USA Track & Field running coach Jason Fitzgerald knows a thing or two about running. When he’s not helping other runners reach their milestones in real life and on his website StrengthRunning, he’s telling the world why he’s so passionate about the sport.

So, we figured there was no better person to help us round up the runner’s ultimate must-haves. Here are Fitzgerald’s top picks for running like a champ.

1. Swiftwick socks

I’ve worn Swiftwick socks for years both on the road and trail. They hold up extremely well through all sorts of abuse and have a wonderful, smooth feel that never irritates my feet or gives me blisters. They also have a nice, snug fit with some mild arch support that’s retained through repeated washings.

2. Handheld water bottle

I never used to like running with a bottle, but with some long runs in the mountains taking nearly three hours, it’s much needed at those high altitudes!

With a small pocket on the hand strap to carry your car key and a gel, it’s a great way to stay hydrated and properly fueled on long runs. I really like the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus water bottle.

3. Patagonia Houdini jacket

For years, I was trying to find a superlight wind- and water-resistant jacket that still had some breathability. This fits the bill. It’s incredibly light but amazingly resilient and can be rolled up and stowed away in its own pocket. This is a must-have for anyone heading out in rapidly changing, inclement weather.

4. Phone armband

I never ran with my phone until recently when I started using the time to listen to more podcasts. It’s a great way to learn something new while getting in an easy run. The LightRunner universal armband is a great option for runners.

5. Amphipod reflective vest

As a frequent predawn runner, I almost always need reflective gear for my early runs. I’ve used the Xinglet reflective vest for years. It’s my favorite of all the ones I’ve owned (and there have been a lot). I love how minimalist it is but also how reflective and bright. I don’t notice it even on the stickiest of summer mornings!

6. Picky Bars

I’m a sucker for a good sports nutrition bar, but most of them have way too many unidentifiable ingredients in them. Picky Bars were developed by rock star athletes Lauren Fleshman, her husband Jesse Thomas, and Steph Bruce. They’re gluten-free and made from all real-food ingredients. Most of their flavors are vegan as well.

They’re my go-to snack when I need something quick either pre- or post-run, and I don’t need to feel guilty about eating them on a frequent basis!

Are you a runner? What are your favorite healthy finds you need on the go?


Jason Fitzgerald is a 2:39 marathoner, USATF-certified coach, and head coach at Strength Running. You can follow him at @JasonFitz1 on Twitter on Instagram.