17 Game Changing Running Accessories

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Many people brand running a low cost, simple sport with little to no need for accessories. Some think that slipping on some sports shoes is all you need for successful running. Lots of people start running because of perceiving it as a low cost, minimalistic and simplistic form of exercise.

However, this is quite far from the truth. The further you delve into the sport and the more experienced you become, the sooner you realise accessories can improve your running.

What is an ‘accessory’? 

By dictionary definition, an accessory is ‘a thing which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive.’

There any tonnes of useful accessories available to help supercharge your running so you can become the runner you want to be.

Accessories can make your miles more fun, easier to monitor, more comfortable, smart, convenient and so on. The list of benefits to accessories are huge and they are true game changers.

Whatever your level and reasons for running, this article will explore some top picks for accessories that will up your running game significantly. Enjoy.

1. Sunglasses

I used to think sunglasses were only worn by elite runners who knew what they were doing, but after wearing them myself it turns out this isn’t the case. Running sunglasses dramatically upped my game, here’s why.

Sunglasses provide ultraviolet (UV) light protection. This means your eyes won’t absorb as much radiation from the sun meaning a lowered chance of developing cataracts, eye growths and macular degeneration. Also, you won’t be blinded by the suns powerful light when out and about.

Sunglasses also prevent flies and other bugs get into your eyes. Personally, I had over 3 flies dart into my eyes which momentarily blinded me and sent me into a flurry of painful panic on route. Not ideal. A decent pair of sunglasses will stop this issue, so they are well worth the investment. Particularly during the summer months, where bugs are more common.

An additional benefit is a defence against the elements (rain, dust and snow) and they give you a stylish look. I love running sunglasses and consider my pair one of the best purchases yet.

Accessory Product Recommendations 

2. High visibility vests

are designed for running in poorly lit areas or at night. They slip on easily and reflect any light back in bright and easy to identify flashy beams, keeping you safe as a result.

Being an early morning runner, often starting at 5:15 AM, I regularly run in the dark which is why I always wear my vest to keep me safe. Wearing it in the dark gives me peace and mind that I will be seen by traffic and stay safe.

Neon and luminous vests are the best choices for running in the dark. Green is the most visible colour to the human eye, so go for this colour if you can. Bright running vests will make you a living & breathing running beacon, easy for traffic to spot a mile off.

It’s crazy to think how an accessory so cheap and easy to use can have such a potentially life-saving benefit. If that’s not true value for money, I don’t know what is.

Accessory Product Recommendation

3. Nipple Protectors

I wish I could rewind the clock and tell myself to wear nipple protection before my first marathon. Oh, how they chafed. The pain was unbearable!

When you run for long distances, dried sweat and body salt rub together like sandpaper and cause your nipple to rub viciously on your shirt. In other words, it hurts a hell of a lot. Not ideal and not fun, trust me. However, having some simple nipple protection can save you from this scenario.

Nipple protectors can be bought for cheap and easily applied to the nipples before a race. They will keep your nips protected from chafing and painful rubbing, a true game-changer for men running long distances.

Accessory Product Recommendation 

4. Foam Roller

Foam rollers are quickly becoming one of the most used accessories in the running world.

Foam rollers allow you to self-massage areas of your body with deep, targeted pressure. Ideal for post long run or race recovery, foam rollers release tightness and muscular tension. In turn, this prevents soreness, pain, tightness and promotes healthy restorative blood flow.

Foam rollers are a cost-effective, compact and easy to use tool which will change your post running game for the better. Give it a try or give it a ‘roll’.

Accessory Product Recommendation

5. Hydration Equipment

Running is one of the most physical sports out there, so it’s no surprise hydration should be top of your priorities. Thankfully, there’s been some incredible running accessory creations over the years which have allowed runners to self-hydrate whilst on route. Let’s look at two of the most popular options for hydration accessories.

Hydration belts

These are lightweight accessories which fit around your waist the same way any other belt would. Typically, there’s at least one compartment for a small water bottle to sit which you can access and drink from as you please whilst on route.

A bonus of these belts is that many come with storage capability in the form of pockets for valuables like keys, money and energy gels. If you’re an audio lover, try and get a belt with a hole for your headphones to slip through for easy listening.

