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Training to run 26.2 miles is never easy. It takes time, energy and—if you’re smart—a few well-chosen pieces of gear.

Socks

To reduce the skin-on-fabric friction that causes most blisters, Drymax combined its anti-sweat fibers with polytetrafluoroethylene, the coating on nonstick pans. Even in a downpour, the socks can help prevent painful rubbing.
Drymax Triathlete Socks: $9; SwimOutlet

Water Source

Specifically designed for marathoners, this 12.7-ounce CamelBak vest holds a two-liter hydration pouch with an extralarge opening for quick refilling. Runners can tighten straps along the reservoir as it empties to stop sloshing and increase flow. Two adjustable sternum belts ensure a perfect, non-chafing fit.
CamelBak Marathoner Vest: $100; Camelbak

Headphones

These rain- and sweat-proof Bluetooth earbuds tame boredom on long training runs. In addition to acting as a wireless headset for phone calls, they can stream music from a smartphone or iPod Touch, or from their built-in FM radio.
Jabra SPORT: $100; Jabra

Watch

With Nike’s GPS watch, runners can track their location, pace and elevation—and compete with friends around the world. The watch links to Nike’s four-million-strong runners’ network so you can share stats and routes.
Nike+ SportWatch GPS: $300; Amazon

Shoes

Altra’s The Instinct shoes combine the benefits of barefoot running with the support and shock absorption of sneakers. Most running soles are thicker at the rear, so the heel hits the ground first, putting pressure on the knees. These have an even base, so runners move more like they would without shoes, landing with the foot flat on the ground and knee slightly bent.
Altra The Instinct: $100; Altra Running

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