10 Running Gear Items I Can’t Live Without

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1) GPS watch

I’ve been through 3 Garmins over my running career after finally hanging up my Timex. My Garmin Fenix 3 is now a couple of years old, but still has so many extras that I have never touched.


I only need to charge it once per week or so and it can last for nearly an entire day in GPS mode. It rarely takes more than a few seconds to obtain a GPS signal. Plus, I love being able to easily see the large screen.

Like any technological device, it has blips every now and then, but these are few and far between.

2) Shorts

For years, Nike Tempo shorts have been my go to. I will buy a pair of shorts from another brand and I keep going back to the Tempos.

The liner has the perfect amount of stretch and the shorts are the perfect length. Plus, the material is lightweight, they come in tons of colors, and are very affordable. The only downside is their lack of pockets!

3) Socks

I’ve been a brand junkie of a lot of different pairs of socks, but ever since I ran 100 miles with no blisters in WrightSocks, I’ve been a huge fan. They are made of 2 separate layers that attached so they stay aligned. By adding another layer, friction is absorbed between the layers, rather than your foot.

4) Sports bra

Sports bras are a very personal thing dependent on your body shape. That being said, I love Target’s Champion sports bras, specifically the Power Core line.

They have a flat, seamless band that wraps underneath and reduces chafing. Plus, the flat edging along the top portion sits comfortably under the arms and across the chest. Being inexpensive is an added bonus.

5) Gel

I’ll admit that I use a lot of different brands of gels as I enjoy trying new things and revisiting old favorites. But my all-time favorite? Huma Apple Cinnamon. The flavor tastes good in both warm and cold weather and the texture is more food-like and less sticky gel.

Plus, I like the idea that the ingredients are all-natural and I can share them with my vegan friends.

6) Anti-chafe balm

Good old Vaseline is my favorite anti-chafe balm. Here in the humid South, I’ve tried all kinds of balms and creams to keep chafe at bay. But I’ve found that Vaseline stays on better than most products on the market and the price simply cannot be beat!

7) Multi-use item

Years ago, I got a Buff as a gift from another runner. I used it just as a headband for quite awhile until I discovered just how versatile it was! In the winter, it can cover my mouth or neck, used as beanie, or wrapped over my ears.

In the summer, I use it as a headband, wrap it around my wrist to wipe away sweat, or stick a few ice cubes in it around my neck.

8) Portable music player

From cassette Walkman to Discman to first generation iPod, I have been carrying music with me to run for a long, long time. With phones getting bigger, I still balk at carrying mine if out for a short run and grab my teeny tiny iPod Shuffle. It stores more than enough songs and the battery lasts for weeks.

The best part is that is incredibly lightweight and can clip to my shirt, my shorts, or my hat. Unfortunately, they were discontinued last year so fellow Shuffle lovers will have to find a suitable replacement for the future.

9) Safety device

Pepper spray on a keychain is one device that I hope to never use. However, it is lightweight, fits in the palm of my hand, and is right next to my car key so I can remember to take it with me when I go for a run.

10) Didn’t-know-I-needed-it-until-I-had-it item

I often drive to where I run and I used towels to protect my car seat for a long time before I was given a SeatShield. It is a microfiber towel with a reversed hood that slips over the headrest to keep it from sliding around.

They are waterproof and don’t absorb odor, but are machine washable when they inevitably need to be cleaned.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

This post includes affiliate links, so we get a share of the revenue if you purchase.

From my GPS sports watch to the gear I use to protect my car when I'm out running (especially on long runs), my can't-miss items that make my run go great.
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