Hydration packs

These are hydration systems built as a backpack, containing a reservoir of water. The runner simply fills the backpack with fluid, slips it on, runs and takes a swig from the hose whenever they require a drink. Because of the high amount of water these can carry, they are recommended for long distances i.e. half-marathons, marathons & ultra marathons.

Accessory Product Recommendations 

6. Dog Running Harness

If you’re a canine lover, no need to go it alone. Bring your 4-legged friend with you! These fantastic harnesses are made specifically for running with dogs and allow the dog to run freely without you having to carry their lead.

The harnesses tend to be designed with comfortable padding, so the dogs do not experience strain or rubbing. Your dog will love joining you on route so why not give these cost-effective accessories a try today?

Accessory Product Recommendations 

7. Armband Phone Holder

These useful accessories securely wrap around your arm and house your smartphone whilst you run. The armband will protect your phone from the elements (dust, rain and snow) with its protective cover whilst providing a discreet headphone slot so you can listen to audio on the go.

Before I got a running armband, I used to put my phone in a back pocket. The phone would jump up and down, jingle against change and my keys, and be covered in sweat when I finished running. Gross and not ideal. After I experienced a run with my phone in the armband, I knew I could never go back to the back-pocket days! Life is much better with an armband. Thank goodness for that.

They’re cheap, easy to use and make your runs much more convenient. What’s not to like?

Accessory Product Recommendation

8. Sports Bra

This one is for the ladies. A decent, quality sports bra will make your running much more comfortable than a regular bra. As running is a high impact activity with lots of monotonous actions and movements, it is recommended that you support everything as well as you can.

I have female running friends who have either bought a low-quality sports bra or not worn a sports bra at all, and they always experiencing chafing and discomfort. Not ideal!

Ladies take care of yourself and invest in a decent sports bra. I’ve been told it makes running 10 times more comfortable when you do.

Accessory Product Recommendation 

9. Hand Warmers

Not the most essential running accessory out there, but ideal if you want comfort during the winter months. Particularly during the early stages of a workout.

These ‘handy’ hand warmers generate massive amounts of heat for hours at a time. Not only do hand warmers heat up the hands, but they also generate heat to the rest of the body too. They truly are little compact radiators.

Handwarmers are a decent choice of accessory as they are cheap, compact, easy to run around with and last for hours after activation. If you’re running in a frozen group and you offer them hand warmers, your fellow runners will love you forever. I know this because of experience!

Accessory Product Recommendation

10. Gloves

Though not the first thing runners mention when they list useful accessories, gloves are one of the most effective accessories available.

Runners wear gloves because their hands get cold. Hands and fingers have lots of surface area and being exposed to the bare air mean they lose heat quickly.

Also, the body directs blood to internal organs and leave extremities like the hands and nose without as much blood as normal. This can result in hands feeling cold, painful and more limp than usual. Wearing gloves warm the hands up and encourage generous blood flow.

Gloves are also easy to place on the hands and pull off whilst finger dexterity can be maintained. In fact, some running gloves even allow you to type on smartphones!

Personally, I consider a decent pair of running gloves one of the best investments you can make. It certainly changed my running game when I bought mine, particularly during 5:15 AM starts in -5-degree weather.

Accessory Product Recommendations 

11. Headphones

If there’s one thing that changed my running game huge amounts, it has to be wearing a decent pair of headphones. Sports headphones offer in-ear audio (books, music or podcasts), can coach you with artificial intelligence, measure heart rate and some are even wireless.

There are tonnes of headphones on the market at different prices and styles so it’s all about what suits you as an individual.

Bone conducting headphones and races open to roads 

Remember, under UK Athletics rules, you can only use bone conducting headphones in events where roads are open to traffic. No in earphones may be used in such events and bone conducting ones must be worn or the runner may not listen to audio during the event.

For this reason, I have two sets of running headphones. One bone conducting pair for events and one in-ear pair (which I prefer) for training.

You may want to consider this information before investing in a pair of running headphones as you may wish to split your budget between a bone conducting pair and an in ear pair, or spend all your budget on one type. It’s totally up to you.

