3 Tips for Your First Color Run

2.3K Flares 2.3K Flares ×

The Color Run - Happiest 5k Run

Tips for The Color Run from Kam of Campfire Chic

After doing my second The Color Run on Saturday and seeing how many people around me weren’t sure what exactly what to expect, I thought it would be helpful to post a few tips for doing your first color run.

What do I keep saying “doing” instead of “running”?

I’m going to be straight with you: there are more walkers than runners at these kinds of events, and that’s perfectly OK! You don’t need to do any sort of hardcore training, but be sure that you are able to comfortably walk three miles before race day.

Tips for Your First Color Run

The Color Run OC 2013

Get excited

Dear crabbypants of the world: do not sign up for a fun run like this if you are not in the mood to deal with people, loud music, strangers throwing things at you, crowds, more loud music, dancing, or general shenanigans. Just don’t. This is a FUN event, you’ll find people running around greeting friends, see people dressed up in all sorts of crazy colors, and maybe even find yourself dancing at the finish line. Get into the mood, step into character, get excited.


Tips for The Color Run

Cover your camera/phone

Here’s a good question, “how do you get the color on you?” The answer: Volunteers throw colored corn starch (according to the Color Run website, it says that the 100% food grade corn starch is safe) at you as you run through each kilometer station. It doesn’t hurt…unless you fall and some rouge friend of yours tramples you…and you are given at least one packet of “color” in your registration packet so you can always apply it yourself.

Now, there is this colored dust/stuff being thrown at you…is it safe for your camera or phone? I’m going to give you a bit of a hint: if you’re not willing to buy a waterproof disposable camera, I’m going to suggest putting your phone/camera in a Ziploc-type bag and making sure it is closed. I did that for The Color Run last year and the photos turned out fine. This time around, I used my Lifeproof case and it worked perfectly! No damage to my phone from the dust flying in the air

I highly suggest getting a Lifeproof Case for your cellphone if you are going to do The Color Run — The photos will turn out MUCH better than if you use the baggie method and you’ll be able to actually use your phone while you’re there. I use my LifeProof Case 95% of the time to keep it protected from water, falls, cold, sand…you name it! Buy your LifeProof Case from Amazon.

Advice for the Color Run from Kam of Campfire Chic

Bring baby wipes and tissues

…and a beach towel for your car when you’re done. Here’s the thing…this is a messy run. It’s not going to be pretty when you’re done and you walk back to your car…so let’s think of this time as Color Run Tailgating! To prepare for the return to the real world, be sure to pack some baby wipes (get a bunch from the travel section of Target or splurge a bit and get the bigger back from the baby section), a box of tissues, and a beach towel or large sheet.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is cover your car seats before you even start the race. Yes, you’re excited (see tip #1) but a little bit of preparation now is going to be totally worth it. Use beach towels or large sheets to cover your seats.

When you get back to your car is blow your nose. Expect “unicorn boogers” because you’re going to see all sorts of color on your tissues when you’re done. Keep blowing.

Next: use the baby wipes…and check under your shirt…and if you’re changing shoes, check under your socks. Yeah, the color gets everywhere. Keep wiping.


Other than that, have fun! Take lots of photos, maybe even some video, and make it an event to remember.

 You can find out if The Color Run is coming to a city near year on their website and read about my previous experience in this post.

Have you done a Color Run?

What advice would you give to first time “fun runners”?

Electric Run

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com and The Color Run. I (Kam) am an Amazon Affiliate and may receive compensation for purchases made through links to Amazon.com on this site. Shopping through these links supports Campfire Chic at no extra cost to you, so feel free to start shopping. For more information, please refer to the disclosure policy and privacy policy for this site.

2.3K Flares Twitter 0 Pin It Share 2.3K Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Buffer 7 2.3K Flares ×

Active Adventure From a Beginner Microadventure

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Toni-Louise May 13, 2013, 5:45 am

    This looks like so much fun, I wish we had something like this over in England!! Great photos, really captured the event perfectly. :) xx


  • Sara May 13, 2013, 12:26 pm

    This is great! Now I might have to sign up for a colour run :)

  • Aurora May 13, 2013, 5:36 pm

    Thanks for posting this! The color run will be my first 5k and I’m super excited for it!

  • MargaretAnn May 13, 2013, 6:40 pm

    I did my first Color Run this year with my niece… we totally had a blast! I can’t wait to do it again next year!! And I can’t agree with you more, Kam, about covering the car seats before you head out to the race. It really saved us a lot of grief when we got back to the parking lot.

