As a recreational runner, the marathon has always been on my bucket list. After deciding that the year was finally here, I submitted my registration, created a training plan, and started running a few miles on my lap.
When it comes to long distance running, everyone has different training needs. Some people swear by compression tapes, kinesiology tape, or certain vitamins and supplements. While no product will magically move your legs faster or completely eliminate post-race pain, there are products that can help improve your recovery and get you ready for your next run.
If you subscribe to an active lifestyle, you probably already have a few items on hand to start your training, but if you need more ideas, here are 20 products that helped me on my journey to the finish.
For any type of exercise, finding a shoe that provides you with comfort and support is critical. I’m a huge fan of Hoka running shoes, especially since they offer so many wide sizes, I think it fits my feet better. Hoka’s Rincon 3s came into my life when I retired my beloved Clifton 8s after a few weeks of serious training, but I’d happily strap on either one anytime.
$330 Amazon $200
Since marathons are really all about pace, it’s a good idea to use some way to track your runs and cadence, whether it’s handwriting, a smartphone app, or a fitness watch. I like to use a Garmin watch to monitor my pace in real time so I can make sure I don’t burn out prematurely. It’s a bit like having a digital coach on your wrist. Plus, it’s great for tracking all your running stats, including distance, mile splits, and elevation gain, which you can view through Garmin’s smartphone app.
20 dollars From $10 on Amazon
I’ve always been a fan of running caps, but I’m starting to prefer visors because they allow the top of my head to breathe and give me more style options to keep my hair away from the back. This adidas visor does double duty for me. It keeps sweat from my hairline from rolling off my face and gives me extra sun protection.
Outdoor Voices $58
Your clothing should make you feel comfortable and supportive from the beginning to the end of your run. I wear Spyder’s Woven Shorts (which doesn’t seem to be available right now) for all my long runs. But these Hudson 4-inch shorts from Outdoor Voices are very similar. Both are lined, lightweight, have a thick waistband, and have a pocket for keys or gel.
$250 $150 on Amazon
II’ve been rocking my beloved $30 wireless Amazon headphones for a while, but I’ve decided I need to upgrade to something with better battery life, whether it’s game day or training. Since these Powerbeats Pro fit over the ear, they don’t fall out like my old headphones did. In addition to having great sound, they’re also sweat-resistant and have an amazing 9-hour battery life on a full charge.
While hydration is critical during a run, it is also very critical before and after a run. I always like to have a larger 32 or 40 oz water bottle because you can have more water on hand by filling less. Especially before a particularly long or hot run, I make sure to drink at least 32 ounces of water both before departure and when I get home.
$30 From $21 on Amazon
The first few 10+ mile runs did leave me feeling really exhausted, exhausted, and sick at times, so I knew if I wanted to run longer distances, I needed to find a solution. I started adding these Nuun tablets to my post-run hydration routine to get some electrolytes back into my body and help it get back to normal faster. They are super easy to add and also great for refilling before running.
From $45 on Amazon
My training peak happens in the summer, which means I do a lot of sweaty heat runs. Hydration is essential on any day, especially a hot day. This CamelBak bag gives me access to water whenever I need it, and it’s easy to refill at public drinking fountains. Since it sits on your back, you can free your hands and store small items like house keys or energy gels.
I test a lot of different gels and gels before a race to find one that makes me feel good but doesn’t make me gag. This Maurten gel is by far my favorite and the one I use the most on race day. It almost just tastes like sweet, tasteless jelly, and because it’s a bit thick, you can actually chew it (I know it sounds weird) to help break it down and make it easier to get it off. But if you want something really chewable, Gu Neng Chewable is my other option.
Supergoop from $20
Sunscreen is always a must if you’re going to be spending time outdoors, especially in direct sunlight. It’s my daily face sunscreen, but I also love running because I’ve never had any issues stinging my eyes or irritating my skin. And I always make sure to pair it with a sweat-proof sunscreen to protect the rest of my body.
Target price of $7
Obviously, any kind of deodorant is a great idea to get rid of bad odors while working out. Since I love dual-use products, I also use mine as a temporary anti-chafing stick on my thighs and groin when I run in shorts.
$40 $29 at Amazon
Because handwriting always made me feel more likely to do it, I wrote my marathon training plan. This Day Designer planner has been my go-to planner for several years because it has plenty of room to keep track of my work, personal and fitness tasks, and any other training notes or important dates.
From $10 on Amazon
No one in my circle has run a marathon, so I spend most of my time alone. I’m also looking for information everywhere, including at my local bookstore. While this book won’t give you tips and tricks to pass the race, it does give me some comfort in my early workouts and gives me a new appreciation for the trials that accompany running.
Training for a marathon doesn’t just mean you’re just running. You also need to combine resistance training, active rest days, and regular stretching. I use this Lululemon mat, which is a thinner version of our pick for the best yoga mat, almost every day for yoga, strength training at home, or lying down after a run.
$76 Amazon $56
I love (and love to hate) foam rolling. It hurts, but it just makes you feel good. There are many variations of foam rollers with different features and lengths. While a standard treadmill can relax your body before, after, or any time you’re feeling tight, I’d prefer one that vibrates like a FitIndex roller. The vibrations help me target the smaller knots in my quads and IT straps that are difficult to reach with regular rolling, and the consistent movement honestly just makes the whole experience more enjoyable.
From $14 on Amazon
Love them or hate them, Crocs are comfortable. After the race, slipping on my Crocs felt like putting my feet on a marshmallow pillow. When running regularly, your feet are important, and Crocs give your feet more support as you walk around the house or run errands without being as restrictive as casual sneakers.
From $9 on Amazon
Having a designated sweat towel saves you from having to wash your regular bath towels as often. A microfiber towel, like this one from Rainleaf, is great for wiping your forehead during a strength workout, as well as keeping your yoga mat or floor from getting slippery from sweat while relaxing.
USD10 $4 on Amazon
Runners’ feet aren’t known for being particularly pretty. While you may not be able to keep your feet completely smooth, blistered, or callus-free, a pumice stone (perhaps used in conjunction with some nail clippers or files) can at least help keep your feet semi-normal.