5 Weird Things Runners Buy

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

Technology has found its way into just about everything runners do, eat and wear. Some of it is amazing, and some of it you could never imagine using again. What’s your favorite gear?

1) Energy Gels

Eating and carrying “real” food while running for hours is doable, but energy gels simplify the process. These little packets of calories are designed to keep your carbohydrate storage from completely emptying.

They can be tucked easily into pockets and are easily consumed while running. However, despite amazing sounding flavor names, the sticky, odd texture of most gels will likely not become a mainstream snack.

2) Anti-Chafe Supplies

Despite the innovation of tech fabric, running while wearing clothing still presents the possibility of friction. Too much friction over time can lead to nasty bouts of chafing.

Fortunately, there are a slew of options in the anti-chafe market–creams, sticks, gels, balms, powders, etc. Just be warned that many brands of sticks are shaped like deodorant and they are not interchangeable.

3) Compression Socks

Years ago, the only people buying compression socks were those trying to medically reduce the risk of blood clots and improve circulation. Now that runners have gotten a hold of this “technology,” colorful socks can be seen during training, racing, and recovering.

Research has yet to prove undeniable benefits, but runners who use them tout the increased blood flow and reduction in muscle vibration.

4) Foam Rollers

Some really smart inventor is making a ton of money selling large pieces of foam shaped like giant Tootsie Rolls. Foam rollers are a great way to stretch muscles and increase flexibility.

It’s a little like self-massage and yoga rolled (pun intended) into one. We’re just really sad that we didn’t think of it first.

5) Drink Tablets

Maybe these are the gateway to the food pills seen in sci-fi movies? Designed to pack easily and requiring only fresh water, drink tablets are used by runners in both training and racing. Some provide electrolytes, some provide caffeine, and most are low in sugar.

The tablets can be helpful to distance runners in warmer climates who often struggle with balancing hydration and sodium levels.

(MORE: 5 Half Marathons With Unique Swag)

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