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Health & Wellness

Marathon must-haves if you are thinking about running those 26.2 miles

Health and wellness expert Stephanie Mansour shares with us some cool new fitness gear and stretches to help you, whether you’re trying to get through your first marathon or set a personal record this year!

First, make sure you have the right gear and are prepared for running long distances. Insoles can help keep your body in alignment and support you from the ground up.

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Aline Shoe Insoles, $39, Amazon

Now that your feet are supported, let’s look at ankle stability. While training for a marathon, it’s important to protect the ankle joint because of the constant pounding on hard surfaces. Check out an ankle stabilizer and see if it’s a good fit.

FUTURO Sport Deluxe Ankle Stabilizer, $15, Amazon

Ready to set a personal record and get smarter about increasing your cardio endurance? Check out this tracker from Spire that monitors your breathing and notifies you in real-time about changes to your physiology.

Spire Mindfulness and Activity Tracker, $130, Amazon

If you’re looking for a basic watch to wear while tracking your time, try out this digital watch that’s also water resistant.

Amitron Sport Women’s Digital Chronograph Watch, $20, Amazon

Need to stash a snack, Kleenex, or your keys while you’re running? Go for this fanny pack made specifically for runners.

RBX Active Running Waist Pack, $10, Amazon

If your joints or muscles become achy from a long run, try an all-natural pain reliever such as this topical cream. TheraGold Pain Relief Cream combines manuka honey with all natural ginger, arnica, cayenne and peppermint to sooth bodily aches and pains.

TheraGold Pain Relief Cream, $22, Amazon

Have your feet taken a beating from all of your training runs? Try out this moisturizing foot lotion that soothes and prevents cracked heels.

Footnanny Foot Cream, $48, Amazon

Finally, while a massage is a nice reward after a long day of training (or after running the marathon itself!), if you’re on a budget or don’t have the time, try giving yourself a massage!

This stick can help speed up recovery and help post-run soreness. Just grab a hold and roll it over sore muscles!

Tiger Tail Massage Stick, $30, Amazon

Before running, engage your body in some dynamic stretching. These stretches are meant to be done while moving. For example, to stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors, come into a lunge position to stretch the back leg’s hip flexor, and then straighten the front leg and lean forward to stretch the front leg’s hamstring. Repeat this, moving from the lunge into the hamstring stretch.

After running, you can hold each of these stretches for 20-30 seconds while breathing slowly. This is called static stretching. The body has already been warmed up and worked out, so holding stretches longer is soothing and your body will be able to relax more fully.

Another stretch you can do is to twist side-to-side from above your waist to wring out your spine and torso.

After your run, lean over to one side and stretch the opposite side of the rib cage and chest, holding for 20-30 seconds while breathing. Then repeat on the opposite side.

Looking for more workout gear and advice? Check out TODAY's articles on the best running shorts, the best water bottles, the best smart scales and even the best products to work out at home.

Stephanie Mansour is a lifestyle and weight-loss coach for women. Join her weight-loss challenge here!

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