For more information on headphones for running, check out the following blog post:

Accessory Product Recommendations 

12. Caffeine Chews

In the last quarter of a 20 mile long run, a friend gave me a caffeine chew after I began struggling. Within 5 minutes, the caffeine had entered my bloodstream and I immediately had enough get up and go to put in decent effort. I finished the long run with a negative split and I can only attribute my better second half to these handy caffeine chews.

Caffeine chews reduce tiredness and fatigue which we all suffer from as athletes and give increased stamina. The caffeine mobilises fat stores for use as energy instead of depleting muscle glycogen stores.

Needless to say, caffeine chews are unbelievably powerful for long distance runners and I would recommend every half marathon or marathon runner try them at least once. If, after trying them, you’re not impressed that’s fair enough. Nothing lost except from a few quid.

On the other hand, what if you tried one during a long run and found you were running continuously like some modern day Forest Gump?

Your running game would improve drastically and you won’t look back (literally and metaphorically). Give caffeine chews a try and see what happens.

Accessory Product Recommendations 

13. GPS Running Watches

If there’s one thing runners love, it’s a good GPS watch. These handy devices track your location, data on your run, monitor your heart rate, and tell the time. GPS watches are a staple in runners’ arsenal.

Whether you’re a casual jogger, a seasoned runner, or even a professional athlete, having a GPS watch can be one of the wisest decisions you make. Not only do they accompany you on every run, they also provide quality functionality and track important data. After using a GPS watch for a few workouts, runners often wonder how they coped without one before.

There are lots of benefits to these handy watches. You don’t have to carry your phone, you can record lots of useful data, they look stylish, can be used for triathletes, and some even offer advice on recovery.

For more information on GPS running watches check out the following blog post: 

Accessory Product Recommendations 

14. Energy Gels

The body uses carbohydrates to fuel physical activity. As running is a very physically demanding sport, a runner needs a decent supply of quality carbohydrates to fuel their performance.

Energy gels come in a range of flavours, from blueberry to coffee to raspberry to apple, and give runners a quick easily-digestible supply of carbohydrate to ‘top up’ their fuel tank during a run.

Particularly helpful for distance runners who might be competing in marathons, half marathons, or doing lots of weekly mileage, gels are portable, light, and taste delicious. Shorter distance runners might consume one of these before a shorter 5K, to properly fuel up and prepare the body for the intense race to come.

Sports gels won’t break the bank and are a fantastic accessory for any runner.

For more information on energy gels check out the following blog post 

Accessory Product Recommendations 

15. Headbands

If there’s one thing runners are notorious for, it’s braving the elements. They’ll run in the cold, the heat, the rain, the sleet, and some will even run in the snow.

When it’s freezing, your loved one will appreciate a headband. These fleece material headbands cover the ears and top of the head, to keep cold air out and provide a relaxing cushion for maximum comfort.

No more not being able to feel their ears when they get home after a chilly run; the headband will have them covered.

Additionally, headbands have the benefit of keeping long hair in one place. This means it can be neatly styled after a run and you don’t risk sweaty hair sticking to your face during your run. Not the most attractive look in the world so avoiding it is ideal!

Accessory Product Recommendation 

16. Ice Grippers

If you know a runner who will train in any weather condition, even ice and snow, these are the perfect gift.
Ice grippers slide right over running shoes and provide traction and predictable grip.

The grippers are lightweight and feature no spikes on the coils, for an effortless run. No more slipping or losing grip, these grippers will sort any winter runner out.

Accessory Product Recommendations 

17. Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

Train hard and run free. The Garmin Running Dynamics Pod  clips onto your waistband to measure the running dynamics you need to beat yesterday. It gives you the option to run without a heart rate monitor chest strap and still be able to track metrics that can’t be measured at the wrist. A fantastic little accessory, in any runner’s book.

View and analyse your cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio – these bio-mechanical metrics can help you understand your running form so you can perform better on race day.

The pod is easy to use, just pair it with your compatible watch, clip it to the back of your waistband and start your run. It’s so tiny you may forget it’s there!

NOTE: You need a Garmin GPS watch before you use the Garmin dynamics pod. Please do not purchase the pod without it as you will not be able to use it!

Accessory Product Recommendation 


There you have it! 17 game changing running accessories.

I hope this list has helped you out and you are now full of accessory suggestions to improve your running life. If you’ve found this post useful please share it with fellow runners. Sharing is caring after all.

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