You might log most of your miles in the park, on the trail, or at the gym. But the environment in which you reside, even when you’re not running, matters to your injury risk, performance, and overall well being. Here are 18 household items to get rid of to aid you in your question for a happy, healthy running life—and five others you should be sure to keep around.
Toss - Your worn-down running shoes
After regular use—one common rule of thumb is 300 to 400 miles—your kicks become less supportive. This stresses the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, the tough band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, says Colleen Brough, DPT, director of the Columbia RunLab and assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. You can donate your old pairs to organizations like Soles4Souls. Some specialty running stores will send them there for you. While you’re there, get properly fit for a new pair.
Toss - Cotton socks
What goes inside those sneaks also plays an important role in foot health, says John Gallucci, DPT, president and CEO of JAG Physical Therapy in West Orange, New Jersey. Cotton traps moisture, making it easier for blisters to form. So toss any old tube socks you still have and replace them with synthetic, moisture-wicking materials.
Toss - Broken devices
The decade-old stopwatch that won’t start. The GPS watch that no longer picks up satellites. They’re not doing you any good sitting on the top shelf of your closet or cluttering your garage, says Tim Bradley, the distance running coach at Saint Louis University. See if you can repair them and either use them or give them to a running buddy—if not, find a place to recycle them through the National Center for Electronics Recycling.
Toss - Cheap drugstore sunglasses
You need to protect your eyes from damage - check the label for confirmation they block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Even better: sunglasses with changeable lenses, including a clear or light pair that keep debris out of your eyes even when it’s dark or cloudy, says Mike Norman, coach and co-owner of training program Chicago Endurance Sports.
Toss - Extra-large serving dishes, bowls, or cups
Runger is real—and the bigger the container you eat out of, the more likely you are to overserve yourself, Parker says. Trade oversized dinnerware for more modest appetizer-sized plates and small bowls, and measure portions of foods like rice, pasta, peanut butter, and ice cream using measuring cups and spoons. You’ll eat the right amount, and when it’s served in a smaller dish or bowl, it seems more satisfying, she says.
Toss - Junk food
Consider what your triggers are. For Parker, it’s chips and cookies: “If either are in the apartment, I’m definitely grabbing those over the carrot sticks and apple slices,” she says. “Sometimes it’s best to just not have those items in the house to eliminate temptation.” And pour out the pop. Soda adds nothing but empty calories to your diet.
Toss - The TV in your bedroom
A good night’s sleep is critical to your recovery and overall health, Bradley says. TVs—or really, any backlit electronic devices—interrupt it by keeping your brain buzzing and emitting blue light that surpresses the sleep hormone melatonin.
Keep - A full-length mirror
Use it to check your form while running on the treadmill or during a single-leg squat test. Check for knees that drift inward or a pelvis that drops, Brough says. If you spot them, work on correcting your form and strengthening your hips.
Keep - Anything to get you eating your veggies
A roasting pan for roasting vegetables is simple and brings out their full flavor, Parker says. Save cleanup time by lining each pan with foil brushed with olive oil. And hang onto to any gadgets that make vegetables simpler or more appealing—for instance, a spiralizer to create noodle shapes with your produce.
Keep - Closet organizers
A designated bin, basket, or drawer for your running gear can make heading out for your workout far simpler. For small items like socks, shorts, and tank tops, Haworth recommends over-the-door shoe organizers.
Keep - Foam roller and a stretching mat
Keep this one-two combo close to where you work or watch TV, so you don’t forget to take breaks for flexibility and mobility. And pair them with a timer or app on your phone that reminds you to get up and move on a regular basis throughout your day and evening, Norman says.
Keep - Dry erase board
Write down your next day’s training, your big goal, and a motivational message. Keep it where you see it frequently - for instance, on the fridge - to keep you on track for the long term, Bradley says.