7 must-have accessories for runners

Carrying keys in one hand and a water bottle in another? That's for suckers.

(Image credit: iStock)

Editor's note: This article is part of a series on products we think you'll like. The Week has affiliate partnerships with certain retailers, and may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

There is a purity in running that extends beyond an exercise routine. As children, it was the closest we ever came to flying. And in that sense, it ought to be no surprise that no matter what hot fads and newfangled exercise machines come along, people refuse to give up running. Running brings power and freedom, the same as when we were children. The only difference? Children seldom worry about thigh chafing and convenient cell phone storage.

To help you deal with those more prosaic issues, here are seven modern accessories to streamline your adult love of running.

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1. Sweaty Bands Solid Non Slip Wicked Headband ($15)

These velvet-backed headbands speak their own glory in the Amazon description: "OMG. They don't slip." This claim is backed up by fitness blogs far and wide; Sweaty Bands are among the only heavy endurance sweatbands that can resist the dampness and constant bounce of a runner's head. What's more, you're sure to find the most motivating style possible with over 800 designs to choose from. Buy it on Amazon.

2. Shock Absorber Women's Ultimate-Run Sports Bra ($35.04-$79)

This scientifically designed sports bra takes its job very seriously. Shock Absorber has designed a piece of technology as much as a piece of clothing. Finding that breasts actually move in a figure-8 motion while running, the Shock Absorber, built of absorbent and comfort-minded material, is reinforced to specifically block that motion. Thus preventing "repetitive friction injury," and hopefully, long term sag. Buy it on Amazon.

3. FlipBelt ($27.99)

FlipBelt makes the audacious claim of being "the world's best fitness and running belt." And actually, there don't seem to be many people trying to refute that claim. The belt is a hollow Spandex-blend tube that encircles your waist (stretching to 48 inches in the largest size). There are pockets stitched throughout the belt, allowing you to hold keys, wallet, phone — all the normal things you want to keep with you but have a hard time finding a spot for when exercising. FlipBelt fans love it for its discreet appearance (no one can tell you're wearing it) and it's flush-lying stability (no bouncing!). Buy it on Amazon.

4. Hydrosleeve ($44.97)

Serious runners have their hydration routine — before, during, and after a run — down to a science. But even a beginner needs water to keep her strength and health during vigorous exercise. An unobtrusive option for shorter-distance runs is the Hydrosleeve, an armband pocket that holds a 7.5-ounce water bladder. No bouncing, sloshing, or flopping; the bladder fits snuggly and shrinks to match diminished fluid levels. Due to its unique placement on your arm, the Hydrosleeve allows you to drink without using your hands; just raise your arm and suck. Buy it on Amazon.

5. Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm ($7.21)

Clothing repeatedly rubbing against flesh equals chafing, rashes, and blisters. One of the most popular ways to combat that particular misery of runners everywhere is this allantoin derivative, Bodyglide. Applied like a deodorant stick, it can be used in all the places most affected by the rigors of running, including the feet, inner thighs, and nipples. The balm serves as just enough of a physical barrier between cloth and skin to prevent damage to either. Buy it on Amazon.

6. Under Armor HeatGear Sonic Compression Running Shorts ($24.99)

Just as an athletic woman needs extra support in her bra, a male runner might look for the same in a good pair of undershorts. Under Armour has the whole package covered. Their running shorts offer compression to keep things snug and secure, sweat wicking, odor control, and seams specially tailored to prevent chafing. Buy it on Amazon.

7. The Muscle Stick ($16.99)

How you treat your body after your run can be just as important as the run itself. The Muscle Stick is a simple tool that performs an ingenious function. Easy to use, the rolling stick massages overworked muscles, increasing bloodflow to wash away lactic acid build-up, which helps prevent soreness. Not restricted just to legs, The Muscle Stick also loosens tight muscles in the case of general cramps or aches. Buy it on Amazon.

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Therese O'Neill

Therese O'Neill lives in Oregon and writes for The Atlantic, Mental Floss, Jezebel, and more. She is the author of New York Times bestseller Unmentionable: The Victorian Ladies Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners. Meet her at writerthereseoneill.com.