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Half marathon checklist: 6 of the best running accessories for half marathon training


There are so many running accessories out there, but all you really need is a decent pair of running shoes, right?

When it comes to buying running accessories for half marathon training, it can be hard to know what to buy and what to leave in the store.

Whilst you don’t need to spend loads of money on expensive equipment to get started, it helps to have some essential items to help you during training and on race day.

After all, you spend weeks and months preparing yourself for race day, it make sense to make this experience easier by investing in some good running accessories!

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • What equipment do I need to run a half marathon?
  • Do I need running shoes to run a half marathon?
  • What should I buy when training for a half marathon?
  • Half marathon gear checklist: 6 running accessories for half marathon training


Let’s go!

running accessories for half marathon training

What equipment do I need to run a half marathon?

When training for and running a half marathon, you need kit and equipment that meets the following criteria:

  • Reliable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable

The last thing you want on race day is your gear ruining your race or taking your focus away from how you’re running.

Essential items like running shoes and running gear (leggings, shorts, top, socks) are a given.

But there are other items which will make your half marathon running experience that little bit better which I explain more about below.

Related: What do I need on race day? The ultimate running race day checklist

Do I need running shoes to run a half marathon?

A decent pair of running shoes are a must when training for a half marathon.

This essentially means finding the right running shoes that provide the necessary support and cushioning when you run.

A good pair of running shoes will:

  • Support your feet when you run
  • Provide flexibility and durability
  • Protect against common running injuries like shin splints
  • Cushion your feet from heavy landings
  • Improve your performance

The best way to find the perfect pair for you is to visit a specialist running shoe shop and ask their advice.

They will be able to find the best shoe for you based on how you run, your foot type and planned weekly mileage.

Training for a half marathon means you’ll be clocking between 5 to 12 miles each week (depending on where you are in your training plan), so you’ll need running shoes that can cope with that level of mileage.

The type of running you plan to do (e.g. road running or trail running) will also be an important consideration as running shoes are designed for different terrains.

If in doubt, write down a list of questions before you head to the running shoe shop so you are prepared.

Related: How to choose the right running shoes for you: A complete guide

running accessories for half marathon training

Related: Moisture wicking underwear: Benefits + where to buy

What should I buy when training for a half marathon?

You may be wondering what to wear for running for a half marathon.

What you wear (and may well buy) for your half marathon training will depend on a number of factors and your own personal preferences.

Factors like location, terrain and weather will impact what you wear on race day.

Depending on your budget, you can spend as little or as much as you like.

Every runner is different and the good news is there are plenty of options nowadays on the high street and online.

Here is a list of essential gear and equipment to get you started:

You will also need to take with you the following items on race day:

  • Water
  • Race bib/number
  • Timing chip
  • Safety pins for attaching your race/bib to your top
  • Mobile phone
  • ID
  • Money
  • Debit/credit card

There are other things that you can take with you on race day, but these are by no means essential:

  • Breakfast bars (for a pre-race snack)
  • Protein bars (for a post-run snack)
  • Banana 
  • Running watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Headband
  • Hair ties
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Pre- and post-run clothing
  • Towel
  • Toilet paper or toilet wipes (for the portaloo)
  • Anti-chafing balm
  • Plasters
  • Gloves
  • Throwaway shirt or jumper
  • Pre-race instructions
  • Booking confirmation for public transport 
  • Bus/train/car parking ticket
  • Portable battery pack
  • Camera (if you don’t have one on your phone)
  • Mobile phone charger

Related: The ultimate guide to running backpacks for women

How many days a week should you run training for a half marathon?

The answer to this question will very much depend on your running experience, fitness levels and the training plan that you are followed.

If you’re following a beginner half marathon training plan, for example, you will be running less times a week than someone who’s following an advanced half marathon plan.

The training plan you pick will tell you exactly when you need to run in order to meet your desired race time.

The majority of training plans are flexible in terms of the days in which you have to run.

The important thing is that you stick to the training plan and be consistent in your training.

Check out my beginner half marathon plan where you will find a full 12-week plan for training for a half marathon.

I also have an intermediate half marathon training plan if you’re looking to level up your training and achieve your next PB.

Related: How should a sports bra fit? The complete guide

running accessories for half marathon training

6 running accessories for half marathon training

Garmin Forerunner 235 sports tracking watch

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A sports watch is a great running accessory for any runner, especially if you’re upping your mileage and training for a half marathon.

For years, I used apps like MapMyRun and Nike Running to do this which I still highly recommend if you’re starting out as they’re free and easy to use.

The reason I wanted to switch to a sports tracking watch is because they offer lots more features to help you track your run.

It’s also a lot easier and simpler with a sports tracking watch on your wrist to check your timings when you’re in the middle of a run.

When I used the apps, for example, I had to keep taking my phone out of my sports bra and check it mid-run which was a bit of an inconvenience.

The Garmin Forerunner 235 sports watch is simple and easy to use and comes with a range of features.

Check out my Garmin Forerunner 235 running watch review for a full lowdown of its features.

