If you’re considering running a half marathon, you’re not alone. In 2017, 18.3 million people registered for races, with 11% of those registrants being half-marathon runners. Whether you’re looking for your next fitness challenge, finally trying to complete that New Year’s resolution, or simply have an upcoming race in your city, it’s always a good time to try your first half marathon. However, preparation and planning are key, so SPY has compiled a list of items designed to make your first race go as smoothly as possible.
1. adidas Men’s Adizero Tempo 9 Running Shoe
For Marathons or Half Marathons, any old shoe won’t do. It’s crucial to find the right pair — one that’s ideally designed for long distance running, not only to help your performance, but to prevent potential injury. The Adidas Adizero Tempo 9 has a snug fit, with the upper portion of the shoe made with a mesh fitting to increase breathability.
2. Hydration Belt for Running
Water belts are designed to keep you hydrated without the added hassle of having to carry a water bottle around with you. They clasp securely around your waist, and each belt contains two small, unobtrusive bottles, as well as a handy front pouch to store power bars, phones or keys. For an additional marathon hack, you can freeze the bottles, so they keep you cool in the beginning, and provide hydration once they defrost.
3. Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks
A priority on anyone’s Half Marathon shopping list should be reliable socks that are designed to prevent those pesky, painful blisters. This pair is made from soft, organic merino wool, and contain additional padding in the toe and heel areas to target sections of your feet that are especially vulnerable to blisters.
4. Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen
Your feet aren’t the only part of your body that will need protection during your half marathon. This sunscreen is designed to stay on even when you’re sweating profusely (as you’re apt to do during a half marathon), and it’s SPF 70+, keeping you burn free, so you can focus on reaching your goal time.
5. Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly Skin Protectant
This item may come as a surprise, but many seasoned runners swear by it. Apply a thin layer around your entire foot and in between your toes to prevent potential blisters, as well as over any sensitive skin you think may be particularly prone to chafing.
6. CLIF BAR – BLOKS Energy Chews
These bars are packed with nutrients and high-energy foods to provide fast fuel. Choose from a variety of flavors, three of which contain caffeine, as well as sodium and potassium for electrolyte replacement. They’re also compact, making them an easy addition to any marathon belt or bag, or stuffed in a pocket.
7. Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World
To mentally prepare and motivate yourself in time for race day, pick up a copy of Bill Rogers’ inspirational true story of how he went from a complete unknown to winning the 1975 Boston Marathon and the moniker “Boston Billy.” The book makes not only an entertaining read, but a great reminder that running is for everyone.