15 Products I Used While Half Marathon Training
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Running is hard (like, really hard), but these helpful things made my training journey much more pleasant.
All smiles but very soggy. Trust me.
Side note: Everyone has their own needs when it comes to running, and this is just what worked for me, a casual runner, through a lot of trial and error!!! Feel free to experiment with what works for you — everybody's body and preferences are different! Figuring out what running gear you need can be incredibly overwhelming when you're first getting into running (I know it was for me!!), and I hope this list can help make someone feel a little less overwhelmed on their running journey. Okay, now to the products! 🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️
I started running a few years ago, and after buying (and hating) many running shoes, I tried out the Brooks Ghost shoes on a recommendation from a friend, and I will never wear anything else for running!! They have a super sturdy and cushioned sole without being heavy. I have flat feet, and these give me the support I need to keep running for miles without any discomfort. These are specifically designed for road running, so if you're training for a race outside, you can count on them to last through all kinds of terrain throughout your entire training period. I started out with the Ghost 13 (which Brooks doesn't make anymore—you can get the Ghost 14 shoes though!) and I only replaced them with the Ghost 15 model because it's recommended to get new running shoes every 300–500 miles. I've been wearing the Ghost 15 model since January and through my entire half marathon training cycle. I don't think I'll ever wear any other running shoe again! I am definitely a lifelong Brooks Running customer and will continue to buy new Ghost models as they come out. Of course, everyone has different needs with running shoes, so it's important to go to a specialty running store to get evaluated and fitted by a professional. That's what I did when I was first recommended the Ghost shoes by a friend, and the sales associate told me I should actually go up a half size from my normal shoe size because of my flat feet to give my toes more room on each step. I think that really helped with my comfort while running, and I would never have known to do that unless I went to a running store!
Get it from Brooks Running for $140 (available in women's sizes 5–13 and 28 colors).
Good running socks are SO IMPORTANT! You do not want to have a blister stop you from finishing a run, and socks are the first line of defense. Feetures makes expertly designed socks — there is a left and a right sock because each one is designed to perfectly fit that particular foot, there's no irritating toe seam, and the tabs around the ankle prevent the sock from rolling down and blocks blister-causing rubbing. On the photo above of me wearing the socks, you'll see some black pilling near the heel, but that's just because I've worn these socks at least once a week for over a year, so it's just from natural rubbing against my shoe. I have had no complaints with these socks and kept buying more because I loved them so much and wouldn't wear anything else! They are well worth the price tag!
Get it from Amazon for $18 (available in three sizes, which fit women's sizes 4–13, and 22 colors).
This is the only product that I can trust to prevent that dreaded chafing. It glides on perfectly, it's unscented, and it doesn't melt away when you start to sweat. I personally apply it all around my sports bra band and underneath my arms, if i'm wearing a tank top (my arms can rub against my sports bra, too). Honestly, your body might change during a long training cycle, which means you might start chafing in places you've never chafed before! I would make sure to always keep this on hand in case new problem spots pop up. On the actual (very rainy) race day, I applied this alllll over my body, even in places I don't usually chafe, because wet clothes can mean a lot of uncomfortable friction. And after 13.1 miles, I had no chafing at all! In addition to using it while running, I use this all the time and apply it on my inner thighs whenever I'm wearing dresses, shorts, or skirts and know I'll be doing a lot walking.
Get it from Amazon for $5.99.
Watch a TikToker try this on (and be *very impressed* by it) here!
As someone with a ~larger~ chest, I have tried out countless sports bras, all to no success. When I was training for a 10k a few years ago, I had to wear two sports bras at once to control the bounce. I saw a TikTok of this about a year ago and thought it was so genius — I had to try it out myself. When I tell you this is the best sports bra on the face of this earth, it is no exaggeration. The key to this magical sports bra is the adjustable band and straps, which you can make as tight as you need to. Finally, I can run without any of the dreaded jiggle. I end my runs without any back or chest pain, and my boobs are so secure, I literally feel like I can run faster and longer. BUY THIS BRA! It's so, so worth the price tag.
