Hoka Rincon 3

As a recreational runner, racing in a marathon has long been on my bucket list. After deciding that this was finally the year, I submitted my registration, crafted a training plan and got to putting some miles on my legs.

When it comes to long-distance running, everyone has different training needs. Some swear by compression bands, kinesiology tape or certain vitamins and supplements. And while no product will make your legs magically move faster or completely dissolve the post-race aches, there are some that can help improve your recovery and keep you primed for your next run.

If you subscribe to an active lifestyle, you probably already have a few items on hand to kickstart your training, but if you need some more ideas, here are 20 products that helped me make the journey to the finish line.


$125 at Hoka

Hoka Rincon 3
With any type of exercise, finding a shoe that offers you comfort and support is critical. I’m a huge fan of Hoka for running shoes, especially since they offer a lot of their shoes in wide sizes, which I find fit my feet better. Hoka’s Rincon 3s entered my life when I retired my beloved Clifton 8s a few weeks into my serious training, but I would happily lace up in either at any time.

$330 $200 at Amazon

Garmin Vivoactive 4
Since marathons are really all about pacing, having some sort of way to track your runs and tempo, be it handwritten, smartphone app or fitness watch, is a great idea. I love using my Garmin watch to monitor my pace in real time, so I can make sure I don’t burn out early. It’s kind of like having a digital coach right on your wrist. Plus, it’s great for tracking data from all your runs including distance, mile splits and elevation gains, which you can view through Garmin’s smartphone app.

$20 From $10 at Amazon

Adidas Women’s Superlite Performance Visor
I’ve always been a fan of running hats, but I’ve started to prefer visors since they let the top of my head breath and give me more style options for keeping my hair off my back. This Adidas visor pulls double-duty for me. It keeps the sweat from my hairline from rolling down my face and gives me extra sun protection.

$58 at Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices Hudson 4-Inch Short
Your clothes should make you feel comfortable and supported from the beginning of your run to the very end. I did all of my long runs in Spyder’s Woven Shorts (which now seem to be unavailable). But these Hudson 4-Inch Shorts from Outdoor Voices are very similar; both are lined and lightweight, with a thick waistband and a pocket for keys or gels.

$250 $150 at Amazon

Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds
I’d been rocking with my beloved $30 wireless Amazon headphones for a while but decided I needed to upgrade to something with longer battery life, both for race day and training. Since these Powerbeats Pros fit over the ear, they don’t fall out like my old ones used to. In addition to having great sound, they’re also sweatproof and have a killer nine-hour battery life on full charge.


$50 at Amazon

Hydro Flask
While hydration is key during a run, it’s also very key before and after one too. I’ve always loved having a bigger 32- or 40-ounce water bottle since you just have to fill it up less and can have more water on hand. Especially before particularly long or hot runs, I made sure to drink at least a full 32 ounces of water both before I set out and right after I got home.

$30 From $21 at Amazon

Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets
My first few 10-plus mile runs really took a lot out of me and left me feeling exhausted and sometimes sick-like, so I knew I needed to find a fix if I wanted to run longer distances. I started adding these Nuun tablets to my post-run hydration routine to get some electrolytes back into my body and help it return to normal a little quicker. They’re super easy to drop in and are great for fueling up pre-run too.

From $45 at Amazon

CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 oz
The peak of my training took place in the summer which meant I did plenty of sweaty, sticky, hot runs. On any day, but especially hot ones, hydration is essential. This CamelBak pack let me have water on demand anytime I needed it and is easy to refill at public water fountains. And since it sits on your back, you can keep your hands free and store small items like house keys or energy gels.

Pre-run prep

$43 at Maurten

Maurten Gel 100, 12-pack
I tested a lot of different energy goos and gels before race day to find ones that made me feel good but also didn’t make me gag. This Maurten gel was by far my favorite, and the one I used the most on race day. It pretty much just tastes like sweet, unflavored jello, and because it’s a little bit thicker you actually can chew it (I know sounds weird) to help break it up and get it down easier. However, if you want something truly chewable, the Gu Energy Chews were another one of my go-tos.

