What to Wear for a 40 Degree Marathon

Running a marathon in 40-degree

But what should you wear to stay warm and comfortable and perform at your best?

This post will explore the world of marathon running and cold weather gear. Here are just a few of the things we’ll cover:

  • The basics of dressing for cold weather running, including layering and fabric choices
  • Tips for staying warm and dry during a 40-degree marathon
  • Essential gear and accessories to keep you comfortable and safe.”

Understanding the Weather Conditions

As I prepare for a marathon in 40-degree weather, I know that understanding the weather conditions is crucial for choosing the right gear.

Running in cold weather requires a careful balance of staying warm without overheating.

Here are a few things I keep in mind when getting ready for a marathon in these conditions:

  • Temperature: The temperature range of 40-50 degrees is ideal for a marathon, as it allows the body to maintain a stable core temperature without overheating. However, it’s important to remember that the temperature fluctuates throughout the race, so I must be prepared for colder and warmer conditions.
  • Wind: Wind can significantly affect how cold it feels outside. Even a light breeze can cause a noticeable chill, so I need to know the wind speed and direction when choosing my gear.
  • Humidity: Humidity can affect how the body perceives the temperature. Higher humidity can make it feel colder, while lower humidity can make it feel warmer. I need to take this into account when planning my race outfit.

I choose warm and breathable clothing to stay comfortable during a marathon in 40-degree weather.

I prefer to wear layers that can be easily removed or added as needed. Here are some specific gear recommendations:

  • Base Layer: A moisture-wicking base layer is essential for staying dry and comfortable during the race. I chose a long-sleeved shirt made of a breathable material like merino wool or synthetic fabric.
  • Mid Layer: I wear a lightweight fleece or jacket for added warmth. This layer should be breathable and easy to remove if I start to overheat.
  • Outer Layer: A wind-resistant and water-resistant jacket or vest is a good choice for the outer layer. This layer should be lightweight and easy to pack away if the weather warms up.
  • Pants: I prefer to wear full-length running tights made of a breathable material like nylon or spandex. If it’s freezing, I might wear a second layer of pants or shorts over the tights.
  • Accessories: A hat or headband, gloves or mittens, and a neck gaiter or scarf can help keep me warm without adding bulk. I choose accessories made of moisture-wicking and breathable materials.

Understanding the weather conditions and choosing the right gear is essential for a successful marathon in 40-degree weather.

I can focus on my performance and enjoy the race by staying warm and comfortable.

Choosing the Right Fabric

When it comes to marathon running, choosing the suitable fabric for your clothing can make all the difference in comfort and performance.

In 40-degree weather, choosing fabrics that will keep you warm without causing you to overheat is essential. Here are some options to consider:


Cotton is popular for casual wear, but there are better options for marathon running in cooler weather. While cotton is comfortable and breathable, it doesn’t wick moisture away from your skin.

If you sweat, the cotton will absorb the moisture, leaving you feeling damp and cold. In 40-degree weather, this can be a recipe for discomfort and even hypothermia.


Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon are better for marathon running in cooler weather.

These fabrics are designed to wick moisture away from your skin, which helps keep you dry and warm. They’re also lightweight and breathable so you won’t feel overwhelmed or overheated.

However, some people find that synthetic fabrics can be itchy or uncomfortable against their skin, so it’s essential to try them out before race day.


Wool is another great option for marathon running in cooler weather. It’s a natural insulator, which means it will keep you warm even when it’s wet.

It’s also breathable and moisture-wicking so you won’t feel clammy or uncomfortable.

Merino wool, in particular, is a popular choice for runners because it’s soft, lightweight, and doesn’t itch. The only downside is that wool can be expensive, so it’s only sometimes the most budget-friendly option.

In summary, when choosing a suitable fabric for marathon running in 40-degree weather, it’s essential to prioritize moisture-wicking and breathability.

Synthetic fabrics and wool are excellent options, while cotton should be avoided. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your personal preferences and budget.

Layering for Comfort

When running a marathon in 40-degree weather, layering is crucial for staying comfortable throughout the race.

Here’s how I like to layer up for a 40-degree marathon:

Base Layer

I always start with a moisture-wicking base layer. This helps keep sweat away from my skin, keeping me warm and dry. My go-to base layer is a short-sleeved tech tee made of lightweight, breathable material.


I like to wear a long-sleeved shirt made of a slightly thicker material than my base layer for my mid-layer. This provides an extra layer of insulation without adding too much bulk.

Outer Layer

Finally, I opt for a lightweight jacket or vest made of a wind-resistant material for my outer layer. This helps keep the cold air from penetrating my layers and chilling me to the bone.

Other Considerations

In addition to layering up, there are a few other things to consider when dressing for a 40-degree marathon. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t forget about your extremities. A hat, gloves, and ear warmers can help keep your head and hands warm.
  • Avoid cotton. Cotton absorbs sweat and can leave you feeling cold and clammy.
  • Dress for the temperature at the start of the race, not the temperature you expect to be running in. You’ll warm up quickly once you start running, so you don’t want to overdress and risk overheating.
  • Test out your layers before race day. Make sure everything fits well and feels comfortable when you’re moving around.

By following these tips and layering up appropriately, you’ll be able to stay comfortable and focused throughout your 40-degree marathon.

Accessories to Consider

When running a marathon in 40-degree weather, it’s essential to dress appropriately and consider some accessories that can make your race more comfortable. Here are some additions to consider:


Sunglasses are essential for runners in any weather condition. They protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and glare from the sun.

