There are so many running accessories out there, but all you really need is a decent pair of running shoes, right? In this blog post I’d like to share my top 6 running accessories for half marathon training.
Training for and running a half marathon is hard work. You spend weeks and months preparing yourself for race day, so it make sense to make this experience easier by investing in some good running accessories.
By accessories, I mean everything that you may use on a run that isn’t clothing or shoes. Whilst you don’t need to spend loads of money on expensive equipment or accessories to get started, it helps to have some essential items to help you on your running journey.
In my beginner’s guide to running, I touch upon some of the essential bits of kit and equipment that I recommend you use when starting out. The gear you use when training for a 5k, for example, won’t necessarily be the same as the gear you use when training for a half marathon.
Whatever the distance, I’ve learnt over the years that you need kit and equipment that’s reliable, durable and 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.
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.
In this blog post, I’d like to share with you some of my favourite running accessories for half marathon training.
I have personally relied on these running accessories for many years. Others I’ve discovered relatively recently and now cannot run without.
I can confidently say that they’re all worth the investment if you want to make training for a long race feel as good as possible. But please note though that what works for me may not necessarily work for you, so please bear this in mind when choosing gear that’s right for you.
Nevertheless, these accessories should put you in a good place to start your half marathon training.
6 running accessories for half marathon training
Garmin Forerunner 235 sports tracking watch
A sports watch is an essential running accessory for any runner, especially if you’re training for a half marathon.
For years, I used apps like MapMyRun and Nike Running to do this (check out my post on the best running for beginners apps) 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.
Karrimoor running socks
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 by 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.
Boots rubber sports wrap sunglasses
Boots is probably not the first place you think of when buying sports sunglasses.
However, I bought these black and red wrap sunglasses from this high street favourite over six years ago and they’re still going strong.
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 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 from Boots 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.
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.
Karrimoor running backpack
This small running backpack from Karrimoor 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.
This Karrimoor 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.
Overall it’s a good all round bag and is really affordable – only £17 when I bought it earlier this year.
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!
Since originally posting this blog, I’ve discovered a great running backpack for women made by Gregory. Check out my post on the best running backpack for women for my in-depth review and why I LOVE this running backpack.
GoPro Hero 6 action camera
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.