I’ve run marathons, half marathons, 5Ks, and everything in between. During those many miles, (and by learning the hard way myself) I discovered the few items I just can’t run without!
Here’s a list of my favorite running gear––my absolutely necessary, can’t run without must-haves––so you can avoid learning the hard way (get these on your Christmas list now friends!):
1. A moisture-wicking hat.
Running gets annoying if you have sun and sweat in your eyes, so I never run without a hat.Ladies, you also don’t have to think as much about how you’ll wear your hair because it’ll be under your hat! Make sure you wear one that’s made of breathable material.
2. BodyGlide or Vaseline.
Nobody wants chafing to ruin their race. Use BodyGlide and/or vaseline to help reduce the friction and keep everything comfortable during your race. Extra note: if it’s raining during your race, be sure to put this stuff everywhere and wear tighter clothing. Trust me on that one––it’s saved me in more than one rainy race.
3. A fuel belt and running fuel.
Wearing a fuel belt is an easy way to store whatever food you eat during a long run, your keys/ID, and your phone. Be sure to practice wearing one during your training runs to make sure you have the right one for you; you don’t want to try it out on race day and then spend 13.1 miles managing a belt that’s riding up! For fuel, it should be something you’ve tested on multiple runs prior to race day to ensure it sits well in your stomach. And on those hot days, I usually bring some tiny salt packets and Cal-EZ packets to replenish the salt and calcium lost through excessive sweat.
4. Tried and true shoes and socks.
Don’t buy a new pair of shoes at the expo and wear them in your race just because they’re new and cute, even if they are your normal brand/style of shoes. Wear a pair of shoes you’ve used during multiple shorter training runs, and at least one or two long runs, to ensure they’re broken into and don’t cause any foot pain.
5. Music that motivates you.
Some runners may disagree with me on this one but, during those last really tough mental miles, music personally keeps my mind focused and my body energized. There’s just nothing quite like listening to some good tunes (my playlist always has some good Bon Jovi) during the last 20 minutes of running to get you to that finish line!
6. GPS watch (optional).
Only sometimes do I use a GPS watch. In a race, the distances are marked and there are timers throughout the race, so really you don’t need it then. That being said, using a watch can help you monitor your pace whenever you want to make sure you aren’t running too fast or too slow. Here’s a post from Women’s Running on the best running watches in case you need some help finding one!
What am I missing? What are your workout or running gear must-haves? Let us know in the comments!