If you're looking for your perfect fit, take their 60-second fit quiz!
Get it from SheFit for $75 (available in women's sizes XS–6Luxe and 11 colors).
The inside of my big toes ALWAYS get blisters no matter how well my shoes fit or what socks I wear. I loved how much better these worked than regular bandages. They're much bigger than bandages, they stick really well to your skin, and they move with you instead of sliding around and falling off. They really saved my toes while running, and I've continued to wear them whenever I know I'm going to be walking a lot. One thing to keep in mind is that they are very sticky, which means that if you use them to cover up a blister that's already formed, it could rip off the soft top of your blister when you're taking it off (speaking from experience here!) So just make sure to only use this to prevent, not treat a blister.
Promising review: "Forget normal bandages — if you are prone to blisters, always have this tape on hand. It is excellent to prevent or help you walk if you have blisters. I keep two cases on hand: one at home and the other in my travel bag. Stays on until you take them off (even while bathing). If you're a serious runner or walker, have these on hand." —Sawwe01
Get it from Amazon for $9.46+ (available in beige and black).
I personally prefer running in shorts over leggings because I love feeling the breeze on my legs as I run, but finding the perfect pair was truly a struggle! I tried some of the breezy, shorter style of running shorts (resulted in major thigh rub) and also tried some other bike short-style designs, but they kept rolling down at the waist or riding up on the thigh. Enter: these beauties!! I love how high up they go, and I can adjust the hidden drawstring for it to be a perfect fit. They have an 8-inch inseam, so there's no chance of any thigh rubbing here!! The legs have a seamless hem to help prevent chafing along the thigh, and the silicone grippers on the inside really work well at keeping them in the right place (that picture of me above is after I crossed Mile 10 in the rain, and there is no rolling or chafing going on at all!) I also like that they are compressive but not *too* compressive that it feels uncomfortable. I'm going to be real with you: I have a big butt, and I need that compression to prevent too much bouncing (IYKYK). Finally, this has a pocket on the back to store small items like keys, credit cards, money etc. I didn't use it to carry my phone though — I used a running belt instead (more on that later!)
Get it from Lululemon for $39+ (originally $64+; available in women's sizes 0–20, two lengths, and five colors/patterns).
Vimhue is an Arizona-based, woman-owned small business that specializes in uniquely engineered running hats.
I have to wear a hat while running because I sweat *a lot* and absolutely hate the sting of sweat dripping into my eyes. But whenever I would wear traditional caps, I didn't like that my ponytail had to sit pretty low on my head, which meant it would stick to my sweaty neck and make me feel even *more* hot. This solves all my problems!! I love being able to sport my high pony and feel a nice breeze on my neck. The material is super breathable, and I just throw it into the washing machine in a delicates bag whenever I need to wash it (make sure you hang dry!) And this hat was CLUTCH on my rainy half marathon day — even when it was pouring, the rain never got into my eyes, which made the conditions at least somewhat bearable!
Get it from Vimhue on Etsy for $29 (available in 26 colors).
It took me SO long to finally figure out that you're NOT supposed to feel like you're dying from thirst at the end of your training runs. I really thought that carrying a water bottle would be cumbersome and annoying, so I did a lot of research to find a hydration solution that works for me. I have a really short torso, so those small water bottles that attach to your running belt were out for me (but might work for you!!), and I didn't like the idea of a running vest. (Those are banned in a lot of major races anyway!) So I settled on this handheld bottle.....and OMG, I'm in love!! It's 12 ounces, so it's not too heavy even when full, and the strap can be tightened to perfectly fit my tiny hand and not budge at all. The spout is easy to use as well — you just pull it up with your free hand and lightly squeeze the bottle to get the water flowing. Especially during hot humid days, this is a must-have for runs, and I will head back home if I realize I forgot it. I even carried it during the majority of my half marathon because it was easier to fill up every few stations than try to drink water out of the cups they give you. (I always ended up accidentally dumping all the water on my face before using this bottle. lol)
Get it from Amazon for $29.99+ (available in two sizes and four colors).