When running in 40-degree weather, the sun can still be intense, especially if it’s a clear day. Therefore, I always wear sunglasses when running a marathon. Look for sunglasses that are lightweight, comfortable, and provide 100% UV protection.


Even though it’s not hot outside, you can still get sunburned when running a marathon in 40-degree weather.

Therefore, I always apply sunscreen before the race. Look for a sweat-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously to all exposed skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs.

Hat or Visor

Wearing a hat or visor can provide additional protection from the sun and keep your head warm in cooler weather. When choosing a hat or visor, look for one that is lightweight, breathable, and fits comfortably.

I prefer a visor because it keeps my head cool while providing shade for my face.

Hydration Pack

Staying hydrated during a marathon is crucial, regardless of the weather. For example, when running in 40-degree weather, you may not feel as thirsty as in hotter temperatures, but you still need to drink water to avoid dehydration.

I always wear a hydration pack during a marathon because it allows me to carry water and electrolyte drinks without stopping at every water station. Look for a hydration pack that is lightweight, comfortable, and has enough capacity to hold the amount of water you need for the race.

In conclusion, when running a marathon in 40-degree weather, it’s essential to dress appropriately and consider some accessories that can make your race more comfortable.

Sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat or visor, and a hydration pack are all accessories that I consider essential for a successful and comfortable race.

Footwear for the Marathon

As a runner, I know that choosing the proper footwear is crucial for a successful marathon. However, with a wide range of options available, it can be overwhelming to pick the perfect pair. Here are some tips to help you choose the proper footwear for your 40-degree marathon:

Consider the weather: Since the temperature will be around 40 degrees, choosing breathable shoes with good ventilation is essential. Look for shoes with mesh uppers or perforations that allow air to circulate, keeping your feet cool and dry.

Please choose the right fit: When selecting shoes, ensure they fit well and are comfortable. Ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters, hot spots, and other foot injuries that can ruin your marathon experience.

Going to a specialty running store is recommended to get fitted for shoes that match your foot type and gait.

Look for cushioning and support: Running a marathon can be hard on your feet, so choosing shoes that provide adequate cushioning and support is essential. In addition, look for shoes with good arch support and shock-absorbing materials like EVA foam or gel.

Consider the terrain: The terrain of your marathon route will also affect the type of shoes you choose. For example, if the course is primarily flat and paved, you can opt for shoes with less traction.

However, shoes with more traction and stability will be necessary if the course is hilly or has uneven terrain.

Break them in. They are breaking in your shoes before the marathon is essential. Wear them on shorter runs leading up to the race to ensure they are comfortable and don’t cause any discomfort or pain.

In summary, when choosing footwear for a 40-degree marathon, it is essential to consider the weather, fit, cushioning and support, terrain, and breaking them in. Then, you can focus on the race and not worry about your feet with the right pair of shoes.

Final Thoughts

Based on my research and personal experience, I recommend wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt or tank top made of moisture-wicking material for a 40-degree marathon.

It’s essential to keep your core body temperature from rising too quickly, and this type of clothing will help regulate your body temperature and keep you comfortable throughout the race.

In addition to a shirt, I suggest wearing lightweight gloves to keep your hands warm and a snood or light scarf to protect your face from the cold wind.

It’s essential to avoid getting too bundled up before the race, as you will generate enough heat during the run to keep yourself warm.

Before the race, take a 5-10 minute jog to get everything moving and work out any pre-race jitters.

Once the race starts, build up to your race pace gradually for the first few miles, viewing it as an extended warm-up. Stay hydrated and fuel your body with the appropriate nutrition before and during the race.

The key to a successful 40-degree marathon is to dress appropriately, start slowly, and focus on your race strategy. With the right gear and mindset, you can conquer any weather conditions and achieve your running goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear during a 40-degree marathon?

During a 40-degree marathon, it is essential to dress in layers. You will want to wear a long-sleeved tech shirt, shorts or tights, and gloves. If the weather cools down, you can add a headband or hat. It is essential to avoid cotton clothes because they retain moisture and can make you feel cold. Instead, opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you dry and warm.

Should I wear a jacket during a 40-degree marathon?

Wearing a jacket during a 40-degree marathon is generally not recommended because you will likely get too hot. However, if you need an extra layer, wear a lightweight jacket that you can easily remove and tie around your waist if you get too warm.

Can I wear a hydration belt during a 40-degree marathon?

Yes, you can wear a hydration belt during a 40-degree marathon. Staying hydrated is essential, regardless of the temperature outside. However, ensure your hydration belt is lightweight and does not add unnecessary bulk to your outfit.

What shoes should I wear during a 40-degree marathon?

The type of shoes you wear during a 40-degree marathon will depend on your personal preference and running style. However, wearing comfortable, supportive, and appropriate shoes for the weather conditions is vital. In addition, ensure that your shoes have good traction and are not too heavy, which can slow you down.

Should I bring a change of clothes for after the race?

Yes, you are bringing a change of clothes for after the race is a good idea. You will likely be sweaty and uncomfortable, so changing into clean, dry clothes will feel great. Also, bring warm clothes after the race, as your body temperature will drop once you stop running.

The key to dressing for a 40-degree marathon is wearing layers and moisture-wicking fabrics that keep you dry and warm. Also, remember to stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes appropriate for the weather conditions.



Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.