All runners know that the true race doesn't start when the whistle blows. It starts at home, every day, as you prep your mind and body to reach the finish line.
Of all the athletes that I've worked with over the years, marathon runners, in my experience, have the most discipline when it comes to fitness and training. However, with so much enthusiasm to get out of the house and onto the track, many overlook the basic home essentials.
As a marathon runner myself, I've tried a wide range of products marketed towards athletes. Some of these items can help prep your body before you even get out of the door, while others offer important health benefits post-race.
If you're ready to continue your fitness regimen off the track, read on for my suggestions on home equipment that I believe are absolute essentials for any marathon runner.
You've heard it before, and I'll say it again, stretching your muscles is essential in order to minimize the strain on your body. After your run, in particular, it is so important to stretch properly in order to avoid muscle injuries.
One of the most helpful home essentials for this that I've found over the years, is a good old-fashioned stretch band. Today, there are so many different pieces of equipment out there for stretching, but in my experience, a simple stretch band is all you need to get the job done.
You can find stretch bands virtually anywhere they sell fitness equipment, and thanks to their portable size it is easy to pack them in your gym bag and take them on the go. These bands allow you to stretch various muscles in the body using different positions and techniques.
The truth is, running can be hard on the body and it can put a lot of strain on the muscles and joints. For this reason, I believe a high-quality massage chair is an essential piece of home equipment for any marathon runner.
There is nothing more relaxing than coming home from a run and plopping into a massage chair for a deep tissue massage. But this home essential does more than offer simple relaxation. The best massage chair will feature multiple settings to sooth the muscles in your body, prevent strain, alleviate built-up pressure, and eliminate lactic acid.
Between the health benefits and relaxation, this is one home essential you'll never want to live without.
Nothing quite compares to the soothing nature of a massage chair, but if you're looking for something more portable, a foam roller is a good essential to have on hand as well. Foam rollers allow you to target specific muscles in your body and work out unwanted kinks. These rollers are usually fairly portable, so they are easy to take with you on the go and can serve various functions during yoga and other exercises.
If you're trying to improve speed and endurance for an upcoming marathon, ankles weights are a great home essential that you can take with you virtually anywhere. These weights are great to use during training as they condition your body to carry more weight than normal. After a period of time, your body will become used to the weights, allowing you to sprint faster and jog longer once you take them off.
This one goes without saying. A yoga mat is a home essential for any athlete. Whether you're warming up, doing at home exercises, or stretching after a run, a yoga mat offers the perfect base for any fitness activity.
Honorable Mention: Seat Cover
Last but not least, we wanted to give an honorable mention to seat covers. When you finish your marathon, there is nothing more uncomfortable than sliding into the leather seats of your car dripping in sweat! Seat covers offer the perfect solution to protect your vehicle and convert your seat into a comfortable champion's throne for the ride home.