Did you know that runners are 27% less likely to die? Yes, running can actually help you live longer. It is an excellent form of exercise that provides numerous health benefits, from strengthening your heart and lungs to improving your overall mood. One of the most important aspects of running is having the right accessories.
This is because the right gear can make all the difference in your running experience. It not only improves your comfort and safety but also enhances your performance. In this article, we will discuss 15 essential running accessories that every runner needs to have in their arsenal. These accessories are suitable for both men and women and can help you get the most out of your training plan.
1. Running Shoes
When it comes to running, the most important accessory is your footwear because running shoes prevent injuries and improve your overall performance. According to a survey conducted by Running USA, running shoes account for approximately 28% of all running-related gear purchases.
Running footwear is specifically designed for running and should have features such as shock absorption, stability, and flexibility. This is why every runner needs a pair of athletic shoes, also known as sports shoes, that provide support, comfort, and protection to feet.
To choose the perfect pair of running shoes, you must consider your foot type, gait, and the type of running you do, such as mid-run or long-distance. Always look for quality footwear from well-known brands and make sure you get the right size that fits comfortably.
Wearing the right clothes can make your run more enjoyable and less challenging. When choosing workout clothes, consider the weather conditions and your running intensity. For hot and humid weather, choose lightweight and breathable fits. Also, make sure to go for sweat-wicking and moisture-wicking fabrics. Comfortable and moisture-wicking athletic wear is essential for runners.
It helps regulate body temperature, absorbs sweat away from your skin, and prevents chafing. For colder weather, you should choose clothes that provide warmth and insulation. Always opt for high-quality workout clothes that fit well and allow for easy movement.
3. Running Watches
Wearable technology such as running watches or fitness trackers can help runners monitor their performance and progress. These running gadgets can track metrics like heart rate, steps taken, distance covered, and calories burned. They can also provide valuable data such as pace and route mapping.
The basic features of a good running watch include water resistance, a step counter, and a calorie counter. The T1 Tact Midnight Diamond Watch has all these features and more, such as a heart rate monitor, remote camera control, Bluetooth integration, etc. Overall, it is one of the best water-resistant running watches on the market right now.
Listening to music or podcasts while running gives motivation and improves performance. Plus, listening to something can also help you block out distractions and stay focused during your run. Earbuds or wireless headphones are great options for runners as they are lightweight, stay securely in your ears, and allow freedom of movement as you don't have to worry about tangling cords.
Whichever make and model you choose, just make sure they are noise-canceling headphones with long battery life, water resistance, and good sound quality.
5. Water Bottles or Hydration Packs
Staying hydrated during runs is vital for your performance and health as it improves recovery and minimizes cramping. It is recommended to drink water every 20 minutes during your run, so you should carry a water bottle or hydration pack on the go.
The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising and then 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
Different types of hydration gear are available for runners, including handheld water bottles, waist packs, and backpacks. Choose the one that is most comfortable and convenient for you. Look for running hydration kits that are lightweight, easy to carry, and have a good capacity.
6. Running Belt or Waist Pack
When going for a run, you might need to carry small essentials with you, like your keys, phone, earbuds, or gels. That's where a running belt or waist pouch comes in handy. These accessories provide storage for your essentials and keep them secure during your run. They're also comfortable to wear and won't interfere with your running form.
According to the American Council on Exercise, carrying weight while running can increase your energy expenditure by up to 10%, which can help you burn more calories and improve cardiovascular fitness. There are different types of waist packs, like run belts, fanny packs, and bum bags.
They come in different sizes and designs. Some have multiple pockets and can carry larger items like water bottles, while others are smaller and more streamlined. So, depending on your needs, choose one that fits you comfortably.
Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory but also a must-have for runners. Exposure to UV rays can cause eye damage and lead to vision problems. This is why protecting your eyes from the sun's harmful rays is crucial, especially during long runs or races.
So, invest in a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection. They will protect your eyes and improve your performance by reducing glare and eye strain, especially on bright days.
When choosing sunglasses for running, consider sports sunglasses. These are polarized sunglasses with tinted lenses to improve visibility. These glasses are designed to be lightweight and durable, making them a good choice for runners.
8. Foam Roller or Massage Ball
After a long run, a good massage can improve muscle recovery and prevent injury. Foam rollers or massage balls are great accessories for this purpose. They work by applying pressure to specific muscles, releasing tension, and improving circulation.
A study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that using a massage ball can reduce muscle soreness and increase muscle function after exercise. Moreover, these accessories are effective for lymphatic drainage and myofascial release, which helps to relieve muscle soreness and improve flexibility.
