I’m Training for the New York City Marathon — Here’s Everything I’m Using to Race

From lightweight jackets to energy chews, just run with me on this.

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Saucony runner tout
Saucony runner tout. Photo:

Saucony

Even if you’ve run a marathon before, then you know what it takes. The months of training are arguably more demanding than race day itself. And everyone needs a system (and products to help them make that system run smoothly). When I signed up to run the 26.2 miles, I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not an avid marathon runner, a member of a running club, or a long distance afficanado — I’m a fashion writer who’s had this on her bucket list for the past five years (and who’s extra competitive with her sister who just finished the Boston Marathon). As the marathon neared, I realized it was time to develop my system. 

And by system, I’m talking about everything I need to run a marathon. Whether you are going for a specific time or simply just trying to finish, there’s a plethora of items that you might not realize you need until the day you begin training. Having done a few half marathons before, I naively assumed that my old sneakers and shorts would be all I needed to get me through the distance. After my first Saturday doing a long run, I realized just how wrong I had been. So after I spent hours online researching running gear, I swallowed my pride and asked my sister for her favorite marathon products that helped her race. Through extensive sourcing from my running experiences, my sister’s recent expertise, the world wide web, and our marathon-completing friends, I compiled a list of every piece of equipment that I’ll be using to run the marathon.

From Saucony’s Ride 15 to Nike Flyknit running shoes, cropped leggings to biker spandex, and massage guns to cloud slides, I’ve rounded up all my favorite products to cover you for your 26.2 miles. Trust me, once you hit mile 16, you will never be so grateful for Clif’s energy chews

So even if you aren’t running a marathon in two months, keep reading to see the 25 best products that you need if you ever do decide to add 26.2 miles to your bucket list.

Running Shoes

Saucony Women's Ride 15 Running Shoe
Saucony Women's Ride 15 Running Shoe.

Amazon

Saucony Ride 15 Running Shoes

Per my sister’s request, I tried these sneakers out for one of my mid-distance runs and was immediately a fan. The midsole geometry and underfoot contouring advertised by Saucony does not disappoint, since the shoes  deliver comfortable support. Take it from my sister, who says the sneakers “cushion you so well that even though everything else hurts by the end of the 26.2 miles, at least your feet don’t.” And if you don’t believe my sister (I’ve been there), then take it from one reviewer on Saucony’s site who said that this is one of the only pairs they “trust for long runs over eight miles.”

To buy: amazon.com and zappos.com, from $83 (originally $140) 

Nike Flyknit Running Shoes

They may not be the most supportive option on the market, but I swear by these running shoes. Having run over 300 miles in each pair I wear, they are lightweight and as close to running barefoot as you can get. One reviewer agreed, calling them their “absolute favorite shoes” and even likening these shoes to “protective socks.”

To buy: nike.com, $120

Reebok Floatride Century Grow Running Shoes

With extreme cushion, I love these Reebok sneakers on longer runs. For a more grounded and stable option, the brand’s running shoes are not just sustainable, but also supportive. With lightweight cushioning, the foot-hugging fit compliments the spring from the natural rubber outsoles.

To buy: amazon.com and reebok.com, from $87 (originally $110)

Apparel

Lululemon Hotty Hot Low-Rise Lined Short
Lululemon Hotty Hot Low-Rise Lined Short.

Lululemon

Lululemon Hotty Hot Low-Rise Lined Shorts 2.5" 

I hardly ever go a day without wearing my Lululemon Hotty Hot shorts. This pair is the running staple I keep in my closet for training and race day. With a zippered pocket on the side for keys and energy chews, these baggy shorts let you move freely and comfortably. As one reviewer wrote, and I can attest, it “feels like [you are] not wearing any shorts!”

To buy: shop.lululemon.com, $68

Alo Yoga Biker Shorts

Recently I’ve found that spandex biker shorts are a necessity for long distance runs. These Alo Yoga ones are great, as the compression cuts down on any chafing and its ultra-soft fabric incorporates moisture-wicking technology that helps keep me comfortable on sweaty runs.  

