5 Tools for Running a Faster (Half) Marathon

Sure, it starts with training, but the right gear can streamline your trip.

The Brooklyn Half-Marathon kicks off Saturday, May 16, at 7 A.M. We’ve run it a few times, and learned a few tough lessons about what you really need to make it out to Coney Island in decent shape. So if you’re among the 25,000 or so lacing ’em up at dawn, or if you’re training for any of the distance races coming up in the summer or fall, here are five items that are indispensable for having a good trip and improving on your best time.

1. Ecco Biom Evo Trainers ($140)

These running shoes are super light but have enough structure to put your foot in a position conducive to long runs, with the heel slightly up and room for your toes to spread, plus a rubber pad in the sole improves grip and durability. They look real nice, too.

2. Under Armour HeatGear Underwear($22)

The stretch mesh fabric keeps all the moving parts firmly in place, and the Moisture Transporst System wicks away sweat, keeping you cool and comfortable. As you stretch out to longer races, these features become more important. Heat rash and chafing will adversely affect your time. We wore tighty-whities last year, and it was a mistake. TMI?

3. KIND Nuts & Spices Bars($2)

For an early race, you need something quick that will give you some sustained energy. These almond-rich bars are a good fuel source, rich in protein and healthy fats. Also, they have less than 5 g. of sugar, so you’re less likely to crash midway through the race. We’ll eat two beforehand.

4. TriggerPoint Grid X Foam Roller($50)

If you don’t have a Swedish masseuse on call (and even if you do), you need foam-roll to unknot your muscles and loosen tissue for smoother performance. You’ll also lower your risk of cramping up or pulling a hammy. The TriggerPoint X is the hardest foam roller out there, and it’s grooved, so it really works deep into your muscles. Work all your muscles the night before the race, but especially your feet, calves, hamstrings, and quads.

5. Sennheiser PMX 685i Sports($80)

As with your boxers, you want your headphones to stay comfortably fixed in place. You won’t have to worry about readjusting the 685s. They’re also waterproof and thus sweatproof. Moreover, the volume control is conveniently set at hand height, so you can take it to 10 if two runners you can’t shake are having a loud conversation that’s busting your mojo.