Must-Have Gear for Runners

Must-Have Gear for Runners

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I often get asked by beginner runners what kind of gear they need, other than the right running shoes. One thing I love about running is that you really don't have to have a lot of fancy equipment to get it done. However, there are some cool running gadgets and gear out there that can keep you more comfortable, happy, and injury-free. Here are some of my favorite must-have running items.

Hand-Held Water Bottle

runner with water bottle
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If you've ever tried to run while carrying one of these 16-oz. disposable water bottles in your hand, you know that it's not the easiest or most comfortable way to have access to water on the run. Do yourself a favor and buy one of these hand-held water bottles. They're all very comfortable to carry and even feature little pockets to hold essentials.

Foam Roller

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Many runners I know love their foam rollers, which are cylindrical foam pieces. Using your own body weight and a foam roller, you can perform a self-massage that offers similar benefits as deep-tissue massage such as stretching muscles and tendons, decreasing muscle tension, breaking up trigger points, soothing tight fascia, and increasing blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues. Foam rollers are a convenient, less expensive alternative to professional massages. They're especially helpful for long distance runners who are prone to ITB Syndrome and tight calves or hamstrings.

I'm a big fan of TriggerPoint's GRID foam roller. It's a bit more expensive than a regular foam roller but it's more effective and much more durable. It's hollow in the middle, which means it doesn't take up a lot of room in a suitcase or gym bag (since you can stuff clothes or other items in it!)

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Body Glide

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One thing that runners learn the hard way is that you may chafe. And it hurts. But a very simple way to avoid the pain is to apply a little BodyGlide before your runs. It's a lubricant that's designed to prevent chafing and/or blisters in vulnerable areas, such as your feet, inner thighs, sports bra lines, and underarms. Made with plant-derived ingredients, BodyGlide comes in a stick and is applied like a deodorant, leaving no sticky, oily or powdery mess.

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Running Belt

runner with belt
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Whether you're doing a training run or participating in a race, you probably need a place to stash items such as your phone, money, keys, and food. Running belts are a perfect way to carry your stuff. They fit snugly around your waist and fit your necessities, without being too bulky.

Best Running Belts

Hand Warmers

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Hand warmers are obviously a seasonal "must-have" item (and may not apply at all if you live in a warm climate year-round), but once you've used them on a cold run, you may never want to do another frigid run without them. Just stick them inside your gloves (or running shoes if your toes need warming) to get your hands nice and toasty.

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Running Sunglasses

runners wearing sunglasses

Wearing a good pair of running sunglasses during a sunny run can make a huge difference. Not only will your eyes be protected from harmful UV rays, but you'll also avoid squinting (which can lead to headaches during and after running) and you'll be able to see where you're going. Here are some excellent choices for comfortable and high-quality running sunglasses.

Running Hat

runner with hat
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A running hat with a brim comes in handy during all kinds of weather. If it's raining, it will keep the rain off your face. If it's cold, a hat helps keep you warm by trapping heat on your head. Running hats can also protect your face from the sun.

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