To buy: aloyoga.com, $58

Nike Medium Support Non-padded Sports Bra

This Nike sports bra is a standard choice you won’t regret. It keeps everything in place while you move, and it has a comfortable fit without feeling restrictive. Honestly, I wear mine for more than just training – sometimes I even go straight from a run to the market to lunch with some friends. Many Amazon reviewers rave about the sports bra, with one saying it gives “great support, but [isn’t] too tight or too loose.” 

To buy: amazon.com, from $25 (originally $30)

Under Armour Performance Tech Socks

Don’t underestimate the importance of running with good socks, this is something I know from experience. Thin yet cushioned, these socks have mesh panels for extra breathability and have most definitely been a lifesaver during training. Truly, Under Armour has thought out everything. One purchaser raved that they “are the best running socks I’ve ever had.”

To buy: amazon.com, $16 for three pairs (originally $18)

Soul by SoulCycle Sheer Stripe Tank

I swear by my Soul by SoulCycle clothing. The brand’s tank tops are made with quality in mind,  are aesthetically appealing, and new styles are always available. Whether you take the classes or not, the apparel is worthwhile splurging on. Start with this sheer tank, which lets a little pop of sports bra peek through.

To buy: shop.soul-cycle.com, $48

Kari Traa Eva Jacket

This was the first piece of specialized running gear I ever owned, and it has lasted me for five years and counting. This jacket is perfect for the change of seasons, and with this November marathon looming, I can’t wait to break this out for my long fall runs.

To buy: amazon.com and backcountry.com, from $46 (originally $130)

The Giving Moment Shacket

I’m not sure the last time I’ve gone more than a day without wearing this shacket. For the days when it’s a little too hot for a jacket and a little too cold for just a tank top, this recycled nylon shirt-jacket combination is my favorite lightweight layer for a jog on cooler days. Available in 17 different colors, there is a shacket to match every running outfit. Plus, the Giving Movement produces pieces that are entirely sustainable, and $4 for each item sold is committed to charities that provide children with food, water, and shelter.

To buy: thegivingmovement.com, $164

Lululemon Swift Speed Crop Leggings

Yes, there’s more Lululemon on this list because it's absolutely essential when training for a marathon. At this point, I’m pretty sure a good portion of my closet is comprised of the brand. While Lululemon is known for being attached to a hefty price tag, the pieces that you purchase will last you years. Seriously, one of the pairs of Lululemon leggings I’m wearing to train is from when I was in high school.

To buy: shop.lululemon.com, $118 

Hydration and Sustenance

Clif Blocks Energy Chews
Clif Blocks Energy Chews.

Amazon

Clif Bloks

Another recommendation from the sister (Lily, I told you I’d listen), these energy chews will carry  you through training and race day. I’m a big fan of how sleek and portable they are, as they fit right into my fanny pack for easy access mid-run. When it comes to flavors, I can’t but help to back my sister on this one. “Stick to strawberry or mountain berry,” she told me before I tried them. An Amazon reviewer mentioned that they like how the product “doesn’t irritate my belly when running.”

To buy: amazon.com, $13 for pack of three

Amphipod Hydraform Water Bottle

For on-the-go hydration, this handheld water bottle is a must-have. It has an insulation sleeve that always keeps my water cool. Plus, the adjustable strap keeps it in place, while the self-sealing locking valve prevents leakage. 

To buy: fleetfeet.com, $27

Liquid I.V. Hydration Powder Packs

For consumption before, during, or after your run, the electrolyte drink mix delivers hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water on its own. It takes me five seconds to use: just pour one packet into a 16-ounce of water bottle, give it a shake, and it’s all ready to go. I love how hydration is made easy, and reviewers agree, as one said that these packets are “one of the best hydration products I have tried.”  

To buy: amazon.com, $23 for pack of 16

Running Accessories

Nike Victory Road Tint Sunglasses
Nike Victory Road Tint Sunglasses.

