Five Things Every Runner Absolutely Needs

 

(Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. This means that if a purchase is made through this article, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

I started a 16-week half-marathon training plan early January. It’s been a blast!
There are only two (or three, depending on your preference) days of actual running. The other two are for strengthening/stretching and cross training, leaving plenty of time for Zumba and pilates! I chose this plan because it gives me enough activities outside of running to prevent burnout.
This is my very first half-marathon and I couldn’t be any more excited. Before I started training, the farthest I had run is a 5K…so there was definitely some work that needed to be done!
I had to remind myself not to stress and instead just enjoy the process. Every lap is a victory for me, and the shaking, heart-racing satisfaction is worth all the leg cramps, sweat, and soreness that comes with it. The big race is next week, and I actually feel ready for it.

While I’m no expert, I do have a few products I use daily to make my runs go a bit more smoothly. There’s been some trial and error, but overall I’ve decided on five items that will ALWAYS be in my gym bag.

KT Tape.
KT tape is literally the best thing that’s ever happened to my active lifestyle.
Nearly a year ago, I was diagnosed with a blood clot that ran from my groin to ankle. Ouch. Before long, my leg had swollen to thrice its size and I couldn’t move it to save my life. Fast forward through months of blood thinners, procedures, and physical therapy, I was finally able to walk again. It didn’t feel great, but I was mobile!
I took it day-by-day until running called my name again. The first day or two I could only manage to run a minute and a half before my leg seized up and wouldn’t move anymore.
Enter KT tape. Two strips on my calf and one on my inner thigh – Y’all, I couldn’t believe the difference it made. The pain was minimized, there were longer stretches of running, and before I knew it I was running a mile. I truly believe that KT tape makes a huge difference in recovery for injured athletes. Shin splints? KT! Pulled muscle? KT!
While I no longer have to use it daily, I still keep a roll on hand for the days when my leg acts up. Never leave home without it! You can find that here.

Strava.
Strava is the god of all running apps. You can use it to record runs, swims, or bike rides. The GPS keeps track of your mileage, pace, and route to look back on to check your progress. You get a new award every time you PR – whether it be on a specific route, your best time for 1/4 mile, etc.
There’s also an option to add friends or join clubs so you can participate in challenges and cheer each other on.
With Strava premium, you can make yearly and weekly goals, watch training videos, and access training plans!
Check it out in the app store or at Strava.com.

Tribe’s Armband.
My parents got me this one for Christmas. Y’all, I had no idea what I was missing out on.
Unfortunately, most leggings don’t have pockets, so I resorted to holding my phone and/or keys in my hand…which was super inconvenient and annoying.
This armband is water resistant, sturdy, and has a nifty little pocket for your keys. I love love love mine, so I recommend it to literally everyone I see on the road. You can find it here.

Mpow Jaws Headset.
Don’t let the price fool you. I’ve had this one since December and it has performed beautifully. The sound is clear, it cuts out surrounding noise, and they stay in my ears! If that doesn’t convince you, let me say that I got an actual name-brand Bluetooth for Christmas the year before…and it broke by the second or third use. The left side had no volume!  This is a less expensive (but super high quality) alternative. You can check it out here.

Garmin Vivofit 2.
I know, I know. Fitbits are all the rage these days.
But if you want to save a hefty bit of cash and still have a good fitness tracker, let me tell you about the Vivofit.
I’ve had one for over a year now and the battery is still going strong. I’ve never once had to charge it. It’s waterproof, sturdy, and comfortable. This tracker can tell you your steps, step goal versus how many you have left, mileage, and calories burned.
Their app has recently undergone a pretty big update, and it is heavenly.
You can connect your other devices or apps (EG, MyFitnessPal) and it’ll automatically sync your activity. You can see your sleeping patterns: deep sleep, light sleep, and awake time.
There’s a section for calories in/out, how many miles you’ve done, and weekly challenges that will bring out your competitive side. All in all, I’d rate it a 10/10. There’s nothing I’d change about the Vivofit. Find it here.

This turned out to be a bit lengthy, so I appreciate you taking the time to stick with us!
Have you tried any of the products listed above? Pros and cons?
What would you add to this list?

 

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