear running pants. 

It can get pretty chilly here during winter months. Depending on what kind of weather you are expecting to run in, pick the appropriate gear. You don’t want to be shivering as you finish your race or wearing wet underwear because it’s raining on race day!

Water And/Or Sports Drink

  • Water
  • Sports drink

Make sure you hydrate before, during, and after your run. You may want to start hydrating a few days before the half marathon with a sports drink or water containing magnesium (like Smartwater). 

Drink at least 16 ounces of water two hours before your half marathon so that you can replace any fluids lost through sweating during training runs. 

The day of the race, bring along two 20-ounce bottles filled with water or sports drinks along with extra items like gels and snacks. 

Bring one bottle for use during the race and another for after the run when you need more electrolytes in your body because they were lost through sweat. 

If it’s hot out where you live or are running over 70 degrees Fahrenheit then take advantage of free water stations set up along the course by carrying as much free cold water as possible!

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Belt To Hold Things Like Keys, Snacks And Other Small Items

I am a big fan of belts. They are useful in so many ways, and can be especially helpful when you’re running a race. 

A belt can be helpful for holding your keys (if you don’t want to clip them on your pants), snacks, or other small items that might weigh you down during the course of your run. 

Additionally, some belts are made with an elastic band in which it allows runners to carry water bottles with ease while also providing a place where they can put their phones and ID cards/keys without worrying about having them fall out or getting lost mid-race!

Hand Towel Or Cloth

A hand towel or cloth is essential for a half marathon. Use it to wipe sweat off your face, neck and arms. 

You can also use it to wipe water from your face and neck when you need a quick cool down. After the race is over, you can use it to wipe sweat off your body before you shower at the finish line. 

Lastly, if you didn’t pack baby wipes or lotion in your bag there’s nothing wrong with using this towel/cloth as a makeshift hand cleaner (think bib overalls) after you’ve used the bathroom during a long run!

Nutrition For After Your Run, Like Protein Bars And Recovery Drinks

After you finish your run, you want to try to eat something that’s easy to digest. You don’t want a lot of heavy food after running because it can slow down your digestion and make you feel bloated. 

It’s also important to add protein and carbohydrates into your diet so that it helps rebuild muscle tissue. Protein bars are a great option for post-run nutrition, as well as recovery drinks like Gatorade or Powerade that contain electrolytes (sodium).

In general, the best types of foods post-run are ones that have high amounts of protein (like chicken breast or tofu), high amounts of carbohydrates (like pasta) and high levels of electrolytes (like oranges).


Running is a great way to get in shape and stay healthy, but it can also be a little more complicated than just putting on your sneakers and going out for a jog. 

Hopefully this article helped you figure out what you need to take along with you when running so that everything goes smoothly!

Further Reading

And here’s the FAQs section in H2:


What should I wear during a half marathon?

  • Choosing the right attire for a half marathon is important for comfort and performance. Opt for moisture-wicking clothing and proper running shoes to avoid discomfort and potential injuries.

How should I hydrate during a half marathon?

  • Staying hydrated during a half marathon is crucial. Carry a water bottle or use water stations along the route. Consider electrolyte drinks to replenish essential minerals lost through sweating.

Should I eat before a half marathon race?

  • Yes, fueling your body with a light meal or snack before a half marathon is recommended. Choose easily digestible carbohydrates to provide energy for your race.

How do I prevent chafing during a half marathon?

  • To prevent chafing, apply anti-chafing products such as petroleum jelly or specialized balms to areas prone to friction, such as thighs, underarms, and nipples.

What should I do after completing a half marathon?

  • After finishing a half marathon, focus on recovery. Drink water, stretch, and consider a cool-down walk. Treat yourself to a nutritious meal and allow your body to rest and heal.