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5 Handy Emergency Running Gear Hacks

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The well-known running adage claims that sometimes the hardest part of running is donning our shoes and getting out the door. But, wish as we may, a runner’s kit  is rarely limited to a good pair of shoes. Here are some gear hacks that may at some or other point save a run or at the very least make it more enjoyable.

Snacks on the Go

Probably one of the reasons why energy gels are so popular to take on the run is the clever packaging. It is compact, (usually) not messy to store and fits in the tiniest of compartments of our running apparel.

But gels may not be your preferred fuel. So with this handy hack you can easily secure any size portion of your favorite snack-on-the-run.

What and How?

All you need for this hack is a roll of Glad® Press’n Seal®, your required portions of snacks and a pair of scissors. Press’n Seal® is a very handy supply to have around and much easier to use than normal clingfilm. And it is BPA free!

Pull out a piece of film long enough to pack the snack portions on and to cover it as well. After packing the individual snack portions, fold the remaining film over the snacks and press down in the spaces between. Rub down firmly on the edges between the parcels. When packing out the portions, leave sufficient room between them to properly seal the parcels.  Now cut down the centers between the parcels and there you go! 

Press’n Seal® will securely seal liquids too, so it is safe to say that one would be able to transport a portion of nut-butters in this way too.  Line some compartments of an ice-cube holder, fill it with your choice of butter and seal with a a top layer. 

DIY Snow- and Ice-Running Spikes

If ever you were caught on a patch of slippery ice without some traction device on your running shoes, you will know the value of this hack. There are many brands, forms and shapes of traction devices for snow and ice running that you can buy, but you can also very easily do it yourself. And no, it’s not permanent and it won’t ruin your shoes!

What and How?

For this hack you’ll need some screws, a hand drill and a screw driver. Sources recommend that you use sheet metal screws with hex heads. This is because sheet metal screws have a small protruding ridge on the top that gives the best traction. The size of the screws recommended is anything between #8 1/2″ to #8 1/4″ long.  The 1/2″ screws are short enough to not go through the shoe but long enough to not come out easily. For very thin shoes (or if you are paranoid), the 1/4″ screws is nice and short.

Placing of the screws will depend on personal choice. Some sources recommend placing the screws only on the perimeter of the out-sole. Others place them scattered all over. The only important thing to remember is to place each screw on a protruding lug and NOT in the spaces between. That really would serve no point. Also, be careful to avoid gel or air pockets, should your shoes have any.

The quickest way to get the screws in is by drilling a shallow pilot hole for each screw. Then simply use the screwdriver to screw in the.. well, screw. It is recommended to not over-tighten the screws, but to stop screwing once the screw head touches the rubber. That way the screw stays in longer.

Once the snowy, icy season is over, simply turn out the screws and use the shoes as usual again.

DIY Handheld Water Bottle

On your runcation and forgot your favorite running water bottle? With this handy trick you can create a temporary replacement for your handheld bottle in no time.

What and How?

For this hack you’ll only need a few pieces of duct tape (we all travel with duct tape, right?) and an empty 500 ml plastic water bottle. Measure a strip of duct tape just longer than the length of the bottle. Double-back the strip on itself so there are no sticky parts. This will be the handle.

Now tape the top part of the handle to the very top part of the bottle. Grip the bottle with the handle over your hand to see how much slack you’ll need for your hand size and where to secure it at the bottom. Fix the bottom part of the handle with another piece of tape and voila!

Emergency Sports Bra

Girls, we all know that we should never skimp on a good, supportive running bra. But this hack may just save your run, or at the very least a bit of dignity somewhere along the line. This is, however, not recommended as a cheap alternative to the real deal!

You may have seen this hack before, and it really works brilliant. All you need for your emergency running top is a pair of sturdy men’s underwear (it really doesn’t have to be Spiderman; Superman or Ninja Turtles will also do) and a pair of scissors. You could add two strips of masking tape as cutting guides.

Stick the masking tape along the front and back parts where you think you’ll need to cut. Remember, your head needs to fit through the hole. The front of the underpants (Spiderman side) will become the back of the bra. Now cut along the taped lines, leaving the elastic edges as the bra’s shoulder straps.

Remove the tape and try the bra on. If it pulls up a bit, cut out the back (Spiderman side) a little deeper until it fits straight and securely around your chest. You are welcome!

Stationary Pool Trainer

If you love to swim on cross-training days but you only have access to a teeny tiny pool, this hack is for you.  With this device you’ll be able to swim ‘laps’ to your heart’s content in pool space barely longer than your own body length.

All you’ll need to create your nifty pool trainer is a pool noodle (with a hole though the middle) and about 3 or 4 m of cotton rope. Cut the pool noodle in half (you’ll only need one half). String the rope thorough the one part and tie it loosely to make a padded loop. The loop needs to be about twice the circumference of your waist. Now tie the far end of the rope to the side of the pool (the pool weir with the lid removed works nicely). Slip the padded loop over your waist, find a comfortable position and swim. Your feet should be far enough from the side of the pool not to touch it, and hopefully your arms won’t hit any steps either.


  1. Matt Carpenter, The Screw Shoe For Running on Packed Snow and Ice, Online Publication
  2. Allison Pattillo, DIY Snow-Running Spikes, Online Publication