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You need run-specific clothes and shoes to comfortably get to the finish line of a race, but run-specific accessories can help you take your race to the next level by freeing your mind from worrying about any gear malfunctions. Here’s what we put in our race-day gear bag.
Jelly Belly Sport Beans, $7.99 For Six-Pack
Are you the proud owner of a sweet tooth? We’re giving you the green light to satisfy your cravings before a tough race or workout with sport-specific jelly beans. Jelly Belly Sport Beans are like small energy chews, filled with electrolytes and carbohydrates to fuel your race. Pick a favorite flavor or go with the assorted packs, and on those extra exertion days, up the ante with Sport Beans’ Extreme beans, which pack a kick of caffeine.
Endurance Shield SPF 45 Sunscreen, $24 For 4 Oz.
When you’re waking up in the dark for your race, it’s easy to forget sunscreen, but it’s so important! We love Endurance Shield SPF 45 Sunscreen ($24 for 4 oz., enduranceshield.com) not only for its broad-spectrum sun protection, but also because it’s a light moisturizer (it feels just like lotion!), it has anti-aging properties thanks to its antioxidants, it’s safe for sensitive skin and it has a fabulous cucumber scent—you won’t smell like sunscreen! Bonus for runners: This product was developed by two pro triathletes, so it holds up to sweat and even a cup of water poured on you mid-race.
HydraPak SoftFlask 500ml, $20
We all know it’s important to stay properly hydrated while running—whether you’re on a training run or during your big race—but finding the perfect vessel can be a chore. Meet the pleasantly squishy and ultralight HydraPak SoftFlask 500ml. The TPU container shrinks as you drink to keep water from sloshing in your hand, and the wide 42mm opening makes filling up and adding nutrition mixes a breeze on the go.
KT Performance+ Blister Prevention Tape, $10
Blisters on a training run can cut it short, but blisters on race day make for a miserable experience. Enter KT Performance+ Blister Prevention Tape, super-thin woven synthetic fabric strips that help prevent blisters and chafing. Made with a strong adhesive, you simply stick them over any potential hotspots (like your heel or big toe), and you can race without fear of blisters.
Darn Tough Vermont Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-Light Running Socks, $16
This Vermont-based sock company makes this promise to consumers: If you wear a hole through your sock, the company will replace it—guaranteed! The Darn Tough Vermont Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-Light running socks have no uncomfortable seam along the toe and are easily washed with just water, since they’re made with Merino wool. The family-owned company also makes hiking, biking and lifestyle socks, so wearers have options on their cross-training and rest days.
Oofos OOlala Sandals, $60
After your race, treat your feet (and the rest of your body!) to a soft and restorative pair of Oofos OOlala Sandals to help your body recover from all the miles you’ve logged. The proprietary foam absorbs 37 percent more shock than traditional foam footwear and helps relieve the sore muscles from the bottom of your feet up into your lower back. The design also provides arch support along with room for your toes and foot to move in a natural motion.
Body Glide, $10 For 1.5-Oz. Stick
It’s not attractive to talk about, but chafing really does happen to most athletes. We deal with chafing on our feet, under our arms, beneath our sports bra bands…basically, any uncomfortable area is open season. To beat the chafe, we call products like Body Glide into action. Slick a little on over whatever patch of skin is bothering you, and it’ll prevent your skin from rubbing raw.
Garmin Forerunner 35, $200
Don’t be intimidated by technology on your runs—the slim Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS run watch is super simple to use with its four-button interface. The built-in GPS, wrist-based heart rate tracking and easy-to-read display help you stick to your goal speed on race day. It also features activity tracking (including step counting and sleep tracking) and connects to your phone for smart notifications so you can wear it beyond race day. Also, the battery lasts close to a week, so you don’t have to charge it every night!
Gatorade Endurance Formula Powder, $29 For 38-Serving Canister
This is not the bottled Gatorade you pick up at gas stations! Designed for longer workouts and races (read: half marathons and longer), the recently reformulated Gatorade Endurance Formula Powder is easy on the gut, as it now utilizes a multi-carbohydrate blend, and won’t overwhelm your palate with sweetness—it has a cleaner ingredient list with no artificial colors or flavors and a much lighter taste. To meet the needs of endurance athletes, it also has almost double the sodium (300 milligrams) and more than triple the potassium (140 milligrams) of traditional Gatorade.