When I think back to when I first started running (almost 11 years ago now), I often wonder how I kept up my hobby without some of the essential tools I now have.
I’m sure there are things I’m still missing but below is my list of necessities as a runner:
- Foam Roller – This guy will be your worst enemy and your best friend. Use it anywhere you have muscle tightness/soreness and it will really help to massage out those hard to get places (I use it most frequently along my IT band, from my knee all the way up to my hip).
- Hydration Belt, Water Bottle, Camelback – Every runner knows the importance of hydration. It’s important to be prepared when going on longer runs (I take my hydration belt on runs longer than 5 miles and my Camelback that holds 70 oz on runs longer than 10 miles). Everyone’s different so decide what works best for you in terms of when to take water and how much to take.
- GPS Tracking – Some may put this at the top of the list, some may put it at the bottom of the list. Since I am much more interested in running based on how I feel than relying on numbers, some form of tracking can still be very important.
- Resistance Bands – Veteran runners have all had their share of injuries. Nothing is more disappointing than injuring yourself during race training. One of the most common mistakes new runners make is neglecting strength training when increasing mileage. Even if strength training isn’t your favorite form of exercise, it is absolutely necessary. Resistance bands can be used in so many different ways, to stretch and strengthen so many parts of your body. A plus? They are extremely easy to travel with.
- Body Glide – It only takes a few good long runs for a runner to realize that they have to do something to prevent that awful chafing. I have tried out a couple of different things and the one that works best for me is the deodorant-looking stick of “Body Glide”. I have also heard that Vaseline works well. Directions? Before a long run, apply generously everywhere.
- Sweaty Bandz/Good Hair Ties – This is obviously a necessary for runners with long hair only. Nothing is more annoying than having a loose bun bouncing on your head for 10+ miles or dripping strands of hair poking you in the eyes. Take care of that.
- Run ID Bracelet – Smartphones can die, ID’s can slip out of your pocket, and even when carrying those as a safety precaution, if you pass out or get hit by a car, chances are the person that helps you isn’t going to know exactly who to call. My husband gave me a Run ID bracelet for Christmas last year. Fortunately I have never had to use it, but knowing that both his and my mom’s phone numbers are right there on my list along with “NKA” (no known allergies), makes me feel so much safer when going out for those long runs alone.
- Thicker Socks – These are not necessary for all runs, but if you’re feet are feeling extra sore/blistered, thicker socks can be a godsend.
What am I missing out on that you fellow runners out there use?