Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
No matter what people say, running is an expensive sport. While we don’t need as much gear as a multi-sport athlete competing in triathlon does, we seem to “need” an endless amount of stuff to keep us going.
If you can ignore the shiny marketing packages on all the latest and greatest gear, you might be able to save some money for race registration fees by using things you already have at home.
Here is a list of household items that can be used as running gear:
Sandwich and snack size bags: I never run without one of these in my back pocket. I use the snack sized bags for carrying my ID, credit card, cash and a metro card on every single run. In the event I have to carry my phone with me, I use a larger sandwich bag to stash everything in. All my stuff stays dry and tucked safely away during a run of any length.
Tennis ball or racket ball: Save space and money by using a ball to roll out tight muscles. These are especially good for rolling out the plantar fascia, calves and glute muscles.
Safety Pins: You probably already have a stash of these for pinning on race bibs. You can also use them to pin extra gels to your shorts or shirt for when you run out of pockets to put them in during marathon training.
Aquaphor or petroleum jelly: Who needs special anti-chaffing cream when either of these products do an excellent job at protecting the body from chaffing. Smear on a thin layer on any hot spots that are susceptible to chaffing and you’ll be less likely to scream out in pain during your post-run shower.
Towel: There are an endless number of things you can do with a towel of any size. You can strengthen your feet by doing toe scrunches. You can put both feet on it to do pike-ups and knee tucks during your strength training workouts. You can even roll it up and stand on it with one foot to do balance work.
Paper cups: Freeze water in a paper cup and use it for an ice massage. It can also be used in place of a roller for your feet or any areas of inflammation that need both ice and myofascial release.
Fruit Snacks: While these may not be full of caffeine or have the exact carbohydrate count as a sports performance gel or chew, they can keep your energy levels up during a long run that requires mid-run fuel. Some runners prefer the taste of these over gels and chews and can easily digest them while on the run.
Sport Drinks: Use the ingredients you already have on hand to make your own sports drink. Here are some recipes to try.