Top Ten Tips for Running in Fancy Dress

Wednesday night I ran a 10-mile trail run dressed as a giant raccoon – it was hilarious and great fun but my costume inhibited me slightly and I did run into quite a few trees, including at one point hitting a branch so hard that I was knocked to the floor! I’ve done loads of runs in costume and to date my fastest official marathon is a 3:47 while dressed as an elephant so I thought I’d share some tips in case any of you guys are thinking about trying it:

  • Check your vision – the best costumes allow you to see properly! Really think about periphery vision too, if you get it wrong it makes it much harder and you bash into a lot of things / people!
  • Mouth – don’t obstruct your mouth if possible – it makes I so much harder to breather and take on fluids
  • Carry water – preferably in a reservoir with a pipe. This may sound counter intuitive as its more weight but if you are sweating more then you really need to concentrate on fluids
  • Carry salts – make sure you have something to replace the lost electrolytes – you will sweat a lot more than usual in these things
  • Practice in the outfit – ok so people are going to laugh at you but who cares! This is just like any other race – the more you prepare in race conditions, the better you will do
  • Use Vaseline – the costumes will usually rub or pull in places that you aren’t used to – Vaseline stops it hurting too much
  • Wear your usual running footwear – whatever the costume it’s still a running event so don’t fancy dress your feet if you can help it
  • Base layers – some costumes are pretty cheap material so can cause skin irritation – base layers help
  • Have your name or character name visible – some of the shout outs from the crowd are hilarious but if people can’t work out what you are then the shout outs become more original and more of a boost
  • Interact with the crowd and other runners – don’t just trudge around feeling miserable. Running in a costume can be really hard but can also be brilliant fun – take your time and enjoy it, banter with everyone on the way round and it’ll give you a boost

If you’d like to ask me any specific questions then please pm me @raccoonrunner