There aren’t many theatrics to running. All you need is a pair of sneakers and you’re off, right?
The Forrest Gump approach might work in the movies, but in reality, a beard and a trucker hat may not be on your wish list of accessories to help you cross the finish line. That’s not to say they wouldn’t help you look amazing, though.
Anyway, finisher medals are cool, but we runners need more than a carrot at the end of a stick (a beer, maybe?) to help us get past “the wall.” That’s why we’ve come up with eleven essentials that might be more your speed.
1. A sneaker that fits, and quality athletic socks.
It might seem obvious, but sporting the proper shoe is imperative to injury prevention, so regardless of the brand, make sure your choice matches the pronation of your foot.
2. A portable water source, and there’s plenty out there
Choose between a handheld water bottle, a hydration backpack or a water bottle belt pack. You can pretend they are jet packs to light some fire under your toes toward the finish line.
3. An arm band or wrist wallet
Don’t know what to do with your hands? This isn’t Talladega Nights, but chances are you’d rather not clutch your phone, ID or money with your sweaty palm for lord knows how many miles.
4. A fanny pack or SPIbelt
Not only are these items helpful kangaroo pouches, they’ll help you bring back the nineties, and who doesn’t want it that way?
5. Body Glide
if you’re fancy, Vaseline if you’re in a pinch, Icy Hot when you’re hurt. Think prevention and restoration. Nobody likes a rug burn on the run or between the toes. Blisters and chafing are a thing – tight hamstrings don’t have to be.
6. Lip balm and sweat-resistant SPF
Ouch – the only thing worse than sore calves is scorched skin that gives the color of your lobster dinner a run for its money.
7. Sweat-resistant apparel
Cotton work-out clothes might be cute in theory but in reality they’re going to ride up your butt, stick to your skin and make you feel like it’s the end of the world as you know it. You probably won’t feel fine about it, either.
There’s plenty of ways to run to the beat of your own drum, but the Mighty is a tiny device that clips to your clothing and plays Spotify music offline, freeing up those hands for limitless high-fives to random strangers in the woods.
9. A hat, headband and/or sunglasses.
Keep those loose strands of hair in place and the glare out of your eyes as you drag yourself up the next hill. Are those drops of sweat or tears of agony? Nobody has to know, Hollywood, you’re in disguise.
10. Reflective gear
These safety tools are especially important if you beat the sunrise in the morning or enjoy an evening run through the neighborhood.
11. Recovery tools
This could be a foam roller, stretching strap or yoga therapy balls. Don’t forget to loosen up with a massage stick. If you think you have time for a run and you don’t have time to stretch, you’re kidding yourself, and you’re missing out on the comfort these items will bring you before bedtime.
It’s not easy putting in all of those miles, but it can be fun – especially when you’ve got these cool accessories keeping safe, comfortable and triumphantly happy to be a runner.