So I didn't use this exact running belt for my training (the one I used I got from a random sporting goods store years ago and can't find it online anymore!), but this belt is very similar and highly recommended! My one piece of advice is to wear a running belt at your natural waist to help prevent bouncing as you run!
Promising review: "I recently purchased this running belt, and I am extremely impressed with its design and functionality. It fits comfortably around my waist, holds my phone securely, and has plenty of room for gels and other small essentials. The belt is also lightweight and breathable, making it easy to wear during long runs. Overall, I would highly recommend this running belt to any runner looking for a convenient and comfortable way to carry their essentials while on the go. I've tried quite a few of these, and this one has quickly become a staple in my running gear." —John Alexander
Get it from Amazon for $24.99+ (available in 22 styles).
Sunscreen is a non-negotiable when you're doing your training runs outside. Even though I wear a hat on almost every run, I still put sunscreen on my face every single time, and you should, too!! I love Unseen Sunscreen because it really blends into your skin and won't run down your face and into your eyes (ugh the burn!!) when you start sweating. The formula is unlike anything I've ever used — it comes out as a gel-like substance, but as you rub it into your face, it almost leaves a powdery, gentle feel. And you can barely even feel it sitting on your skin! A little goes a long way, so a bottle should last you a long time. And for the rest of my body, I really love the Play sunscreen from Supergoop because it comes in a spray bottle, which makes it easier to cover a large area of skin in a hurry. This formula is definitely greasier than Unseen, but it does go on clear and rubs in well. Even during my sweatiest runs this sunscreen didn't melt off!
Get the Unseen Sunscreen from Sephora for $22+ (available in three sizes) and the Play sunscreen from Supergoop for $15+ (available in two sizes).
My feet would always feel very sore after a long run and walking around barefoot in my apartment on hardwood was not helping. I hesitated initially at the price, but I would pay twice as much for the comfort these babies give! The foam is so cushy — you really feel like your feet are being hugged by little angels every time you take a step. I basically feel like I'm giving my tired feet a much needed massage as I walk around. I've decided that these are strictly inside shoes, but I'm contemplating getting another pair for outdoor wear because they're super durable!
Get it from Oofos for $59.95 (available in women's sizes 5–16 and seven colors) or Amazon for $59.95+ (available in women's sizes 5–16 and 13 colors).
I used to be an avid AirPods Pro user, but for this training cycle, I wanted a pair of affordable headphones that I would use just for running so I wouldn't constantly have to be recharging them for everyday use. Also...I just didn't want anything to happen to my $200+ AirPods. But oh my goodness, I have grown to like these $25 Bluetooth headphones so much better than my AirPods! I used them for every single run, and they stayed super secure in my ear, even when I got sweaty. It comes with six different sizes of eartips, so I was able to choose my perfect fit. And OMG, the battery life!! They last over 10 hours on a single charge, and with the charging carrying case, you get 45 hours of play before having to recharge! In my 12 weeks of training, I charged them twice. And that's even after I started using them more often even when I wasn't running!! And they really are waterproof — they lasted through the whole half marathon in all that rain!
Get it from Amazon for $23.99+ (available in five colors).
As I mentioned above, companies like Garmin offer watches with lots and lots of features that give very detailed info on your run, but for a casual runner like me, I really just needed something that told me how far I'm running, what my pace is, and what my heart rate is. And that's exactly what this offers!! I also like that it connects with my iPhone, which makes playing music very seamless on my run. It's also so cool to see your progress on your Fitness app on your iPhone over time when you track all your runs! My specific model is the Apple Watch SE with GPS capability, but I know runners who get the Apple Watch with GPS and cellular capability so they can leave their phone at home and still get texts and calls.
Get it from Amazon for $239.99+ (available in three colors, two watch face sizes, and two band sizes).