Nike

Nike Victory Road Tint Sunglasses

Whether you’re a competitive runner or simply just going out for a few miles, these glasses protect your eyes with their tinted lenses. I personally love their sleek appearance as well, and I’m not going to lie, they make me feel pretty cool while running on the West Side Highway.

To buy: nike.com, $175

Westward Leaning Volt Lenses

Sometimes I like to mix it up a bit, and Westward Leaning’s Volt lenses give me the option to switch lenses in and out with cyan and orchid hues. Just switch them into a pair of their shades, and you are good to go. Aside from this unique aspect, the lenses all offer 100 percent UV protection with anti-scratch, anti-sweat, and fingerprint-resistant technology.

To buy: westwardleaning.com, $35

Lululemon Fast and Free Armband

This is the wristband that I live by, since I prefer to keep my phone on me at all times when I run. Lululemon’s adjustable armband stays in place and in fashion. Coming in three different colors and two sizes, the bands have a style for everybody. 

To buy: shop.lululemon.com, $38

Body Glide for Her Anti Chafe Balm

A quick application before I put on my shorts or sports bra, this balm is perfect for any skin sensitivity to rubbing. With nearly 27,000 reviews, there is a large fan base for this balm, and one user “cannot begin [to explain] how amazing this stuff is.” They went on to say that “this lasts me the whole day without having to reapply. Amazing and magical stuff right here.” 

To buy: amazon.com, $11

Adidas Superlite Performance Hat

If you are anything like me, your hair is always in your face (and not just because I have bangs). With this hat, my hair stays off my face and my face stays protected from the sun. A true win-win situation. One reviewer is a fan because their “head sweats a lot and this piece of magic sucks the sweat off my head and absorbs it for quick evaporation.”

To buy: amazon.com, $21 (originally $24)

Slim Running Belt

This belt does it all. It carries your essentials (phone, keys, and cards) with no bouncing and no chafing. I love how the adjustable waist strap provides a custom fit, as well as how the reflective design ensures safe running at all times of day. One rave reviewer said their “husband stole it from me because he liked it so much,” and noted that they have plans to buy a second one. 

To buy: amazon.com, $14

Apple Airpods

It’s not surprising that they made the list, because Apple’s Airpods have remained my favorite headphones for both running and non-running endeavors. Many shoppers agree, with one praising that the earbuds “stay in my ears during my entire run.” 

To buy: amazon.com, $100 (originally $159)

Recovery

Hyperice Hypervolt Plus Bluetooth Percussion Massage Device

Amazon

Hypervolt Massage Gun

I try to never forget recovery, whether it’s post race, during training, or even on an off day. The Hypervolt Massage Gun ensures that my muscles are relieved of stiffness and soreness, promoting recovery at its finest. The sleek and soundless design is perfect for any home (even my little West Village apartment), with hours of power to heal. One fan wrote that “it continues to outperform my expectations.”

To buy: amazon.com, $229

321 Strong Foam Roller

One of the biggest takeaways from growing up playing competitive soccer and tennis is to always use a foam roller. I only need a few minutes on this compact foam roller, and I’m good as new (almost). Fellow foam roller users agree, with one gushing how they “can’t explain how good I felt after my first 10 minutes rolling out.”

To buy: amazon.com, $33 (originally $45)

Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soak

This is one of my personal favorites on this list, since there is no better feeling than sinking into an epsom salt-filled bath after a heavy run. Easing aches and pains, reviewers all over the world are soothed by this product. A frequent user said it “works well for stressed muscles and [the] smell lingers, leaving your bathroom smelling great.” An added bonus!

To buy: amazon.com, $6 for three pounds

Cloud Slides

After a long day of training or racing, there’s no better feeling than slipping into my favorite “cloud” slides. There is a hue for all preferences, coming in 19 different colors and at a reasonable $20 price point. Give your feet a well-deserved break and let them bask in pure comfort and rest.

To buy: amazon.com, from $20

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