    My advice for first time runners:
    *If you forget to get baby wipes (like me!), put a wet wash cloth in a ziploc bag along with an extra bottle of water and leave it in your car. Wipe, rinse and repeat. This also works well for cleaning your fingers, face, ears and toes after.
    *Avoid anyone along the course who is spraying wet color or water… it will make all your pretty color powder turn gray!
    *Stay for at least one “color throw” after you cross the finish line. Yes, it gets in your hair and your mouth and down your shirt, but it’s so much fun you won’t mind it too much.
    *Before you leave, stand back from the crowd and take a photo of a color throw (they usually do this several times as people come across the finish line). It makes a great title photo for your scrapbook!
    *If you can, keep your color on and go somewhere fun for lunch after, preferably with other Color Runners (just make sure it’s somewhere you know they won’t mind if you’re all decked out in a rainbow of powder!) The smiles and laughs from other patrons as you parade in and out will make their day, and yours too!
    Most of all – HAVE FUN!

    • Kam May 23, 2013, 10:12 pm

      These are AWESOME tips! thanks for sharing!

  • Megan May 13, 2013, 10:57 pm

    Last year, the Color Run was my first ever 5k – and now I’m going to be doing a half marathon on Sunday (eek!). It was a great first “race” because it was just plain fun, no competitiveness at all. We barely ran…it was more of a skip/frolic/run ahead to get photos of each other getting color bombed/dance sort of event. It’s silly, its messy, its totally worth it.

    • Kam May 23, 2013, 10:12 pm

      I hope your half marathon went well, I bet you were more focused on running than people usually are during a Color Run ;)

  • Laura May 14, 2013, 4:10 am

    Thanks for these tips Kam, I’m looking into either an iPhone case like you mentioned or picking up a cheap waterproof camera, they’re both about the same price! I’m doing London with a group of friends and we can’t wait for it :) Apparently if you spray your shirt with hairspray and then iron it all the colour stays on, we’re planning to tape our names on our shirts so when it’s all done we can reveal our non coloured in names!

    • Kam May 23, 2013, 10:13 pm

      I’m SO excited for you to do this run! The case still has a bit of color in some places, but at least my phone was safe ;)

    • Juli June 15, 2013, 5:50 pm

      Thanks for the tip! Do you put hairspray on before the color or after? Then when do you iron?

      • Kam June 18, 2013, 9:49 pm

        Hi Juli, I hope you got my email :)

        I haven’t done it yet (gross, I know) but you lightly spray hairspray AFTER the run and then iron. The hairspray creates a seal :)

        • Alaura August 20, 2013, 2:44 pm

          Have you done the hairspray thing yet?? I want to know how it works! My friend and I did a run this past weekend and we tried the vinegar and iron thing on our husbands shirts and it didn’t really work. Looking for more tips! :-)

          • Stephanie August 31, 2013, 8:25 pm

            I was told to use spray adhesive and let dry. Unlike hairspray, it is water-proof. We will be doing Color Me Rad 5k next weekend, so I will let you know! :)

            • Julie June 9, 2014, 2:37 pm

              Stephanie, did you try the spray adhesive and if so did it work. I am doing my first color run June 28th, 2014 and would love to know if it worked.

              • Kam June 13, 2014, 10:36 pm

                I may do another one soon, Julie. I’ll try to do a better job of testing the different recommendations.

                Washing the shirt after letting it sit for a few days leaves the shirt slightly tinted, but not as bright as when you’re at the event. My suggestion is to avoid the blue, it ends up more of a gray color.

  • Lanette July 6, 2013, 6:54 am

    Great tips!!! I will be participating in my first color run tomorrow and these bits of advice will surely be helpful. Thanks! :D

  • Alejandra August 17, 2013, 4:03 pm

    Great tips! I’m exited for my first color run with my little sister. My sister keeps asking if they are going to be seeling merchandise at The Color Run location. I know theirs a website but can you buy bandanas, sunglasses, shirts, etc. the day of the event? Thanks.

    • Kam September 3, 2013, 11:40 pm

      Yes! But go early because they may sell out before the second heat of the day :)

      Sweatshirts, tanks, fannypacks, bracelets, everything!

  • Angie August 21, 2013, 9:57 am

    I’ll be doing my first color run in Perth in November and going alone since I don’t have many friends who like to run so a bit nervous about it. Do you see some people going on their own at this event? I hope there will be some friendly people around! Either way I’m psyched for it! :D Your post got me super excited!

    • Kam September 3, 2013, 11:40 pm

      Totally! It’s a big party, so get excited! Also: 90% of people walk, so if your friends want to join, there is that little fact ;)

  • Jessica August 21, 2013, 8:21 pm

    I’m doing my first color run on sept 7th which is my last day of summer b4 school starts great way to end a wonderful sumer SO EXCITED

    • Kam August 28, 2013, 7:38 am

      Your run is coming up soon, hope you’re ready!

