Updated June 23, 2013
To many runners, gear may not seem important. The only thing you really need when you go for a run is a good pair of shoes, right? But if you train for hours on end, it’s important to think about taking some extra items with on the run.
It’s important to protect your skin while out on a run. You may think you don’t need to apply sunscreen, but if you’re running outside for hours, it is a necessity. The last thing you want after a nice long run is peeling, painful skin. Even if you’ve made it unscathed by the sun to date, consider the long-term effects sun damage will have on your skin and start lathering!
The best kind of sunscreen to use on a run is a sweat-proof type meant for sports. I recommend Banana Boat’s Handheld Sport Sunblock, which comes in a great travel size, and Raw Elements Sunscreen, which is environmentally friendly and small enough to carry in your running shorts.
- Related: The best sunscreens for runners
Many runners don’t like to carry their phones with them on a run. But if you’re out running for more than an hour, it’s a good idea to bring one with you. You could end up lost or too tired to make it to the end of your run. You also may need to report an accident, which could make your phone a life saver.
When exploring a new trail or route, you may not know where to find water along the way. It’s best to carry your own just in case. There are lots of products for runners that allow you to carry water with you on the go.
I own a FuelBelt that wraps around my waist and holds three water bottles. FuelBelts have come a long way since I purchased mine three years ago. At the time, I felt it was a bit clunky, but there are many new options on their website today. I have seen many people on the trail with a Nathan thermal water bottle. This product looks convenient because it has a pouch that can hold keys or a phone, and the water bottle holds nicely in your hand.
Don’t get stuck on the trails without identification. If you were to get in an accident, identification gives emergency responders the information they need to treat you and a way to contact your family quickly.
- Related: Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes’s long run essentials (podcast)
Whether you’re running in the early morning or at night, especially if you’re alone, carry a bottle of mace or a whistle with you. And it may not be other people you have to protect yourself from. Depending on where you live, you may encounter an angry bear or other wild animal.
- Related: Chased on the run: one woman’s story of survival (podcast)