Where to buy: Amazon

Karrimoor running socks

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A decent pair of running socks are a must when hitting the road or trails.

Running socks are a bit different from normal trainer socks in that they’re a bit thicker, padded and more soft and spongy – meaning extra comfort and protection.

I like these running socks from Karrimoor as they’re stylish, comfortable and inexpensive.

You can normally get four pairs for less than £10 in Sports Direct depending on the deals you can find.

The last thing you want on a run is a nasty blister that stops you in your tracks, so a good pair of running socks is essential. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Sports wrap sunglasses

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A pair of good and comfy sunglasses come in very handy all year round when you face glaring sunshine on your runs.

Although it’s very lovely to have bright sunshine and clear skies instead of rain and wind, it’s always worthwhile to invest in a pair of sports sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.

These sunglasses from Zillerate are simple, comfy and durable.

They don’t bounce around on your face whilst running, and because they’re made from rubber they cling to your face really well.

When buying a pair of sunglasses for running, it’s always good to do a small test in the shop before you buy.

At the risk of looking like a weirdo, shake your head a little bit and put your head down to check the glasses don’t fall off your face.

You may also want to consider the material of the sunglasses.

Personally, I prefer materials like rubber and plastic as they’re more durable and you don’t have to worry about snapping them.

You can choose to buy sunglasses from specialist companies like Oakley and Nike, but these could set you back anything between £50 to £200!

This pair are only £20 and have suited me fine over the years and have met all my running needs.

Check them out if you’re ever in the market for a new pair of sports sunglasses.

Where to buy: Amazon

Body Glide

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Chafing and blisters are very real when it comes to half marathon training, especially in the hot summer months. Body Glide helps to keep these at bay.

It looks like a deodorant stick and works like a lubricant that you can apply anywhere where chafing occurs.

Typically your feet, your inner thighs, sports bra lines and underarms.

My trouble areas are my feet and sports bra lines – so this little stick comes in very handy to help minimise any chafing in these areas.

When I first started using Body Glide, I was worried it would cause havoc with my skin as I have sensitive, acne-prone skin.

But it’s made from all-natural ingredients and is suitable for all skin types. To date, I have had no problems.

At a cost of £19-£20, it’s not the cheapest, but it lasts for a long time and it’s well worth the investment to help stop those pesky blisters from forming and chafing on your bits.

Where to buy: Amazon

Gregory Maya 16 running backpack

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This running backpack from Gregory is ideal for road running and trail running.

If you’re one for run commuting or fitting in your runs before or after work, then a running backpack is one of best running accessories for half marathon training.

Some backpacks I’ve tried over the years are too big for my back and end up chafing on my hips.

I love this backpack as it fits really well – nice and tight on my back – and stays put whilst I’m running.

The key to finding a good running backpack is one that can stay put on your back.

The straps have to be adjustable so they fit your body.

The Gregory Maya 16 backpack offers just that – with two straps for your waist and upper body.

The backpack also has various compartments, including zip compartments on the front straps.

These come in very handy when you need to grab something small out of your bag.

The last thing you want is to take the bag off your back whilst running as this can suck up valuable time.

The bag also incorporates high-vis in its design which is great for visibility on any night time runs.

If you’re thinking of going on a long run but need extra storage for food and drink and other bits, this is a great beginner choice for you!

Where to buy: Amazon

GoPro Hero 6 action camera

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Ok, so a GoPro technically isn’t one of the most essential running accessories for half marathon training, but I had to mention it on this list.

If you like taking action shots and videos on your runs – like me – this is a game changer!

I bought the GoPro Hero 6 earlier this year following extensive research into action cameras.

Before buying the GoPro, I took photos and videos on my iPhone (and still do sometimes).

But I wanted a camera that offered more flexibility and durability, especially on long runs in poor weather.

Since starting my blog and Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, my GoPro has helped me a lot to capture great photos and videos from my run.

The GoPro’s best feature is image stabilisation which is great at capturing shots and videos when you’re on the move.

It also has a lot of useful editing features that allow you capture the best shots from your run.

I like to take videos then take stills from those to ensure I am getting the best shots. Although the iPhone has a really good camera and offers excellent quality, you are limited when taking action shots.

It’s quite sensitive to movement, water and humidity. It can also be quite tricky when running with an iPhone in your hand as it isn’t really designed to be held in the palm of your hand.

Many times I’ve dropped my phone and smashed it.

The GoPro, on the other hand, has been designed with action in mind. It’s really easy to hold and holds up in all sorts of weather and environments, even under water.

When I run with my GoPro, I don’t worry about it getting wet or covered in sweat because it has been designed to cope with these extremes.

There are some downsides. Downloading photos and footage from your GoPro is not as easy as simply using the photos on your iPhone and uploading them.

It does have built-in WiFi which allows you to connect to your iPhone and transfer your photos and videos. But because these are often quite large in file size, your phone quickly becomes overwhelmed.

As mentioned before, the GoPro is by no means an essential piece of kit for your half marathon training.

You don’t need one to become a better runner, but if you like taking photos and videos of your run, it’s worth considering.

Where to buy: Amazon

Caroline Geoghegan