They're so amazing that now I'm training for a marathon. 

By Blake Bakkila
December 08, 2017
nordstrom.com

I was the kid who walked the mandatory mile every Friday in middle school, cruising in at a cool 11 minutes. I’ve shaved several minutes off my less-than-impressive time since then, and I attribute my improvement to a few things: not being 12 years old anymore, setting an additional six alarms to get myself out of bed every other morning and two accessories that make running (relatively) easier.

Last winter, the inclement weather encouraged me to do my 12-week half marathon training indoors. I would throw all of my belongings in a gym locker and place my phone in one of the treadmill cup holders. But when it was time for my first race in April, it dawned on me that Central Park lacked the conveniences of my neighborhood gym.

I proceeded to stuff my phone and keys in the oh-so-tiny pocket of my Lululemon tights and made a mental shopping list of what I needed for the next event.

I researched the best accessories for an outdoor run and stumbled upon this iPhone Active Armband from Incase. And while I can't say it's completely replaced a roomy gym locker, this little armband has added comfort and efficiency to my runs.

With a water-resistant, polyester mesh fabric and adjustable strap, this case has endured long summer runs and a half-marathon in torrential downpour. As the temperature continues to drop this season, I’ve also found that it still fits over a sweatshirt or jacket. And if you’re worried about damaging your phone, the plastic screen cover makes it both protective and easy to clean.

But the pocket feature in the back is truly the smallest thing I never knew I needed. It’s the perfect size for storing the essentials: my key, credit card and subway pass. I’ve used this case with regular Apple headphones and wireless, and it takes the hassle out of holding my phone in my sweating palms or stretching out the pocket of my favorite leggings.

Thor Lo SockMy other favorite running accessory: the Experia Thor-Lo Pads sock. These socks have cushion padding on the ball and heel, and I can really feel a difference when I wear other brands and styles. They’re light and cushy—a tough combo to accomplish—and the bright colors offset my typically all-black running uniform (I’m partial to the neon pink pair). Though slightly pricey for a pair of socks ($14.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods), they’re as durable as they are supportive. Think about it this way: This small investment will help you save money on the Band-Aids and Neosporin you would have purchased to mend your blistered heels and toes after running in lesser socks.

These two products have high ratings in my book and others’. “My go-to running socks,” said one customer on the Experia Thor-Lo Pads socks. And in the words of an Amazon user who trained for the Chicago Marathon, the Incase armband is “a must-have for my marathon pack.”

Whether you’re gearing up for a big race or motivating yourself to run a complete lap around the block, these workout accessories will encourage you to literally go the extra mile.

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