$7 at Walgreens

Tiger Balm Extra Strength Pain Relieving Ointment
Marathon training requires consistency, even on days when you, or your body, don’t really feel like running. While having a good warm and cool-down stretching routine can do wonders for your muscles, some days you just need a little extra relief. I never pushed through serious injuries or pains, but before my runs, I’d use a few dabs of Tiger Balm to help relieve the stiff or tight feeling in my muscles. Usually, this made me feel good enough to at least get a mile or two in and let my legs loosen up. On race day, I had my support crew keep a can of Biofreeze on hand so I could quickly spray away any mid-race pains.

From $20 at Supergoop

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Sunscreen is always a must if you’re going to be spending time outside, especially in direct sunlight. This is my go-to everyday face sunscreen but I’ve also been loving it for running since I never have any issues with it stinging my eyes or irritating my skin. And I always make sure to partner it with sweat-resistant sunscreen to protect the rest of my body too.

$7 at Target

Old Spice Men’s Wilderness with Lavender Antiperspirant & Deodorant
Obviously, any kind of deodorant is a good idea to eliminate odor while you workout. Because I love dual-use products, I also use mine as a makeshift anti-chafing stick on my thighs and groin when I run in shorts.

$40 $29 at Amazon

Day Designer Academic Planner
Since writing something by hand always makes me feel more likely to commit to doing it, I wrote out my full training plan for the marathon. This Day Designer planner has been my go-to planner for a few years because it has plenty of space to track my work, personal and fitness tasks along with any other training notes or important dates.

From $10 at Amazon

‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir’ by Haruki Murakami
No one in my immediate circle has ever run a marathon, so I was mostly on this journey alone. I was also sourcing information all over the place, including at my local bookstore. While this isn’t a book that will give you tips and tricks for making it through the race, it did give me a certain sense of comfort in my early training days and gave me a new lens on the trials that accompany running.


$88 at Lululemon

Lululemon The Mat 3mm
Training for a marathon doesn’t just mean you’re solely running. You’ll also want to incorporate resistance training, active rest days and regular stretching. I use this Lululemon mat, which is a thinner version of our pick for the best yoga mat, almost every day for yoga, at-home strength training or just lying on after a run.

$76 $56 at Amazon

FitIndex Electric Foam Roller
I love (and love to hate) foam rolling. It hurts but just makes you feel so good. There are tons of variations on foam rollers with different features and lengths. While a standard one will be just fine to loosen up your body pre-run, post-run or really any time you feel tight, I’m inclined to ones that vibrate like this FitIndex roller. The vibrations help me target smaller knots in my quads and IT band that are hard to reach with regular rolling, and the consistent motion honestly just makes the entire experience a little more enjoyable.

$4 at Amazon

Gaiam Restore Ultimate Foot Massage Roller
Running can take a toll on your feet, both physically and aesthetically. This foot roller ball helps me release tension in my foot arches which is great for running, but also if you love wearing heels or just walk a lot. You can also use it to trigger-point or massage smaller muscles when they need extra attention.

From $14 at Amazon

Classic Crocs
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Crocs are comfy. After the race, slipping on my Crocs felt like sending my feet to rest on marshmallow pillows. Your feet are ultra important when running frequently and Crocs give your feet more support when walking around your house or running errands without being as confining as casual sneakers.

From $9 at Amazon

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
Having a designated sweat towel keeps you from having to constantly launder your regular bath towels. A microfiber towel, like this one from Rainleaf, is perfect for wiping your brow during strength workouts and for keeping your yoga mat or floor from getting slick with sweat during your cool-downs.

$10 $4 at Amazon

Natural Pumice Stone
Runner’s feet aren’t known for being particularly pretty. While you might not be able to keep your feet completely smooth, blister or callus-free, a pumice stone (perhaps partnered with some nail clippers or files) will at least help you maintain a semi-normal foot state.