Not-So-Obvious Gear Every Runner Needs
Whether you're a veteran marathoner or a Couch-to-5K newbie there's always room in your running arsenal for new gear. After road-testing dozens of running products and finding out first-hand how they make a runner perform or look better I've developed a list of some not-so-obvious must-have gear that runners of any level should consider:
Mile 22 Bags: Ever wonder what to do with your old race bibs? Do you put them in a shadow box and hang it on your wall? Do you stuff them away in a box? Maybe you quilt them together for a very uncomfortable blanket. Mile 22 Bags has come up with a great alternative: They take your bibs and turn them into bags, from gym duffel bags to messenger bags. Finally, a solution for that pile of bibs that just seems to get bigger and bigger. From $46.00
Stuffitts: You spend so much money on your running shoes that it only makes sense to protect this investment as best as you can. When your running shoes get sweaty, stinky, and start to lose their form what's a runner to do? I've tried stuffing my shoes with newspapers, potpourri, and everything in between. I found Stuffitts and they not only changed my life but extended the life of my running shoes. These inserts are form-fitted, reusable cedar inserts that combat moisture and kill odor. They also allow you to sling your running shoes over your shoulder as you enjoy a victory walk from your most recent race. $24.95
Gel-bot: One of my pet peeves of long training runs is having to open a gel, suck it out of the wrapper, and then open a water and drink it down. It had always seemed to be such a process and one that could be improved on. Well, Hydrapak obviously had the same issue and came up with a great solution in the Gel-bot. It's both simple and amazing : You load the inner chamber with the energy gel and fill the outer chamber with water. When the nozzle is pulled open, you get water only. With the nozzle pushed down, squeeze to get the gel out of the center valve. No more sticky hands and ruining your teeth trying to open a gel while you're running. Brilliant! $13.99
Knuckle Lights: I hate to think that we're getting closer and closer to days with less sunlight. If you like to run after work or are a pre-dawn runner you know the importance of staying safe and being noticed by vehicular traffic. I love Knuckle Lights not only because they make runners safer and brighten your running path, but also they are designed with runners in mind. They are the only lights designed to be worn on your hands when running, in the perfect position for dark environments. $39.99
Pro Stretch: Calves and lower legs need to be stretched frequently if you are a runner. If you want improve ankle strength for stability and promote healthy Achilles and calves a Pro Stretch is your answer. I used this device daily in college while in the trainer's room (you place your foot in it and do simple exercises), but it wasn't again until I started running marathons that I invested in one for my office and one at my house. The Pro Stretch is easy to use and only takes a few minutes daily to keep your lower legs strong, stretched, and running-ready. $39.99
What not-so-obvious products have you added to your running that have helped you a lot? Have you tried any of the products here?
— Scott Miles, Running Report
Scott Miles blogs at iRunnerBlog.com and is co-founder of #RunChat, a twice-monthly Twitter chat for runners. He has completed multiple races, from marathons to 5ks. When Scott isn't running or blogging about it, he is a sales executive, a supportive husband, a Mets fan, and enjoys everything that the New York City area has to offer.