My Marathon Training Must-Haves

If you’ve run a marathon, you certainly have your own “must-haves.” So I wanted to share mine with you. It’s funny how every runner is different. Some people swear by GU and others swear by ShotBloks. I personally am a GU Vanilla Bean fan ;)

If you’re planning on running a marathon next year, perhaps try some of this stuff out and see if it works for you! PS – this post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something I make a small commission…could help me register for my next race ;)

Okay, here we go…

Marathon Training

Garmin Watch

I have the Garmin 405, as seen below, but it’s been discontinued.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.29.32 AM
I debated between getting this one and the Forerunner 10, but that one doesn’t show you multiple things on the screen at once, and I believe also rounds your pace to the 5′s (so 8:20, 8:25, etc.). I wanted to be able to see distance, time, average speed and more on one screen (or have the option to). A similar watch might be the Garmin Forerunner 210. Or if you just want something simple then try out the Forerunner 10.

What’s the difference between this and an app like RunKeeper? I like being able to glance at my watch when I need to (I don’t carry my phone in my hand), and I think it’s a little more accurate than RunKeeper. It’s all preference really!

Spandex Shorts

I cannot run in anything else anymore. I used to run in looser running shorts, like those Nike shorts, but then it started riding up in the front and I just was uncomfortable. I’m all about lululemon “Groove” shorts now. I actually just bought this pair with a giftcard Dan gave me:

lululemon groove short

I think they’re the perfect length and fit. I love the waistband because it never digs in or sits awkwardly. I have also found great, similar options at T.J. Maxx…hey, I even wrote a whole post about it ;) I love that you can now shop online at T.J. Maxx.


S!Caps by Succeed! were probably the best thing I could have discovered before the New York City Marathon last year. I had been looking for an electrolyte supplement because I didn’t really like Nuun or GU Brew. Drinking something carbonated while running long distances did not work well for me.

Somehow I found S!Caps:

I forget how I even found them, but I was a bit wary at first since their website isn’t necessarily the most technologically advanced ;)

But I gave them a shot and they were amazing. I took them every hour on long runs and during the marathons, and never had the issues I had in the 2011 marathon…no excessive salt collecting on my skin, no extreme thirst or dehydration, no water sloshing around in my stomach. It’s all the electrolytes + salt you need in 1 capsule. I can’t recommend this product enough if you’re a heavy sweater like me.

Nathan Hydration Belt

I use the Nathan Swift Hydration Belt:

Nathan Hydration BeltI am not a fan of hydration belts with multiple bottles – I feel like it gets in my way or feels to bouncy. So last year I bought this belt, and figured I could refill it at every other water station during the marathon (which I did no problem). It’s super light and you barely even notice it’s there. The water bottle is also a bit bigger than others which I also liked. And the pocket is huge! Perfect for fitting in your GUs and other stuff.


I wrote about the FlipBelt a couple months ago…and I have not stopped wearing it on runs since. For shorter runs where you don’t need fuel, this is seriously the best thing you could invest in.

It has multiple pockets all around the belt, and I’ve been able to fit my keys, phone, tissues, etc. no problem. It does not move AT ALL. I have already had friends buy it off my suggestion who have told me the love it. I wear this most days on my runs. I used to just hide my key in my wheel wells (don’t judge me), but now I can always have it on me. You can buy the FlipBelt in different colors and sizes.


Everyone needs a recovery drink, especially during marathon training. My protein powder of choice is PlantFusion. It’s a plant based protein, and trust me, it doesn’t taste chalky or have a weird after taste like other plant powders out there. I like the vanilla bean flavor because it mixes well with anything, and it’s good enough to have plain as well. My friend really likes the chocolate flavor. There is also cookies n’ cream and unflavored. It’s all preference.


I had to end with GU…because it’s obvious! So many runners use GU in their marathon training – me being one of them. I only stick to Vanilla Bean though, but I do want to try the Salted Caramel Pretzel.

GU energy gel
I while ago I wrote about my fueling strategies, which may be a bit different than others. I take GU every 3-4 miles with water. That’s what works for me, but it takes experimentation to find what works best for you. Some people love ShotBloks but I cannot chew while running. It is so hard for me for some reason. Just try it all out!

Wow this list ended up getting a bit long. When I started writing it I figured I’d come up with like 3-4 things. I genuinely love all of these products, whether I’m marathon training or not. I’m always recommending these things to my own friends, and have turned a few of them into PlantFusion and FlipBelt fanatics! ;)

What are your must-haves for marathon training & running in general?

Are you loyal to one certain brand for fuel or you can use whatever?


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  1. Vanilla bean GU is great, its my second favourite behind salted caramel. I have both for race day stocked up.
    I wish I knew about those electrolyte tablets earlier! That has been my biggest struggle. I cannot seem to find an electrolyte that works for me. But it seems to late now to try those as I don’t want to break the cardinal rule and try something new on race day.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #16My Profile

    • I seriously love them. Aw man I should have told you about them sooner. You could always get them and try them out on a run tomorrow or Saturday if you really wanted to try them?

  2. I have a Nathan hand held water bottle I like running with during the summer. I have a Spibelt I put my phone, keys, GU and ID. Unfortunately this belt failed me recently. I happened to loose all my personal belongings during a run. So I’m going to look into your belt. Maybe it’s time for a change.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Getting Back On TrackMy Profile

  3. I’m totally loyal to my sport beans and ginger. I find gu too sweet. I have honestly never run with a water bottle because I am totally spoiled by the Lake Front trail and Central Park before that. I was able to get my phone into the flip belt, so I might look into one for the future.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…NYC, Running Late, Autumn, Sproing, $13m Condos, Thinking Out LoudMy Profile

  4. I love Plant Fusion, it’s my second favorite vegan protein powder (first being Vega). I also like Gu, but have been trying to get into using more natural gels like Huma lately. And, I also take electrolyte caps during my runs. I like Salt Sticks and Endurolytes by Hammer.
    I’ve heard good thing about Flipbelt, hope to check it out sometime soon!
    Shannon @GirlsGotSole recently posted…Product Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 18My Profile

  5. I need my Skir Sports Gym Girl Ultra for running, has nifty pockets in the shorties for gu and a key. I also need my brooks adrenaline GTS. I also have a Garmin it is the 405CX but now also Have a Tom Tom Multisport watch which I am loving. This is a great list of must haves! Thanks for sharing. will definitely check out S!Caps!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective DisorderMy Profile

  6. my Garmin is essential! I used to be able to fit my phone in the back of my hydration belt but now with the iPhone 6 I may need to invest in one of those phone-holder things!
    I’d also add a foam roller and Epsom salts to the list! :)
    Bro recently posted…How to beat the post-marathon bluesMy Profile

    • I need to do more epsom salt baths – you just reminded me! I highly suggest flipbelt. It’s awesome and doesn’t budge at all

  7. I’ve become such a minimalist runner. I think my Garmin is my only must have. I need to buy a Flipbelt! Everyone has me sold on it :)
    jill conyers recently posted…Know What’s In Your FoodMy Profile

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