If you’re getting ready to run your first marathon, you’ve probably spent the last few months in full-on prep mode, be it with an intensive training schedule or a ton – and we do mean ton – of pre-race research on what you can expect come race day. To help get you ready for the big day, we’ve rounded up some of the key marathon essentials to snag before hitting the path.
The Right Pre-Workout Fuel
Picky Bars All Natural Gluten Free Vegan Protein Energy Bar, $28 (box of 10)
While a big part of getting through your first marathon is the training that comes before the race, it never hurts to have an extra last-minute boost. Munching on a nutritious energy bar right before a race is a great way to fuel up ahead of the run, and Picky Bars offers an all-natural, gluten-free bar option that is optimized for sports thanks to unique qualities like a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio.
The Right Running Shoe
Nike Flyknit Racer, $180
If you try to run a marathon in subpar kicks, you can trust us when we say you’ll end up paying for it. To make sure you get through the 26.2-mile race without the common (and totally painful) problem of blisters, it’s important to not only invest in good sneakers, but to invest in good running sneakers. This is because running sneakers should have considerably more support than your usual exercise shoes, since running puts repeated pressure on your feet over prolonged periods of time and requires that your shoes hold up.
The Right Mid-Race Fuel
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews, $18
Fueling up before a marathon is important, but when you’re running a crazy long distance like you are with a marathon, it’s important to fuel up during the race, too. And since it’s unlikely that you’re going to stop in the middle of the race for a full-on meal, your secret weapon is small, energy-packed snacks that you can bring along your run and nibble on when you need a boost.
The Right Socks
You might think it’s fine to just slip on the first pair of socks your hands get a hold of when they reach into your drawer on the morning of race day, but think again. Regular old cotton socks might be fine for a day spent at work or strolling around on the weekends, but they’re not the way to go when it comes to a marathon. For that, you’ll want something with exceptional traction to keep your foot secure in your running sneaker, and something that has fast-drying, antibacterial properties to keep your feet in good shape not just during, but after the run, too.
The Right Sunscreen
Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen, $10
Any time that you’re going to be spending a considerable period of time outside, it’s important to make sure that you’re keeping your skin safe from the elements. Which is really just a fancy way of telling you to do what should already be a habit: wearing sunscreen. Running a marathon means lots of sun exposure, and while it’s important to protect your whole body from those rays, it’s especially important to make sure that you’re giving your face the protection it needs with a specially-formulated lotion.
The Right Water Bottle
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Flask, $21
While your marathon is sure to have hydration stations set up along the way, you never know when you’re going to be in serious need of a quick gulp of water. Make sure you’re always prepared with an easy-to-carry water bottle that straps right onto your hand. Not only does this option hold 18 ounces of water, but it also has a pouch so that you can easily store essentials like your phone, keys, and ID while running.