10 Accessories Runners Should Consider Buying
Everyone knows runners need shoes, but what else should they have? Here are 10 items you should consider buying to make sure you're fully equipped to hit the ground running—literally.
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If you want to accurately track your distance and monitor your progress, you want a GPS device. If you'd rather not spend money on something used for just one purpose, there are multi-functional running watches and smartphone apps with GPS features. Popular apps include Nike+, RunKeeper and Strava.
Heart Rate Monitor
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To measure the intensity of your run, try using a heart rate monitor instead of feeling around for your pulse. Like GPS devices, many running watches can double as a heart rate monitor. There are also smartphone apps that serve as an alternative, but they can be difficult to use during training.
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Hydration before and after a workout is key for runners. Once your distance increases, however, you will also need to hydrate during the run. Since holding a water bottle while running can be bothersome, try some other options. CamelBaks, hydration belts and handheld bottles are great alternatives.
Weather and Gender-Specific Clothing
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Clothing needs will differ depending on gender, body type and climate, but are important nonetheless. The general rule of thumb is to ditch cotton for synthetic fabrics, as cotton clothing becomes uncomfortable when drenched with sweat. Compression socks, sports bras and hats are some items to consider.
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The importance of recovering and warming up should never be underestimated, and foam rollers help with both areas. Use these to loosen up prior to a run, break up the lactic acid afterwards and massage your muscles.
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A stretching strap is another useful tool for warming up and recovery. Many straps are adjustable with slots to insert your feet and grip with your hands, and they provide alternate stretches for your hamstrings, quads, hips and more.
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Beginning runners often encounter issues with their ankles, feet and shins. Directional ankle movements with resistance bands can strengthen these areas and prevent future injury.
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Studies have shown around 70 percent of all runners experience an injury each year. Even if you are fortunate enough to be of the other 30 percent, that doesn't mean you'll be free from inevitable sorenesses. Purchase an ice pack to alleviate the pain from injuries, reduce swelling and treat sore muscles after a run.
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For many runners, nothing helps them push through a tough workout more than their favorite song blasting through their headphones. If you like music on your run, find reliable headphones that will stay put. You may also want to consider a case that straps to your arm or waistline, as holding the phone in your hand is not ideal.
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Though we often rely on technology, sometimes a simple notebook is the best way to chart your progress and write down your goals. You can also log your caloric intake and keep an eye on your nutrition.