Graphic by Cristina Cianci
One of the greatest things about running is that all you really need is a pair of sneakers. If you’ve never run before, you don’t need to make a huge investment to get started. The one thing I didn’t realize until I started training for a marathon, though, is that when you start training to run longer distances (a half marathon, full marathon, or even an ultramarathon), you end up actually needing a lot of stuff. Water bottles, snacks, and Body Glide are just the beginning.
I’ve finished countless 5Ks and five half marathons, so when I started training for my first marathon (the New York City Marathon on November 5!) I thought I was all set gear-wise. When training for shorter races, I normally just grab an armband for my phone and hit the road. But once my weekly long runs started to creep above 10 miles, I realized I needed to keep water and snacks with me to fuel properly throughout.
It wasn’t as easy as simply hitting up my local running store and grabbing whatever was on sale. Eating something new on race day can seriously cramp your style (and your stomach), so it was important to do some trial and error to find the right on-the-go fuel that agreed with my body. I had to test out what food would work for me on race day (so I wasn’t just winging it the day of) and then I had to drink water with the highly concentrated (read: sugary) snacks or else my stomach would totally cramp up. While I tried to keep all my runs near locations with water fountains, I couldn’t always predict that—or worse, the fountains I relied on would often be broken.
Then I started to test what apparel I was going to run in. What worked for me on shorter distances wouldn’t necessarily carry me 10-plus miles without chafing. (After learning this the hard way, I also made sure to get some Body Glide.) Add in any inclement weather or nighttime runs, and all of a sudden I found myself with a drawer full of gear.
Here are the 14 running accessories that drawer is filled with. Hundreds of miles later, I can confidently say they’re completely worth the investment if you want to make training for a long race feel as good as possible. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, but these pieces are a good place to start as you begin your long-distance training.