When training for a marathon, the right pair of shorts are almost as important as the right running shoes! There are lots of fits, fabrics and features (not to mention colors!) to choose from when it comes to running shorts. But, when training for or running a marathon (or just long runs), there are very specific things I look for in a pair of shorts that can go the (26.2.) distance. Today, I’m sharing the best women’s running shorts for a marathon.
Alright, let’s get into some of my picks for running shorts for women!
The Lululemon Fast & Free 6″ shorts check every must-have box for me. I first got hooked on the Fast & Free leggings when training for the 2018 and 2019 Boston Marathon, so when they rolled out the shorts, I snatched up a pair. They’re, naturally, like short tights style shorts with the perfect range of motion, but keep me cooler for warmer days or longer runs. (Keeping your core warm is the most important thing for even cold running, so you’ll see me in this vest when it’s 35-45 degrees.) And they’re perfect for chafe free running.
Similar to the leggings, the shorts have lots of storage for gels and a pocket to hold my phone without bouncing. The wide, flat waistband never digs in. I like the 6″ inseam best since it really protects against chafing without being too long or too short. I also love that these are high waisted and super high quality.
Just a heads up that these will feel VERY tight when you first pull them on, but they do fit true to size with my usual Lululemon bottoms size (I wear a 4). The main thing is to make sure the waistband isn’t sagging or digging in. It should be comfortable. These have not stretched over over time, at all, and I’ve had multiple pair and run hundreds of miles in each so I wouldn’t size down either!
These shorts feature everything I need:
Oiselle makes a similar pair, the Pocket Jogger Shorts (more on those below). In short, the fabric is much thicker and can get quite hot if you’re running in the warmer months. They also don’t stay as dry as the Lululemon Fast & Free shorts. (I did, however, much prefer the Oiselle Pocket Jogger Shorts while running during pregnancy since the waistband has more give to it!)
I wore this pair of shorts for the 2019 Boston Marathon. They’re very similar to the Lululemon Fast & Free shorts in terms of features, but the material is slightly heavier and doesn’t have a zip pocket, which is why it is my second pick.
I wore these shorts for the 2018 Boston Marathon in the the longer 5″ inseam to prevent chafing in a torrential rainstorm. But, I don’t love where the pockets are placed (closer to the front), so I still had to carry my gels in a Spibelt, which is cumbersome to mess with mid-run. I wish instead they had a back waistband pocket. Remember those Nike Tempo shorts everyone had for years? These are like the grown up version.
The OG Distance Shorts from Oiselle are similar to the Lululemon Track That short. They both have wide elasticated waistbands, but I like the Lululemon Track That shorts a bit more for the 5″ inseam.
I discovered this pair last summer and fell in love with them. I like them better than the Lululemon pair below, and ended up getting a few more pairs once I tried them on. They’re a great 4″ length, and they do have zip pockets. But I don’t love where the pockets are placed, so that’s the only downside. I haven’t run long races in these, but I’d imagine they’re great since I wear them for daily runs every week. They’re a blend of recycled polyester and spandex. I typically wear a 4 in Lululemon shorts, and I wear an XS in these for reference.
These shorts are classic for a reason! They’re lightweight, flattering and come in multiple inseams and rises. The downside is that they don’t have much storage for GUs without side pockets. But if you use gels provided on the course, it may not be a big deal for you.
These shorts are really great and similar to the Lululemon Speed Up Short. They come in a variety of lengths, styles and patterns.
They also have a Toolbelt Roga option which I think would probably be a GREAT option for marathons with lots of storage. I haven’t tried them so I can’t personally vouch for them!
I love these as well, but they are heavier than the Lululemon Fast & Free and stretch out more overtime. They are compression shorts, but don’t feel nearly as tight as the Fast & Free. I wore these a lot during my first trimester of pregnancy running since they had more give in the waistband than the Fast & Free shorts. I can wear both a size 2 and a size 4 in the pocket joggers so if you like a slightly looser fit, size up.
Do you have a favorite pair of running shorts for races or marathons specifically?
Shop the Post
Leave a Comment
One response to “Best Women’s Running Shorts for Marathon”
Thank you for these recommendations. Just a heads up, most of the Lululemon prices have gone up about 20% (almost all of its shorts now start at $68).