If there is one thing I am very particular about when I race, it is wearing the right gear for the weather. This is true not just for race day but pre and post race as well. Planning for race travel outfit is especially challenging when traveling to places with unpredictable weather where microclimates are quite common. More so if you are doing back-to-back marathons in two different places with different weather conditions. This was the case for the Boston to Big Sur Marathons.
For the Flight
Destination races are fun and I love the entire trip end to end, including the long haul flights. What is important though is to make sure that you are relaxed and comfortable during the entire flight. I prefer athletic gear and it’s good thing that sports brands have styles that are not too sporty but more lifestyle, what they typically term athleisure. I particularly like yoga brands like Prana for their breathable but non-flimsy fabric. Brands like North Face also have leisure or everyday wear that is not too light nor heavy for plane travel. Comfort is an utmost priority when you know that you will be racing in the next couple of days.
Some people do shakeout runs after a long flight to battle the jetlag and to stretch. I like doing that plus yoga to help in stretching the tight and bundled muscles. Given that I do these exercises, I typically have fifty percent of my luggage allocated for workout gear. These same clothes I also use sightseeing so I get to still travel light. I don’t really like bringing too much stuff and so I prefer multi-use things.
An outfit can make a whole lot of difference during a race. It seems trivial but if you are confident in your outfit prep it will affect your overall race confidence. Also, every discomfort exponentially gets magnified every kilometer when you are tired and spent. So it is absolutely important to plan well.
For Boston, I was worried because of the weather. But it turned out to be a shorts and tank top running day and so I donned my tried and tested gear because this is a major race for me. I was a mighty glad that it was pretty simple outfit-wise.
For Big Sur, it was trickier. The start time was earlier and because the course is on the coast, microclimates are the norm. Conditions there shift drastically in a matter of minutes. So I had to be extra ready for any change in temperature. I had a throwaway sweater as top layer, then a Salomon wind breaker that was light and handy enough to tuck into my pocket in case it gets warmer, then a long sleeved running shirt. I don’t wear thermals because this will leave you feeling too hot when the temperature rises. You are better off with dri-fit breathable fabrics. This was just the right outfit for that course, flexible and adaptable to the schizophrenic weather.
I rarely wear compressions during the race but it is a must post-race as part of the recovery. I wear compression bottoms and thermal tight tops to just keep the muscles warm and cozy as they recover. I like the feeling of the fabric hugging my body after it went through a beating. I wear compressions under everyday wear for a couple of days and it has helped a lot.
So in races, it is not just mental and physical preparation. Outfit planning is part of the preps and can contribute to how comfortable your race week will be.