Using these after your run can also help prevent muscle imbalances. Consider the size and density when choosing a foam roller or massage ball. A larger foam roller may be better for larger muscle groups, while a smaller ball is more convenient for specific areas.
9. Running Hat or Visor
A running hat or visor not only helps to keep sweat and hair out of your eyes but also provides sun protection for your face and head. The sun's harmful UV rays can cause skin damage and even increase the risk of skin cancer. So, you should have protective headwear.
There are many different types of running hats and visors available. Look for hats or visors that are made from lightweight, breathable materials to help keep you cool and comfortable during your run. You may also consider features like reflective detailing for visibility during low-light runs.
Running in colder weather can be challenging, but with the right gear, like running gloves, you can stay warm and comfortable throughout your run. There are many different types of running gloves available, including cold-weather gloves and thermal gloves.
Cold weather gloves are designed to provide insulation and protection from the wind, while thermal gloves are made from materials that retain heat to keep your hands warm. When choosing gloves, look for ones that fit snugly without being too tight.
You want to be able to move your fingers freely, but you also want the gloves to stay in place while you run. Some gloves also come with features like touchscreen compatibility, so you can use your phone without having to take off your gloves.
11. Mobile Holder
Many runners like to stay connected while they run, whether it's to track their progress or listen to their favorite music or running apps. A phone holder, such as a phone armband, can help you safely carry your device while you run. Phone holders come in different styles, such as waistbands or armbands.
When choosing a mobile holder, look for one that's comfortable and secure. You don't want it to slip or bounce around while you run. Some holders also come with special features like water resistance or reflective detailing for added visibility during low-light runs.
12. Anti-Chafing Cream
Chafing is a common issue for runners, especially on longer runs. It occurs when the skin rubs against clothing or other skin, causing irritation and discomfort. According to a survey conducted by Runner's World, 67% of runners experience chafing.
Using anti-chafing cream or balm can help prevent chafing by reducing friction and irritation. A skin lubricant like an anti-chafing balm or cream can help reduce friction to prevent chafing and keep you comfortable during your run.
They are also effective for blister prevention. Look for non-greasy and easy-to-apply products. Some creams also come with added ingredients like aloe vera or vitamin E to soothe and nourish the skin, preventing dry heels and cracks.
13. Running Backpack or Vest
If you're planning to go on a long-distance run, you need to carry multiple essentials like a hydration bladder, extra clothes, or snacks. This is where a running backpack or vest comes in handy as it provides ample gear storage.
A trail running pack is a good option for those who enjoy running on rugged terrain, as they are designed to stay secure and comfortable on the back, even during intense movements. A vest-style pack, on the other hand, provides a snug fit and allows for more freedom of movement, making it ideal for faster-paced runs.
Apart from carrying your essentials, a running backpack or vest can also help distribute the weight of your gear, making it easier to maintain good posture and balance for long-distance runs. Choose a pack that fits well and has adjustable straps to prevent bouncing and discomfort while running.
14. Running Socks
While it's easy to overlook the importance of socks when it comes to running accessories, they play a crucial role in keeping your feet comfortable and free from blisters and injuries. The right running socks should provide cushioning, support, and compression where needed, making your running experience more enjoyable and comfortable.
Get cushioned and compression socks for extra padding to absorb impact and reduce the risk of injury. They also improve blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue, making them a popular choice for endurance runners.
When shopping for running socks, look for materials that are breathable and moisture-wicking to prevent sweat buildup and keep your feet dry. It's also important to choose socks that fit well and have no seams that can cause rubbing or irritation.
15. Running Lights or Headlamps
Running in low light conditions, especially at night, can be dangerous if you're not visible to motorists and other runners. Get nighttime running accessories like lights or headlamps for safety and visibility during early morning or night runs.
LED lights are the most popular option for running lights as they are lightweight, durable, and provide bright illumination. However, headlamps are a great choice for runners who need their hands free and want to focus the light directly in front of them. Whether you pick a handheld running light or headlamp, check the brightness, battery life, weight, and fit.
Gone are the days of suffering through blisters and discomfort on your feet or struggling to carry your phone and keys without them bouncing around in your pockets. With the right gear, you can run like a pro and feel like a champ.
Choose running accessories that fit your needs and preferences, and don't be afraid to experiment with different brands and styles until you find what works best for you. So, lace up your shoes and put on your gear to achieve your fitness goals and become a stronger, healthier, and happier runner.