When it comes to half marathon training, the most important thing you can do for yourself is buy a pair of running shoes that fit you well and that are right for your run. But besides some good kicks, there are so many other pieces of essential running gear out there that can benefit you before, during, and after your run.
As a running newbie, I was hesitant to invest in many training accessories, as I never really knew when I’d get sick of the whole running thing. But after completing my first half marathon, I could no longer deny that the running bug had bit me hard. I soon found myself spending hours wandering the aisles of my local running and sporting goods stores, and spending my hard earned cash on moisture wicking running socks and foam rollers.
And as I trained for half marathon after half marathon, I learned that buying the right pieces to help you prepare for, endure, and recover from a longer training run were key to better and happier performance.
Now, when I pack my bag or get ready before heading out the door to put in some mileage, I make sure to bring a few pieces of essential running gear so that I can thrive while training.
When I run by myself or hit the treadmill, a good playlist is everything. My Apple EarPods work well for the shape of my ears and allow me to listen to the beats that keep me moving for miles.
Insulated Water Bottle
If I drive to a trailhead for a run, I always keep this Takeya Insulated Stainless Steel bottle (filled with water, of course) in the car to sip on pre-run and enjoy post-run when hydration is critical. It keeps my water cold for hours and hours, so even if it the bottle sits in a hot car for two or more hours, your precious water will remain just as cool and crisp as when you filled it.
ShowerPill Body Wipes
These body wipes are literally my favorite thing ever. If you’re a girl (or dude) on the go, with a full day’s worth of plans after a long Saturday morning run, use one of these bad boys in lieu of a full shower and you’ll feel fresh as can be. The wipes themselves are super durable, large in size, and kill stinky germs without feeling too harsh on my skin.
Momentum Motivate Wraps
Okay, so Momentum Motivate Wraps aren’t necessarily “essential” for every runner, but I love wearing them when I run a longer distance and fatigue or mental exhaustion is likely. All I have to do is look down at my wrist and she “she is strong” to keep killing my run and make it to the end with confidence.
For years I ran with my iPhone in my hand. But then I bought a SPIbelt, started placing it in the zippered pouch instead, and my life changed. I found out that I could run so much more efficiently without my stride being hindered by holding a phone. Plus, this nifty piece of running gear can also carry my ID, keys, or anything else. The best part? It really does stay put and doesn’t bother me one bit while running.
Okay, okay, I normally don’t advocate for ingesting packets of sugar. But when running double digit distances, I always have one of these at some point in the run for carbohydrate supplementation. I’ve trained for a half marathon on a Whole30, opting for mushed up banana instead, but, for me, energy gels are the most convenient way to deliver glycogen while running longer distances.
Fitness Tracker/Smart Watch
I use the Nike+ Running App on my Apple Watch to track my mileage. While the app can be glitchy, it’s just so easy to look down at my watch and see my distance, pace, and run time, and I use it for every single run.
If you’re going to be outside in the sun for a while, protect your skin with sunscreen and your eyes with a pair of sunglasses. I got mine for free after running a 10K, but I love them because they stay on my face while running and my bank account won’t shed a tear if I ever lose or break them.
When I’m kinda lagging on energy, I pop a Nuun Energy tablet into my water. These guys have electrolytes and caffeine, are great for alleviating post-run cramps, and they don’t taste overly sugary. My favorite flavor is Cherry Limeade.