  • Brandi.w September 3, 2013, 11:08 pm

    Doing a color run this Saturday September 7th with my very blonde daughter, any ideas on how to protect her hair from permanently dis coloring her hair? Super excited! It’s going to be a blast!

    • Kam September 3, 2013, 11:39 pm

      Hi Brandi – In the second photo on this post there is a girl standing with me with blue hair…she is wearing a teal wig! She has beautiful bleached hair and didn’t want to ruin it so she bought an AWESOME wig and was a big hit! I did another run with a bride-to-be (like, the following day) and she wore a hat during the race…not as adorable, but efficient! I heard that putting leave-in conditioner or something like coconut oil into your hair will help the color come out easier – but I’m thinking a wig would be FUN and your daughter could maybe use it again for Halloween!

  • Brandi.W September 4, 2013, 12:07 am

    Any thoughts to using gelatin? I did sycro swimming for years and the gelatin holds hair in place even in water until its washed out with shampoo. i don’t know how it stands up to color but has anyone tried that? Or heavly sprayed hairspray in the hair?

    • Kam September 6, 2013, 3:25 pm

      My thoughts on gelatin: I’m not a fan of using this animal by-product because it’s origins freak me out, but if you aren’t like me, go for it! It sounds like you have experience with it.

      I hear that leave-in conditioner in the hair (so I’m thinking coconut oil may be similar) can help get the color out quickly.

  • Lucy September 6, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Where do I put my phone? Do I hold it as I run or what bag do I take?

    • kam September 6, 2013, 3:23 pm

      I held my phone in my hand for both races – the first time, it was in a sandwich baggie and the second time I had a case that won’t let in dust. Many people wear bum bags (I think that’s what they’re called in the UK – we call them fanny packs here but I think it’s considered rude to say…?) in bright colors or you can usually buy one at the shop they have on-site. Let me know if that helps!

  • Faye September 25, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Thank you so much for the tips! I ran my 1st color run last weekend and this blog was so helpful!!

  • Sophie October 6, 2013, 2:27 am

    Hi, we did the color run in townsville today! It’s soooooo much fun. I was just wondering what the best way would be to keep the colour in our shirts :)

    • Kam October 6, 2013, 12:44 pm

      Based on the comments from previous people, it looks like there are various ways that may work. I haven’t tried any, personally…my shirt is still waiting to be tested.

      • Sophie October 7, 2013, 12:30 am

        Ok, thanks for your help :)

  • Jess Noire October 7, 2013, 10:06 pm

    Hi, thanks so much for these tips! I’m thinking about doing the color run in January as well, I just have one question left: The color is coming out of the clothes when you wash them, right? What about the shoes?? How did you clean them?

    • Kam October 14, 2013, 9:10 pm

      Jess, not sure if my email response went through…I intentionally bought “junk” tennies just in case they were ruined. I threw them in the wash and (stupidly) into the dryer after. I’d suggest not putting them in the dryer…my shoes feel way more snug!

  • Brianna H November 7, 2013, 6:22 am

    Hey! Did anyone bring their baby in a stroller? I can’t find anywhere where there were any regulations regarding that…

    • Andrea November 9, 2013, 9:46 pm

      In the Color Run website FAQs section it says strollers are fine & children under 6 participate for free.

  • Tracy November 10, 2013, 11:25 am

    We are doing our first Color Run on November 17th 2013, in Baltimore Maryland…I am soooooo excited and getting more excited reading all the comments and suggestions everyone is posting…it is a family thing, we have 7 of us going, husband, son and his girlfriend, 2 daughters and our niece and we all can’t wait…hoping it won’t be to cold that day, we actually don’t start our run till 2 so hopefully that will help some!!!

  • Kerri February 8, 2014, 1:11 pm

    My husband and I did our first Run or Dye in 2013. I am by no means a runner. lol It about killed me to run the tiny bit I did. I met my friend and her son at the race also. It was so much fun. I took my iphone (in a ziplock bag) and a waterproof camera. The strap on my camera is permanently miscolored but that’s okay. The cornstarch went through the tiny holes on my shoes and dyed my feet. I still haven’t washed the shoes, only bc I am signed up for The Color Run in April. I know it won’t be that clean so why bother. hehe. This year we are letting our 10 yr old experience this with us. I also enlisted a slower friend to stay back with me while the boys run. I’m super excited. I’ve written down all color races for this year in our area, but I know I will be missing Color Me Radd. Before even going, get ur car ready. Cover with tarps and trash bags….this will be MESSY. We will be trying the baby wipes this race, not sure how effective those will be, but worth a shot. It’s also fun to see the looks on peoples faces when you drive by on your way home.

