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What To Wear

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Footwear

One of the most vital pieces of your running kit are your running shoes or trainers. Everyone runs differently and it’s important to figure out what will be comfortable for your foot size, shape and running style. Running shoes should be supportive in the right places to allow your foot to be positioned properly upon landing and light enough for ease of movement.

A good pair of running shoes should fit snugly around the heel and instep but not feel pressurised or tight. Your foot should also be able to move side-to-side within the shoe without crossing the insole and there should also be a thumbs width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This allows room for the foot to move about inside the shoe and also enough room should your feet swell during a run. Experts always advise you try on your shoes in the evening as your feet swell throughout the day and only stop swelling around 4pm in the evening. That way you can ensure you won’t leave with a pair of trainers that are too loose or too small.

Be sure to check for flex points by bending the shoe; it should conform the same bend as your foot if you want to avoid arch pain and calf strain. Although there are plenty of fashionable running shoes out there with high tech features such as reflective panels, ultra-lightweight soles and fluorescent fabrics, always buy for comfort rather than looks. Try on in store if possible before you purchase and try to get your feet measured by an assistant. Although you may be a Size 9, the size of the running shoe you need can vary depending on the styles within the brand or could even be a completely different size in another brand altogether.

Clothing

Dressing right for a run is key to ensuring that you’re comfortable. As the Great North Run is 13.1 miles, needless to say, you’re going to be wearing those clothes for a while!

A good rule to follow is that ‘quality is better than quantity’. Invest in some well-made basics without breaking the bank by browsing the racks of your nearby running boutique, sports store or athletics website to find some comfortable, running-specific pieces of kit to keep you cool and dry.

The kind of materials you should be looking for will be made from synthetic blends or ‘technical materials’ which are designed to move sweat and moisture away from your skin. Not only will these types of clothing keep you cool in the summer, they also keep you warm in colder weather when coupled with appropriate layers. Technical fabrics also tend to be lightweight and don't have the troublesome zips, buttons and seams that cause chafing and irritation. Nylon, Lycra and Coolmax are excellent for this sort of thing and usually T-shirts, vests, leggings and shorts made from this fabric include breathable panels to allow heat and moisture to escape at vital points to stop your body over-heating.

It is recommended that you avoid cotton altogether as it absorbs sweat, traps cold and can irritate the skin; that goes for underwear too! Ladies should always ensure that they invest in a comfortable, supportive sports bra when running as it will make your workout much more comfortable and prevent you from straining your back and shoulders.

In short, you may have to part with a little bit of cash for a few workout clothes but it will ensure that your Great North Run running kit is up to standard, making your run much easier!

Outerwear

The Great North Run takes place in September which is usually reasonably warm and fair for weather. The climate is not too hot as we approach Autumn and since most of your training will be done throughout the heat of summer, you’ll be used to running in sunshine. However, as this is the UK, there’s also a probable yet unpredictable chance that the weather may be wet, windy and chilly.

Whether you’re planning to carry on running throughout the winter or are keen to head out on cold, rainy days as part of your training, it’s always sensible to invest in a compact running jacket or waterproof just in case. A long-sleeved jogging top or running jacket made from a technical fabric is a good lightweight choice to use as it can be removed if you get too warm; you can simply put it back again on again once you’ve finished the race to stop your body cooling too quickly. Meanwhile, a breathable waterproof is also a good option for harsher weather as it will keep you dry without allowing heat to escape from your body too rapidly. A lightweight waxed version or one with interior mesh might be a little more expensive, but will be worth the money for its longevity.

When it comes to outdoor wear, try to choose something with reflective strips and pockets for practicality. Running in the dark can be dangerous business so this heightens your visibility.  Jacket pockets also allow you to keep your personal belongings safe and tucked away without having to worry about things dropping out or causing uncomfortable bulking. If you’ll be bringing snacks to re-fuel or energy gels to the Great North Run, these can be stored in your pockets for easy access and will be an excellent supplement for your marthon diet.

Other essentials such as gloves, sweatbands, socks and hats are relatively cheap to buy and are available in more technical materials should you need them. However, be sure to check the weather forecast on the days leading up to the Great North Run to see what kit might be required depending on the conditions.

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