Top 7 Running Accessories
I’ve recently taken back to running, 24 weeks in the last 28. I did have a 4 ½ week break in the middle due to an injury, but I am now at Week 8, for the second time, of the Couch to 5K app on my phone.
I say coming back to running as I have throughout my whole life, now 52, been a hobbyist runner, using it to get fit for football seasons or returning to playing squash, whenever I have chosen to compete in local leagues.
I also ran the London Marathon in 2005, after a year of training hard often at 5am in the morning in the dark, running regularly in the wind, snow and rain. So running has always been my go to when I look to improve my fitness and wellbeing.
Its a great way to stay in shape, but it’s important you have the right gear. You can’t just go out and run with your old trainers, pumps or sneakers – they may not be up for the job! So here are 7 bits of kit every runner should have on hand.
- Running shoes
- Smartphone and Headphones for music / podcasts / audiobooks
- Water bottle with built-in straw to stay hydrated on the go
- Compression socks to prevent blood clots and swelling after exercise
- A running belt to hold your phone, keys, and other small items while you’re out on a run
- Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and wind
- Wristwatch / Pedometer Watch or Health App on your phone
I have talked about this quite extensively on our TikTok channel but without the right running shoes, you will hurt yourself before you manage to achieve any reasonable distances.
This is a lesson I’ve learnt on more than one occasion when I’ve opted to run in the wrong shoes. By this I mean running in shoes not matched to your running style.
Without getting too technical, runners generally fall into three categories;
- Underpronators – are predisposed to an outward rolling motion as the foot progresses toward toe-off
- Neutral – neutral runners are predisposed to a neutral rolling motion as the foot progresses toward toe-off
- Overpronators – runners predisposed to an inward rolling motion as the foot progresses towards toe-off
Most running shoe manufacturers make shoes for each running style, offering support where you need it depending on how you run. You can find more about this here on the Asics website.
Seems we can’t go anywhere without our smartphone, running is no different.
Here’s my top 3 apps for running;
Here’s my top 3 earbuds for listening while you run;
Although the Anker earbuds are considerably cheaper than the Sennheiser or Bose models, I have found them to perform brilliantly and they provide excellent value for money.
If you really are tuned in to high-quality performance then its likely you will choose between the Sennheiser and Bose models. The Sennheiser models offer excellent clarity whilst the Bose models provide the signature Bose sound.
I personally switch between them on different days depending which are charged, which ones I have left in the office and which are nearest to hand as I am running out the door.
On shorter runs it may not seem necessary to think about hydration as much as you need to when you approach longer runs. For example during my marathon preparation runs I used to drive the route the night before and drop water bottles at 6, 12 and 18 mile markers.
For shorter runs this may not be necessary but it is still important to rehydrate when you finish. My recommendation is to choose a water bottle you like drinking from and use it regularly throughout the day.
My favourite bottle is a Camelbak Eddy, with in built straw. It is quite large so may not suit everyone but as I have large hands it fits me well. I also like the Hydrate Tracker bottles which give you clear indications of how much you are taking in.
For longer runs you may want to attach your water bottle to your hip, I certainly did for the London Marathon and found the Nike version to offer a good size/weight option.
Whenever I run I always wear compression socks. I cannot remember exactly when I started wearing them but it was around 2004 when I was training to run a marathon for the first time.
Compression socks aid post run recovery. They also feel pretty cozy when you pull them on, like a weighted blanket for your active muscles. The compression can actually improve blood flow and energise your legs.
I wear socks designed to be worn during running, others are designed for the hours and days after your big event. There’s a world of choice between different socks and how much compression they offer, the fabrics they use, breathability, antimicrobial properties and cushioning.
Personally, I use running socks by Falke, both stabilising and cooling versions.
So where do you stash your keys, phone, hydration gels and water bottle (for longer distances) when you’re running.
There are a number of cross hip, front or back styles. I find the Nike Hip Bottle and Belt set works well for me on anything over 5k and smaller pouches like the Fitletic mini pouch on shorter runs.
My tip here is to make sure your phone fits neatly inside, with phone screens getting larger, you want to make sure you don’t have to carry your phone in your hand for 15+ miles. Believe me at these distances and above a phone can start to feel very heavy.
Sunglasses or sports sunglasses might seem on the surface like a luxury when you are running but they really are a must when you are running longer distances. Even here in the UK, when we don’t have as many sunny days as we would like, sunglasses are an essential accessory to your running kit.
I can recall lots of times I’ve forgotten to stash them only to discover the sun pops out from behind the clouds and I find myself squinting in the sunshine as I run for a further 5 or 10k.
Preferably choose sunglasses that are a) light and comfortable (and shaped to fit your head), b) provide polarised lenses and c) have unbreakable frames.
Polarised lenses allow you to take in and enjoy clearly the beautiful countryside you will see as you run longer distances.
Just make sure they are comfy and stay on your head as you bounce/run.
OK, my go to here is my Apple Watch linked to the Health app on my iPhone and various running apps including Strava, Couch to 5K, Nike Run Club and more. I realise there are other options on the market (and I have used lots of them from Garmin, Fitbit etc,), but I favour Apple products for this currently.
It’s important and motivating to track your steps, progress, run times and distances accurately so you know you are progressing. There are lots of smart products to do this now.
Right now, Vitality Health Insurance is running a number of promotions to get an Apple Watch for free with a health insurance plan and assuming you reach a certain number of steps per week your watch is supplied free. (First you sign up for a plan then sign up for the Free Apple Watch)
Both Lisa and I have acquired Apple watches with Vitality in this way. If you are in the market for health insurance why not get the latest Apple Watch free too?
So there you have it, some of the top 7 running accessories I wouldn’t be without in my kit bag. I’d be very interested to hear from you if you think we’ve missed anything or there is something you cannot do without when you’re running.
In the meantime, stay healthy and happy running!