    • Kam February 11, 2014, 7:48 am

      Sounds great that you’re doing so many versions of the race! The baby wipes work decently, just be sure to have a small bag available for the extra trash :)

  • Brittany February 15, 2014, 12:01 am

    I want to the one coming up in Vegas… Trying to figure out how long I should ask my nanny to stay, it starts at 9am. How long does something like this last?

  • Ally April 25, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Hopefully I’ll be able to do the run in August at NOLA! August in NO is the absolute worst time to be outside, but I’ll mos likely just forget about that with all of the excitement. :) I want to get a team together!

  • Mishell May 2, 2014, 5:53 am

    Awesome advice. doing the DC Color Run tomorrow w/ my sister. We bought white wigs and made our own white tutus! Tks for all the great tips! I’m making a list of stuff to bring/buy/take. Going to take many many many pics!

  • marina June 1, 2014, 8:21 pm

    Hiya! Just did my first color run yesterday. I had a great time , the tips I wish I knew were to buy a pocket sleeve if you need to keep some cash or keys on you. Protect your eyes with fun sunglass or your regular glasses , color will get everwhere! And if you are sensitive to allergens (dust) put a handkerchief around your neck to pull up over your nose and mouth during the color tosses. Have a great time!

  • ava August 7, 2014, 9:46 pm

    how long does the color run typically last? is it a few hours or an entire day thing?

  • Jen October 7, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Pretty upset that my first Color Run was on Sunday and I have bad pictures. I used a zip lock bag as everyone said to do. :( Boo for bad pictures. You can hardly even tell what they are of. I’m hoping my friends pictures are a lot better than mine.

    • Kam October 9, 2014, 10:39 pm

      Hi Jen — I think I emailed you, but just in case: Sorry to hear about the poor photos, it worked for me and a few other people so maybe the dye used at your run was extra-potent that day :) When I used the phone case linked in the post the photos were fantastic and it was super easy to wipe off the lens if I noticed a bit of buildup.

  • Emily December 11, 2014, 9:22 pm

    I threw a color party we hung out at a park near my house threw the colors it was great fun and tips worked well thank you!

  • Lauren mello huck January 5, 2015, 9:46 pm

    I am about to do my first race is there anything in particular I should wear and would this be sade for my kids?

  • Jade smith February 19, 2015, 9:00 pm

    Where would you put your phone during the run?

    • Kam February 21, 2015, 9:51 am

      Hey Jade! I held my phone during the run so I could take photos the whole time. Some people wear hip/waist packs for their belongings, which is super helpful! Let me know if you have more questions :)

  • Shanna March 25, 2015, 11:10 am

    Hi! My first Color Run is coming up in 30 days! I’m so stoked- but I found out I am pregnant after I registered- I’m reading that it’s safe for children, do you think it’ll still be okay for me to go? I certainly hope so! After reading that some people are taking their kids, I may take my 2 yo, too! I think he’d have a blast!

  • Emily May 8, 2015, 1:13 pm

    I haven’t done mine yet so scared I’m only 10 and I’m scared really scared

    • Aria May 19, 2015, 3:51 pm

      Im only 13, 14 Thursday May 21st

  • Aria May 19, 2015, 3:50 pm

    I am doing my first color run this Saturday (today is Tuesday, Im so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • emily December 12, 2015, 7:37 am

    I have done two color runs and these tips are very spot on. I forgot the beach towels for my car when i went, but it was ok. The runs were very exciting and fun, and if you get the chance to go on one, i would definetely recommend them. The money raised at both of the runs i did went towards charity organizations in my area, so a very good cause to contribute to!

  • Jamie December 22, 2015, 7:36 pm

    So just wondering, is there very loud music? And is there loud music playing throughout the run, because I have a little phobia of loud music and I’ve signed up for the night run.

  • grosfillex April 20, 2016, 7:54 am

    In the event you dont like Winston furniture Winston Slat Solid Aluminum Round Patio Eating
    Table, fifty four in. or you need another product with good high
    quality and lower price, we’ve an excellent options for you and that i hope you bought
    your product from that is store and you may come again once more for check a new
    Winston furnishings Winston Slat Solid Aluminum Spherical Patio Dining Desk,
    54 in. or greatest vendor and new release product with lower cost /


Leave a Comment

2.3K Flares Twitter 0 Pin It Share 2.3K Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Buffer 7 2.3K Flares ×