Since I've been marathon training, I've quickly realized that long runs require careful planning. After three months of weekly long runs in sunny, rainy, and windy weather, I've learned which products have made my two-hour-plus runs a little easier. Read on for a few of my favorites, and let me know which products help you on your long runs!
Earbuds: A soundtrack is essential when you're motivating to complete a long run alone. You need earbuds that you can put in and forget about, so take the time to find the right fit for you. I love the Yurbuds Inspire Pro ($60), because they stay put and deliver clear sound, and the iPhone-compatible volume and phone button is easy to use. I also like that it is water-resistant, so I don't have to worry if I'm running in the rain. You can also try the new line of Yurbuds Inspire For Women ($30) for a smaller fit.
Sports drink: If you're going to be running for a long time, then food energy is essential. After making the mistake of not fueling enough when I first started my long-run training, I finally found the right solution with Tailwind Endurance Fuel ($20 for a 25-serving bag), a carbohydrate and electrolyte powder that dissolves straight into your water bottle. You can control how much you add, depending on your level of exertion; just add the powder to your water, shake, and head out on your run. I love that the mild-tasting drink doesn't upset your stomach and the fact that it's made of organic ingredients.
Energy gels: To prepare for my race, I've been alternating between using a sports drink and taking water and gels on my long runs, and the Honey Stinger Energy Gels ($31 for a box of 24) have quickly become my favorites. It's basically a packet of honey with added vitamins and electrolytes, and I love that the gels taste natural, unlike some gels, and are easy to eat when you're running.
Two more products I love for my long runs after the break!
Sunglasses: Sunglasses are essential when it's bright, but they can help shield your eyes from windy conditions, sand, and debris, as well. I like the Oakley Warm Up sunglasses ($130) for long runs; they're designed with athletes in mind, meaning they won't slip off your face when you get sweaty, while still being fashionable enough to wear when you're not on a long run. The plastic UV lens won't distort your vision, which helps when you are focusing on the long road ahead.
Ice pack: A 20-mile run can leave joints and legs aching with pain, so I always reach for my Ace Reusable Cold Compress ($11) from my freezer after my post-run stretching and snack routine. Its large size means I can wrap it around my knee and elevate without having to hold it in place, and the soft-touch feel of the ice pack helps it mold to the area I need. After 20 minutes, I can just pop it back in my freezer to use later on in the day.