Best Bag For Long Distance Running

Ali Philippides is the Senior Product Manager here at the Beast, and while I’ve only known her for a few months, I’ve already heard plenty of stories about her going from (pretty much) couch to marathon. I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, and really enjoy long distance running, and since we all have a little more time on our hands, and can probably use the exercise, I decided to talk to Ali about what she finds useful for running, even in today’s circumstances.

When did you start running?

I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but I didn’t start running as my main form of exercise until 3 years ago. For the most part, I was just going out for 2 miles or less, really just focusing on getting out of the house 3 or 4 times a week and keeping a comfortable pace. Back in 2018 I started taking pilates in addition to running and my teacher, who is also an avid runner, suggested I sign up for the New York Marathon lottery. Fast forward to February 2019, I won entry to the NYC Marathon through the lottery and after having never run further than 3 miles straight in my life, I began training for the race, which was in  November of that year. 

What products have you found useful?

I had to learn as I was going about what products worked for me. But the essentials were: Hoka ONE ONE Clifton Shoes, CEP Calf Sleeves (for leg compression), and most importantly my Nathan Hydration Running Belt which held water and gear during the brutally long training runs.

What inspired you to buy the running belt in the first place?

On long runs you need water to stay hydrated and fuel to stay energized. But where do you keep those things? This belt holds two water bottles which is awesome for long runs, and has a pouch that can hold whatever other fuel you need, like Gu gels, Clif bloks, or stroop waffles. It also comfortably held my phone and keys and a couple of credit cards with everything else—which was always a necessity for me on the longest weekend training runs which could be anywhere from 12-20 miles. On marathon day, I managed to carry an Anker cordless charger, 10 gu gels, my wallet, keys, phone, and an Airpod case in that belt. It definitely helped carry me through to the finish line! 

Do you still use the belt even when you’re not running a marathon?

Yeah. Now that I’m finished doing long distance training, I only use the bag to carry my phone and keys. I don’t usually carry water with me anymore, so I’ll just remove the water bottles or take only one. The best part about this bag is that even if you don’t carry much in it, it doesn’t bounce up and down like you might expect. It stays pretty flush to your body and I’ve never been uncomfortable wearing it. 

I like to run, but it’s been hard to get into it lately. Do you have any advice?

What I love about running is that it’s very accessible, and any run, even if you just decide to go around the block, is considered a run. The important thing is to get out there and feel good about the movement. There are some days where I don’t want to run at all, and that’s ok! Some runs I cut short, and some runs I extend longer than I thought they would be. Just remember to listen to your body and do what feels right in the moment. 

Even…like…right now?

During COVID times, I am still managing to get outside and run two or three times a week. My runs have not been very long and I’m totally fine with that at this point. Just getting out of the house for a quick break and light jog feels great. I’ve been wearing a bandana over my nose and mouth while running instead of a mask because it feels easier to breath and more comfortable. I’ve also been sticking to side streets or less crowded areas in my neighborhood to make sure that I can maintain social distancing.

Why would you recommend this bag to someone over any other?

The Nathan bag has functional flexibility while also being super comfortable. Some runners prefer to have less on them when they head out, and there are definitely options like that for sale, but for someone who wants to feel secure about their hydration and gear out on the road, this is a great option for sure.   

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