As the song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And not because of the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year because we aren’t running in triple-digit temperatures, people! It’s December! Time to bust out the running tights and toques!
Okay, fine, some of us are excited about the holidays, too — and all of the associated traditions, including holiday-themed races. By December, many of us are done with fall marathon training or school cross-country seasons and are ready for the relaxed fun of a holiday 5K. Some runners even use them as an excuse to go all out and dress for the occasion.
(Exhibit A being the image above. In 2015, I wore my Run Santa shirt, tall striped socks, and a determined face to eke out a third place age group finish at Fresno’s Jingle Bell Run.)
So, what should you wear for a holiday race like the Jingle Bell Run on December 9? Here are some of Fresno Runner’s top picks.
INKnBURN Holiday Sweater tech shirt
If you want to go for that matching family vibe, this long-sleeved tech shirt one comes in men’s, women’s, and kid’s sizes. INKnBURN releases a new holiday design each year; this year’s “sweater” is festooned with mistletoe, gingerbread, and snowflakes. The company has already taken pre-orders but always produces extra, so if you create an account on its website and sign up for the newsletter you’ll be among the first to know when they become available to order. (Word on the street is they always sell out in a day or two, so go ahead and sign up for that newsletter now if you want to make sure you snag one!)
K-Deer striped leggings
I typically wear my K-Deer leggings, which are available in a variety of different stripes, for yoga or indoor cycling. But come December, my Jennifer Stripe leggings are the perfect complement to my Run Santa shirt. The black and gray striped leggings have a pop of red that makes them festive, but not over the top. If you want to avoid the Christmas association altogether (perhaps you celebrate Chanukah) the Kristin Stripe may be more your speed. The leggings are available in three lengths in sizes XS to 4XL, and 5% of every purchase of striped leggings from this female-owned company are given back to specific charitable organizations.
Sparkle Athletic skirts
Ever run in a skirt? If not, this may be the time to start. Because Sparkle Athletic, best known for its colorful, sparkly running skirts, has an entire Christmas line that includes this fantastic Christmas plaid skirt. The company also has matching tanks, arm sleeves, “race legs,” and shoe poms.
A few years ago, I was perhaps a half mile away from finishing the Jingle Bell Run when I was passed by a person wearing pajamas. Pajamas. The lesson here is that speed — and sleep — need not be sacrificed in the name of fashion. While perhaps not the most aerodynamic race apparel, if you choose Christmas pajamas you can literally get out of bed, race, and go back to bed. I am not wearing pajamas to a race but hey, you do you. These pants — and similar styles — are available at Old Navy.
Socks, socks, and more socks
Maybe you prefer to be a little more understated in your holiday spirit. Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, the perfect pair of socks is all you need. I bought my red and white striped socks (visible in the header image of this post) at Target years ago, and they usually carry similar styles at this time of year. Stance also has a variety of holiday-themed socks. I like the Slay Ride style for women and the Unit 32 for men.
A hat will keep your head warm on a cold race day. Keep it simple with a red beanie. Light it up with a LED-equipped snowman hat. Be the Grinch. If you are the crafty type, knit or crochet your own. Etsy has a really lovely selection of downloadable patterns.
If you’re running Fresno’s Jingle Bell Run, you don’t have to spend additional money on holiday gear. Your entry fee includes a Christmas-themed race sweatshirt and jingle bells that you’ll receive at packet pickup. And, if you donate a toy to Toys for Tots, they’ll throw in a free Santa hat.
*This post includes affiliate links to Amazon and K-Deer. Fresno Runner earns a small commission — at no cost to you — when you purchase products via these links.