14 Running Accessories I Swear By During Marathon Training – SELF

14 Running Accessories I Swear By During Marathon Training  SELF

You need more than good sneakers to comfortably log 10+ miles. Here are the running accessories I used to make my marathon training so successful.

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.


, $45

I normally despise holding anything while I run, but this water bottle comfortably stays wrapped around either hand thanks to stretchy elastic straps. Plus, the black zip pocket is perfect for holding snacks.

Buy it here: $45;

, $8

Since my training started back in the heat of summer, I got in the habit of slathering this ALL over my body beforehand, and then also carrying it with me for any midrun emergencies. It has saved me from many, many blisters and bad sports bra and legging chafage.

Buy it here: $10; or

Body Glide

, $400

Having something that was constantly tracking my every movement during training was really important to me. Being a first-time marathoner, I rely on my tracker to keep my pacing and heart rate in the right spots during various types of training runs. The newest Apple watch with GPS and cellular (so I can make calls even if my phone dies) is a nice comfort to have on my wrist at all times.

Buy it here: $400;


, $29

Like I said, I hate having to carry anything while I’m running. This FlipBelt is my preferred method for toting all my stuff. It sits right around the waistband of my shorts or leggings, and I can carry my phone, Chapstick, MetroCard, Body Glide, and credit card without having it all bounce around through 10 or 20 miles.

Buy it here: $29;

Chap Stick

, $5

For whatever reason, my lips always end up chapped midrun, so I always take care to pack lip balm in my FlipBelt. I’ve been loving this hydrating vanilla flavored ChapStick recently.

Buy it here: $5;


, $20

In an effort to fit in all my training runs amid travel, I’ve sometimes had to do my long runs after work during the week. Reflective gear—particularly this vest—helped me stay safe during a Thursday-night 13-mile run.

Buy it here: $20;

, $55

Sunglasses that won’t slip when running were a must-have during particularly sunny (and sweaty) runs. I love this pair because I can wear them around town, too.

Buy it here: $55; or

Griffin Technology

, $40

This reflective armband works double-duty on night runs. The combo of the neon coloring and flashing lights option makes it a great reflective piece; plus, it holds my phone so I can save room for other essentials in my FuelBelt.

Buy here: $40;


, $20

It’s easy to slip on this adjustable snap-closure belt—which is also deceivingly roomy. I stuff it with tissues, snacks, and even keys. On days when my FlipBelt is busy visiting the washing machine, I swap this in and carry my phone with my armband.

Buy it here: $20;

Honey Stinger

, $2.30

Eating regularly throughout a long-distance run is very important (the simple reason is that you need fuel to have the energy to keep going). After testing many types of energy chews, gels, and candies, and seeing which ones tasted great and sat well with my stomach, I found I’m partial to gummies, especially in fruit flavors.

Buy it here: $2.30;


, $279

Another watch I’ve been particularly fond of during training is this tracker from Suunto. It’s my go-to for any run longer than 10 miles because I know the battery will last.

Buy it here: $279;

Sweaty Betty

, $30

While I feel like I got pretty lucky during the summer with beautiful weather, when it did rain, I threw on a hat to keep my face dry. This all-black one matches everything, and has an elastic strap so it doesn’t get caught in your hair like velcro.

Buy it here: $30;

Bradley Hart / CALIA

, $12

Having a strong arsenal of headbands is important when you’re logging upwards of 20 miles a week. They’re great for both keeping hair from falling in your face and salvaging your ‘do after all the sweating. If I try to sneak out during lunch for a quick run, using a headband helps me not look like a hot mess when I get back to work.

Buy it here: $12;


, $159

It took me a long time to get on the Bluetooth headphones train. I was convinced over-ear headphones were my best bet until I tried these. They don’t fall out of my ears, and the battery life has lasted me through all my long runs. Plus, the charging case is so small, I can stick it in my Flipbelt, just in case.

Buy it here: $159;