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3 Easy and Free DIY Running Equipment Tricks to Help You Run More Comfortably

Today I’m going to share three DIY tricks for runners that will help you run more comfortably without having to spend money on various running accessories.

It’s been a while since I last wrote about running. Truth be told, I haven’t had that many runs in the past couple months due to an injury – plantar fasciitis, a true runners’ nemesis! – but things are slowly getting better.

I’m back to running 3-5 miles a couple times a week. On top of that, I was running to the gym and back (2.5 miles total) a couple times a week while we were in Alabama, so I can’t say that I’ve been slacking in the exercise department.

As I’m trying to get my running edge back while painfully massaging my foot with a tennis ball, I’m looking forward to the time when I become brave enough to sign up for races again.

This time it’s going to be in our new home in Washington statewhere we’ve just moved. New races! New PRs (hopefully)! And one more year before I enter a new, much more competitive age group.

Today I’d like to share with you three super easy tricks that have helped me run more comfortably for a few years now.

Main pic

I’m quite stringent when it comes to shelling out money to buy another fancy running-related gadget/accessory, so I’ve successfully used these tricks through training and running both of my marathons and beyond. Making your running more enjoyable with these tricks is not going to cost you anything – most likely, you have everything you’ll need at home right now!

In addition, you can feel good about not paying for more junk that’s likely going to end up lying around your house anyway. Savvy runners, rejoice!

By the way, if you’re thinking about training for a marathon as a vegan but aren’t sure where to start (How do I avoid injuries? What should my diet be like? Where would I even find the time to train?) –
My friend Matt from No Meat Athlete created a fantastic marathon training roadmap plan where he covers everything you need to successfully run a marathon while eating plant-based.
Setting goals, planning your workouts, diet and recipes, equipment, self care, and much more. And of course, the exact 24-week training plan for running a marathon.
Bonus: training plans for running a 5k, a 10k, and a half marathon.

3 DIY Running Equipment Tricks

1. Use a beer koozie to hold a cold water bottle and stash away your keys/gels, etc. I’m one of those runners who always brings a water bottle with me while running.

As convenient as it is for when I get thirsty, it’s often uncomfortable to carry a bottle covered in condensation from the cold water inside, especially on a hot day.

Holding an icy-cold object in my hands for any length of time is not the most pleasant thing in the world. Plus, what do I do with all of the little things like keys or gels that I have to bring with me on longer runs?

Here’s where a little industriousness goes a long way: cut off the bottom from any of those free beer koozies that are often distributed as freebies, and use the koozie as a sleeve for the water bottle!

Koozie and bottle

There are all kinds of accessories for running bottles out there, and some of them have little pockets for your stuff. But why pay for them if a beer koozie does the job for free?  (Ugh, I’m not a fan of this word. Koozie? Who even came up with it?)

You can stash whatever you want between the koozie and your water bottle – that’s what I do with my keys so that not to be annoyed by their dangling in my pocket.

2. Tuck your shoelaces and never worry about them coming untied during a race. Anyone who’s owned more than one pair of running shoes has battled with the shoelaces in some models coming untied when it’s least needed. I struggled with that during my second half marathon back in the day – man, I must have stopped at least five times to retie my laces!

Since then, I’ve been diligently tucking my laces (see the pic below) every time I head out for a run, and never once did I have to struggle with aggravation again.

I mean, who needs to spend money on nifty shoelace holders if the same result can be achieved for free? Plus, the shoelace loops aren’t going to keep smacking your ankles with every step.

Related reading: my training recaps from the marathons I’ve run – Pensacola Marathon (week-by-week) and Seattle Rock’n’Roll Marathon (month-by-month).

How to tie shoelaces to prevent them from unraveling during running
Even the flimsiest of shoelaces won’t bother you if you tuck them in!

3. Pin sports gels to the waistband of your running shorts (skirt, pants, etc.) with a safety pin when going for a long run. Once again, why splurge on a fanny pack or a vest with pockets to hold sports gels if we can carry them on the cheap?

I think I’ve heard about this tip from one of the editors of Runner’s World magazine who suggested bringing your own gels to a long race so that not to rely on whatever the race organizers are providing. Genius, I thought, so now I always bring my own food to eat during races.

Pin and gel collage

Another benefit of pinning your gels: it’s pretty easy to rip the gel pack open since it already has holes in it from the safety pin. You don’t even have to open the pin – just rip that gel off and go on with your run! (Be careful if a pin decides to open up though!)

All right, these are just three little tricks that have helped me “save money, run happy”, but this list doesn’t have to stop here! Do you have any running tricks that have helped you run more comfortably? Please let us all know in the comments!

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.


Friday 8th of September 2017

Plantar fachitis? Z coil shoes


Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

Just started running and every little bit of information is helpful. This was a great article. Thanks for sharing.


Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Great job Rachel, good luck on your running journey!


Wednesday 9th of April 2014

The lace-tucking idea is sheer genius! It actually works! Yesterday I greatly enjoyed hiking without constantly having to retie my boot laces and I'm looking forward to using this technique with Zumba shoes. Many thanks and safe travels.


Thursday 10th of April 2014

Awesome, glad you liked this tip, Molly! And thank you for the good wishes, we're already in WA, supposed to move into our new home in a couple days.


Tuesday 8th of April 2014

Definitely planning to use #2 and #3. Your genius! Thanks for sharing!


Tuesday 8th of April 2014

Awww thank you Kristin, hope these tips work out well for you!