At NYRunAcademy, we work with lots of athletes from many endurance sports and all kinds of experience levels. From each member of our team and each of our athletes, no two of us are the same. But there’s one thing that pretty much all of us do agree on… that’s that we all love new products that we can use in our training.

Nowadays there is a massive range of products and gear that is available to us to improve performance, recovery, nutrition, style and anything else you could possibly imagine being tenuously related to our sports. It can be difficult to narrow down what’s important to you and exactly where to spend your hard earned dollars.

Fret no more, since we put our minds together to share some of NYRunAcademy’s favorite items that we recommend for your training and racing.


GOOD SOCKS

Nearly all of our team agreed a must-have for training and racing is a good pair of lightweight running socks. Even in mild temperatures, our feet sweat a lot and friction can cause a lot of excess heat, both of which lead to discomfort and our old enemy: blisters. Not only are blisters annoying and uncomfortable, they can lead to further issues like infection or unnaturally altered form in an effort to prevent pain.

Most brands offer lightweight socks comprised of wicking material and additional cushioning on pressure points, reducing the likelihood of any uncomfortable experiences on our precious feet.

Investing in a couple of pairs of high quality socks is relatively cheap (compared to something like a new pair of shoes!) but can make a big difference. We also recommend using and washing them a few times before race day, as new socks can be a little ‘slidy’ on first try!

HEART RATE ARM STRAP

Have you tried training based on your personal heart-rate zones? It has been long established as an effective way of monitoring your effort levels for endurance exercise, and has only become easier to do in real-time. Almost any GPS Watch, Smart Watch or Fitness Tracker has heart-rate measurement capabilities these days.

Optical HR sensors on the wrist can be inaccurate, particularly whilst exercising. Chest-straps can be more effective, but have the small issue of being uncomfortable for lots of us!

Coach Johannes suggests using an arm-strap to measure heart-rate, instead. These offer an accurate, light and comfortable alternative to other methods, and are becoming more commonly offered by brands.

SUNBLOCK

Trying to keep cool in the summer whilst protecting our skin from the sun is a difficult balance to strike, especially when we’re out training for extended periods of time in the heat of the day. Sunburn is not only uncomfortable but dermatologists suggest that burns can increase the risk of more serious skin conditions, even if sustained only a couple of times per year.

There are so many types available on the shelf at the store these days, but Brendan suggests grabbing anything with an SPF rating of 50 and broad spectrum protection. Broad spectrum simply means that the lotion blocks both UVA and UVB rays, the two forms of damaging sun-rays that cause skin damage. “I’m not very picky in general. I use CVS brand sport sunblock and slather it on like it’s going out of style!”. Of course, you can choose any brand you like, but we like the cheaper options since we’re more likely to use lots of it without worrying we’re wasting it!

Coaches Amy and Aubrey both additionally recommend CeraVe SPF 30 face lotion. The lighter formula is better on your face and less likely to irritate the eyes and other sensitive areas on the face. Amy will use this every day, since it’s also a moisturizer, making the value for money even greater.

Our Choices:

  • CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion  
  • CVS Sport 50 Lotion
  • Blue Lizard Sport Mineral:
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Face

SHORTS WITH POCKETS

For both training and race day, you might find the need to carry a few small items along with you: gels, phone, emergency cash etc. Having a pair of go-to, running specific shorts that have a number of pockets is one of Amy’s top recommendations. There are lots of options, but short-tights are a great choice to prevent items bouncing around on the move. 

Some trail-running brands also offer shorts with storage waistbands and pockets if you prefer something other than tights. It’s worth looking for waterproof pockets with zips, too, particularly if you’re stashing things like electrolyte tabs that could start to dissolve! We like a pair with a zipped back pocket and then side or waistband storage for extra items like gels.

COLLAPSIBLE BOTTLE

A lightweight collapsible water bottle is a nifty bit of kit for those summer sessions and long-runs. Perhaps you’re meeting a group for a workout and are running straight from your house or you have a long run and don’t know if there is a fountain to stop at for some water – having a  lightweight and ergonomic design makes it easy to carry. Once you’re finished, just collapse it down and stash it in your pocket (in one of the pairs of shorts we’ve recommended above…!). 

The HydraPak Soft Flask is what Brendan and Aubrey both use when they might need some extra fluids. It’s super light, doesn’t leak and comes in three sizes. The hand strap is also useful so you don’t have to think about it dropping when you’re weary! You can also buy bottle holders which incorporate a hand-strap with a pocket to carry small items too.

BODY GLIDE

The increased humidity and dew-point in the air is often what increases the likelihood of chafing during the summer months. Then we enter the fall and rainy days become the enemy of the runner and their problem areas for chafing.

Enter Body Glide, an anti-chafe balm that reduces friction between your skin and clothing. It comes in a convenient deodorant-like stick that can be kept in your exercise bag, with a number of different formulas to prevent everything from blisters, thigh-chafe, saddle sores and more. 

Alternatively, you can also use products like Vaseline for the same purpose.


NUTRITION 

The world of sports nutrition has so many products available to suit every possible need, preference and taste. We recommend ensuring you try a few different options to find what works for you, since we are all different.

GELS

Most of us use gels for marathons for an easy way to consume carbs and (sometimes) caffeine on the run. 

Aubrey and Brendan both like NeverSecond gels thanks to their 200mg of sodium to prevent cramps and aid hydration, as well as their taste. 

Johannes will use Maurten gels throughout a marathon. If he is out training early in the morning, he’ll often use a Maurten Caffeinated gel as it’s an easily digestible way to get a boost without worrying about GI distress from a coffee.

ELECTROLYTES

Check out our recent blog to get the full rundown on electrolytes! But the TL;DR on this is 1) they help prevent dehydration 2) they prevent cramps and 3) they support your overall health and function of your body!

Ravenna’s background in running and cycling means she knows all about the hours on your feet and in the saddle which can lead to increased risk of cramping. Bare Performance Nutrition is the top choice to keep you hydrated and stop the worries about cramps. 

Salt tablets are also great for a quick jolt of electrolyte goodness, too, and can be used in a pinch if you feel a cramp coming on. Saltstick Fastchews is what Aubrey, Brendan and Amy all have on hand on workout and long-run days. They come in pill-sized tablets which can be easily put in a pocket without even noticing. 


The comments section is open for you to share your own tips on products that you simply can’t live without! We wanted to share some of our choices for things that might not immediately come to mind when we think about running gear, but can make a big difference and (often) at a smaller price than things like fancy shoes and GPS watches and treadmills!

*NY Run Academy has not been paid to include any of the items in this article. Johannes Motschmann is an Adidas contracted athlete; Brendan Martin is endorsed by Bandit Running. Neither individual received any additional incentives from this article.