Figuring out what fuel to consume on your run will probably be the most personal part of your training journey, so I caveat this by saying this specific kind of energy gel worked for me, but you might have to try out multiple brands before you find the right one for you. I really like that this one didn't have caffeine (which can upset my stomach sometimes), it tasted good, and the texture wasn't so bad. I'll warn you: the first time I tried this gel, the texture was really strange, but as long as you take it with water, it goes down very easily. After trial and error, I discovered that if I take these every three miles (or roughly every 30-35 minutes), they felt good in my stomach and kept me energized. During the actual half marathon, I consumed three gels total, but I carried four in my running belt just in case I dropped one. It's super important to work any sort of fueling into your training plan because you definitely don't want the first time you use gels to be on race day because you won't know how your body will react. To help you figure out your fueling strategy, read more about carbohydrates and extended exercise at Mayo Clinic.
Get an 8-pack from Amazon for $12.80.
Like the energy gels, figuring out what electrolyte mixes works for you is very personal! When I started training, I was using Liquid IV, which I still consume often, but I felt like the sugar would make my stomach hurt sometimes. After some Googling, I discovered that LMNT mixes contain just sodium, magnesium, and potassium and no added sugar, which really intrigued me! You do have to mix this with 16 to 32 ounces of water (it can taste very salty if you don't!). I know a lot of runners mix this into the water they drink while running, but I personally like to stick just to regular water while running and add this to my water the night before a long run as well as right after I run. I took hydration VERY seriously this training cycle (I notoriously hate drinking water lol), and I really think it was the biggest game changer in my performance. I could immediately tell if I wasn't hydrated enough by the first mile of a run, and it would be a struggle! Before introducing electrolytes into your training, make sure you talk to your doctor, and you can read more about electrolytes and exercise at Cleveland Clinic.
Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $20.
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.They have a super sturdy and cushioned sole without being heavy. I have flat feet, and these give me the support I need to keep running for miles without any discomfort. I don't think I'll ever wear any other running shoe again! it's important to go to a specialty running store to get evaluated and fitted by a professional. there is a left and a right sock because each one is designed to perfectly fit that particular foot, there's no irritating toe seam, and the tabs around the ankle prevent the sock from rolling down and blocks blister-causing rubbing. It glides on perfectly, it's unscented, and it doesn't melt away when you start to sweat. And after 13.1 miles, I had no chafing at all! When I tell you this is the best sports bra on the face of this earth, it is no exaggeration. They're much bigger than bandages, they stick really well to your skin, and they move with you instead of sliding around and falling off. Promising review: if you are prone to blisters, always have this tape on hand. I love how high up they go, and I can adjust the hidden drawstring for it to be a perfect fit. They have an 8-inch inseam, so there's no chance of any thigh rubbing here!! I also like that they are compressive but not *too* compressive that it feels uncomfortable. I love being able to sport my high pony and feel a nice breeze on my neck. even when it was pouring, the rain never got into my eyes It's 12 ounces, so it's not too heavy even when full, and the strap can be tightened to perfectly fit my tiny hand and not budge at all. My one piece of advice is to wear a running belt at your natural waist to help prevent bouncing as you run! Promising review: The foam is so cushy — you really feel like your feet are being hugged by little angels every time you take a step. But oh my goodness, I have grown to like these $25 Bluetooth headphones so much better than my AirPods! In my 12 weeks of training, I charged them twice. for a casual runner like me, I really just needed something that told me how far I'm running, what my pace is, and what my heart rate is. And that's exactly what this offers!! I really like that this one didn't have caffeine (which can upset my stomach sometimes), it tasted good, and the texture wasn't so bad. It's super important to work any sort of fueling into your training plan because you definitely don't want the first time you use gels to be on race day because you won't know how your body will react. LMNT mixes contain just sodium, magnesium, and potassium and no added sugar, which really intrigued me! I took hydration VERY seriously this training cycle (I notoriously hate drinking water lol), and I really think it was the biggest game changer in my performance.