Dressing up to run a costume-themed race can be tricky. It’s hard enough just to run a race, let alone run it dressed in a gorilla suit. Finding the right costume that keeps you cool and comfortable, doesn’t chafe and still looks good should be priority number 1.
Here are a few pointers to consider — oh, and don’t forget to stick to your training plan.
1. Choose a Run-Friendly Costume
Whatever you wear needs to last through miles of bouncing, sweating and pounding the pavement, so you’ll need to be a little more particular about your attire. It might seem obvious, but things to avoid include: long and flowy skirts, anything that constricts your arm and leg movement, bustiers that can affect your breathing, boxy items and any kind of metal. In other words, use common sense during the creation process.
2. Leave Room for the Race Bib
When designing your costume, include a spot to pin on the race number. As far as race officials are concerned, if you don’t have a number, you’re technically not even participating. Most races require or recommend the bib be placed on your front. Check the event rules for details before showing up on race day.
3. Improvise with Existing Running Gear
Instead of dropping big bucks on a detailed Halloween costume, opt for a DIY approach incorporating running attire you already own. For example, a pink sports bra, top and tights can easily be paired with a pink tutu and cap. Boom: instant flamingo. Or the Pink Panther. You do you.
4. Skip the Mask
Masks are cool, but they rank up there with metal as a running costume “don’t.” Something that covers your face can impede your breathing and your vision. Easy breathing is imperative, and clear sight is super important when you’re running. The last thing you want to do is end up falling flat on your face, so consider painting your face instead.
5. Leave the Accessories at Home
If you haven’t heard by now, carrying things while running is a big no-no. This is not the time to bring along a cane or wand, unless you want to be stuck carrying it the whole race. And that will just be annoying.
Layering your costume will not only keep you warm as the fall temperatures drop, but it will also allow you to take off certain parts of your outfit midrace. We suggest making one of those layers Body Glide to avoid chafing and a painful post-race shower.
7. Give Your Outfit a Test Run
Once you complete your costume, take it out for a short test run. If you have the opportunity — and can handle the stares of disbelief from bystanders — run the full distance of the race wearing as much of the costume as possible. You might not see problems through mile one, but you’ll want to ensure the outfit can last well past that.
8. Remember to Have Fun
Even if you’re dressed up as American distance runner Meb Keflezighi, this is probably not the race to expect a PR. Just remember that the race is supposed to be a unique and memorable experience, so don’t forget to look around, snap some photos and have a good time.