Couch to 5K
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Advice on clothing

New to running. Only completed R2 W1 yesterday. I have been running in some old tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt. The bottoms are quit tight and the t-shirts get quite damp and heavy with the sweat.

I am planning on ordering some new gear for running. Preferably what i can wear throughout the year.

I have found a long sleeve half zipped running top by Ron Hill but I’m not sure if I should buy some tights or some tracksuit bottoms to go with it?

Hope this makes sense?

Looking forwards to W1 R3 tomorrow

16 Replies

Run what you are comfy in. As we head to warmer weather you may find capris and shorts better, and a good sports bra is a good idea too.


Try to avoid wearing a 'normal' t-shirt as this will soak in the sweat and will potentially make you cold. You should be able to pick up some cheap running tops (Aldi, Wiggle etc). We all run at different temperatures - I tend to layer up on top this time of year and wear either shorts or capri bottoms as I get hot. I was out last night in my long sleeve top and gillet and was fine. I only really wear a jacket if the temperature is below 2 degress (although I do wear gloves to keep my hands warm).


Wicking fabrics for tops, whether short or long sleeved. They are much more comfortable than a cotton t-shirt.

I started in the summer, so shorts and t-shirt and running socks were the only necessary things. As it cooled down, long sleeved shirts became necessary, then long running trousers, compression base layers (for the coldest weather) , buff, gloves and now I am in my dotage, a windproof jacket.

My philosophy is to wear as little as you decently and comfortably can.

If you are new, please read the guide to the plan

Enjoy your journey.

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If you are in UK nip into Sports Direct (other sports shops are available :) )

They have their Karrimoor range and it includes running gear. (It can get down to -20C here in winter). You want a top that is wick material so it soaks up the sweat and allows you to breathe and is also very light.

For this time of year I run in leggings and a pair of shorts. A long sleeved wick top and a zip up lightweight running jacket. Lightweight gloves and a hat that covers my ears. I think they are all Karrimoor or Walmart when I am in US. Add three stripes or a Nike flash and add 30 quid ;)

Oh...and I never knew the fuss about running socks until I got some. Well worth it.

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Matalan have their soulexe range too. (just a customer). I agree with the wicking comments above. One thing I try to do is finish as closely to my starting point as possible... I run really hot and am soaking when I finish & the wind chill is wicked!

Keep up the good work!


I have running leggings which have a zipped pocket in the waistband at the back for my keys. They have zips at the ankles too.They keep me warm, but I don't get overheated in them either..

A wick top and mens Ron Hill running jacket ( my graduation treat)

And a buff and running socks of course...

Treat yourself as you work through the program 😊x


I agree about gear made of fabric that wicks away the sweat so you don't get a chill (cotton holds the moisture, causing this problem and also potentially irritation to the skin). You can find items at all price points (and often even the flashier stuff at cheaper prices in outlets and the like once it's old season).

You didn't mention them, but more than worrying about your other kit, I'd be sure your shoes are the right ones, so your best bet is to find a reputable running shop and get your gait analysed. They should then be able to advise you on the best shoes for you, which will help you avoid all manner of ills.

As far as bottoms are concerned, running tights/leggings are probably best in this season. Everyone has their own preference, but I personally won't buy them unless they have a cord at the waist as well as elastic as I don't want to be hitching them up all the time. A zipped pocket is important for me too, preferably at the back rather than the side.

I know that they are probably overpriced on account of the brand, but I always had Nike leggings for the gym and now for running, and I think they are unbeatable. I got my first pair about four years ago and despite being used pretty heavily and slung in the washing machine and drier, they are still perfect. I recently bought another pair, heavily discounted, and they are just as good. I have used them in virtually all seasons and aside from when it hits 30 degrees in summer, they always feel just right.

I read somewhere that when running, you should dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. That sounds a bit excessive but I suspect it is probably right. (We could always compromise and say 10?!).

And socks! Running socks are great. Normal cotton socks will feel like sandpaper in longer runs. Try to get them as close to your actual size as possible.

Sports gear looks fearsomely expensive until you start looking round, and you can find lots of good stuff at very low prices. Treat yourself as you go along!


I call it 'The 10 Degree' rule :-)

Once you're no longer walking during a run, add 10 degrees to the actual temperature, and dress for that. So if it is freezing, dress for 10 degrees - long sleeve running top. You'll feel cold when you start, but this is the point.

But at the beginning of C25K when there are walking sections, you might feel a bit cold if you follow this guide.


With you entirely on the cord and elastic running tights. Too many folk in London have seen me doing undignified hitches on the one pair I have that doesn't have the ripcord. Stupidly they are new too, I should have known better....

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Well done!

I've Just been out running 5k, nice and sunny but brass monkees! was wearing short sleeve compression top & long sleeve top all wicking & a very light running jacket with sleeves I can pull over hands, (and Garmin watch still works OK) not too keen on wearing gloves when running as hands get too hot n sweaty so am soon taking them off, I soon started to warm up "toasty" so had to unzip jacket, you may only need the 2 tops you'll have to see what you like, layers are the way to go, I like the jacket for it's pockets and detachable hood, oh and I was wearing a cap, I also have a beany hat as well..

I got home and the compression top was soaking but long sleeve top was virtually dry, so done it's job..cap has a sweatband so stops sweat going into eyes making them sting..😊


Do not laugh but when I 1st started I got a pair of those pyjamas that were shorts & short sleeved top. Got to say no one looked at me and started laughing because they basically looked like running gear. They were made of cotton and as other have said cotton does cause problems. The shorts were ok but the tops gave me a rash under arm pits due to sweating.

Once I knew I was going to stick with running I purchased all from sports direct under their karrimor brand in polyester. The shorts are by Nike but still in polyester.I find them (karrimor) excellent and wash well in 20°. To be honest these days as there are so many runners on the roads no one really takes any notice of what you are wearing. Just go with the previous advice and wear what is comfortable for you physically & mentally. My wife has told me in no uncertain terms if I buy and wear a pair of men`s running tights with a pink running top she would disown me if she saw me outside. I did jokingly say I was going to order them but looked at her face and told her I was only joking.

We watched the new wonder women film a while back and at the end she said the moral of the film was never ever upset a women so no tights & pink top.


Check out Aldi or Lidl..they have great gear, often on offer...take ju-ju- 's advice re sports bra...also great deals online.. wick top..leggings and a Buff :)


Thanks for all your knowledgeable replies. I won’t be needing a sports bra though. I have been looking at these to start with see links below.

And for the cooler mornings -


What’s your thoughts? I understand that it’s what I feel comfortable in. But I have never ran in men’s tights before so I can’t compare. I have been looking to see what other runners are wearing and they all seem to have tights with a similar top to the one I have been looking at.


I only ever wear long sleeves when it’s below zero. I run warm. Sometimes a lightweight long sleeve running jacket over if it’s raining maybe.

So, I have a long sleeve wicking base layer for cold runs.Then if I need another layer I add a wicking short sleeve tshirt or vest over the top.

Leggings with shorts over for manhood modesty I would suggest.....Which means you could wear the shorts without the leggings , and the tshirt or vest without the base layer in warmer weather.

Be careful with do not want anything that chaffs.

Leggings with draw string and a zip pocket for keys etc.


Thanks for all of your replies they have been really helpful. Today I went to Aldi and Lidl and bought some tights a short sleeve shirt and a fully zipped long sleeve one for the cold mornings/evenings. I have just completed week 1 run 3 in my new gear with some shorts over the top of the tights. I believe This has helped my run as it all feels so much lighter , breathable and dry. Thanks once again for all of your input. Looking forward to W2 R1


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