November 8, 2013

Friday Favorites: Marathon Accessories Edition

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Dove. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

It is taking me forever to write my NYC Marathon race report, though I did get part one up late last night (click to read if you missed it). But for those of you who thought that I would stop at 100 marathons, uh uh – I’m actually running my next marathon, the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon, tomorrow. It’s going to be quite different than NYC – very small field, no spectators except the wildlife, and views of the ocean and sky rather than streets and skyscrapers. But it also just made DailyBurn’s list of best fall marathons, of which I’ve already run seven. (In case you missed it, I also wrote a post on Tuesday for DailyBurn on the top 10 lessons I’ve learned from running 100 marathons. Check it out!)

I’ve heard from several people that they really liked my post two weeks ago on my favorite items for travel , so while I continue writing my New York City Marathon full report, I thought I’d share some of the “accessories” (toiletries, etc) that I bring with me for marathons. Although it’s frequently said that running is the one sport where you don’t need anything other than a pair of shoes, these items make my marathons a lot more comfortable!

Favorite Marathon Accessories


The first thing I do when I’m getting ready for race day is strip down out of my PJs and start slathering on the Aquaphor. I know I’ve posted about Aquaphor before, but it really is amazing in terms of keeping you blister free! I usually put it on my chest, inner thighs, and all over my feet, and it really proves its worth when it’s rainy/wet or if it’s really hot and I’m sweating like crazy. If I forget my Aquaphor, this is one thing I will absolutely drive to various Walmarts/Targets/drugstores to find some before I have to run!

Packing notes: this needs to go in your 3-1-1 plastic bag when you go through security, not in your suitcase.


After putting my clothes on, I next put on deodorant – and lately, my preference is the Dove Clear Tone Deodorant that I reviewed about a month ago. Have you ever smelled someone absolutely awful at mile 16 of a marathon and forced yourself to run faster just so you wouldn’t have to smell their sweat anymore? I have, and as much as I like to motivate people to go faster, being smelly is not the way to do it. It does a good job going on smoothly, not getting all over my race clothes, and having a mild, pleasant scent without being so overwhelming that other runners will think I put on perfume before heading out. (But I will completely own up to putting on a little bit of makeup before a race – sorry, but undereye circles are not my idea of looking pretty in a race pic.) Like Aquaphor, you can find Dove Clear Tone Antiperspirant in just about any big box store or drugstore.

Packing notes: this needs to go in your 3-1-1 plastic bag when you go through security, not in your suitcase.


At this point, I usually strap on my Garmin. My original Garmin Forerunner 405 got stolen this spring, so I replaced it with the Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS, which I bought for under $200 at Roadrunner Sports (and their customer service impressed me so much that I wrote an entire post about how awesome they are). Although the 210 is a cheaper/less sophisticated model than my original, I honestly haven’t noticed a difference – apparently I didn’t use any of the more advanced features of the 405 anyway! I don’t always run for time, but it’s still nice to be able to check how far along in the marathon wherever I am, rather than waiting for a mile marker. Plus, since it beeps with the splits every mile, I can set mini goals (e.g., “go sub-9 for this mile”) even when I’m not close to meeting my overall time goal – which keeps me going.

Packing notes: if you are checking a bag (whyyyyyyy?? Are you moving??), make sure this is in your carryon. Although it’s not the most expensive model, it would still suck to lose it and have to replace it!


Since I love running with music and/or podcasts (not an accessory, but you can check out Pocketcasts as my favorite podcast app), headphones are critical. I’ve tried a lot over the years, but have come to really love Earhoox – mostly because they slide right onto existing headphones that I can get cheap/free and throw away/destroy without having to worry about them. Earhoox are only $24 for a ten pack, and despite how much I travel and my propensity for losing tiny things, I’ve only gone through about two or three pairs. (The headphones, on the other hand, I destroy like crazy!)

Packing notes: these are super tiny, so I put them in a little sandwich bag before putting them in my suitcase, and then while I’m running, I use the sandwich bag as a second phone case to protect it from sweat/rain/sloshing Gatorade/etc.


I always save my heat sheets from previous races, but I learned while looking for pictures of this one that you can actually buy heatsheets yourself for only a few bucks! These are great for wrapping around yourself at the start of a race to stay warm. Since they are usually given to me at the end of a race and they get all sweaty and gross when I wrap them around myself, I have no use for them other than wearing them right before I’m about to get all sweaty and gross again – which means I have no qualms with tossing it aside either at the start of a race or even as far as one mile in when I’m completely warmed up. Unfortunately, at this year’s NYC Marathon, security was taking heatsheets away from runners (I guess because they can hide things?) – so make sure you check your  marathon’s webpage for banned items to check that a heatsheet isn’t on the list.

Packing notes: if you lay this out flat and fold it up smoothly, it takes up almost no room at all in your suitcase. It can also be brought through TSA checkpoints without a problem, and as a bonus, the foil in the blanket sometimes seems to block the x-rays. It’s possible that I may have smuggled a bottle of maple syrup home from New Hampshire in this manner, though of course I can neither confirm nor deny, and do not condone these types of law-breaking heathen shenanigans…

What else do you bring to a race?

Disclaimer: I received product samples from Dove to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating. I also previously received Aquaphor samples, though have been purchasing/using it on my own before and after receiving those samples. Finally, I also previously received Earhoox, but I would spend my own money to buy them if I ever lost/damaged all of mine (they are so cheap!) All opinions expressed are my own and I was not pressured for a positive review by any of these companies.


7 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Marathon Accessories Edition”

  1. Pretty great tips! I have to try the aquaphor as I have been recently acquainted with blisters. I think it has to do with my beloved Thorlo socks, so they will not be used for running for a while. I was thinking of bringing my heat sheet to the start of CIM, so it’s good to hear other runners do this 🙂 I don’t bring much else to a race other than my fuel and a hat.

    Question, do you ever apply/reapply sunblock while out on a run? I am constantly worried about getting burned :\ that and chapped lips, do you carry chapstick with you on runs too?

    1. My face moisturizer has SPF 50 sunblock in it, and while you’re right that it probably doesn’t completely last the whole race, I just leave it alone and figure it’s good enough. I probably SHOULD apply regular sunblock more, but I usually only remember if it’s a summer race or race on the beach or something like that. (And have the racerback tan lines to prove it!) I do carry chapstick, though, particularly when it’s cold/windy. Running without it is no fun at all!

  2. I LOVE the Garmin 210! I recently bought a refurbished version of it (for half marathon training – I knew my iPhone would no longer cut it), and it has been wonderful.

    1. I frequently use the regular Clif bars before a race! They’re really high in carbs. The Builder Bars I typically save for after, since they’re higher in protein. I should really do a post on my favorite bars… I eat a lot of them!

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