How to Carry Stuff While Running: Phone, Nutrition, Water, Oh my! 

How do you carry stuff while running?

Do you ever feel like a pack horse when you head out for a run, especially when it's a long run?

You don't think you need much but somehow you end up heading out the door looking something like this...

There can be so many things that you want to bring with you! 

  • Phone
  • Keys
  • ID
  • Fuel
  • Water
  • Energy drink
  • Chews
  • Sunscreen
  • Band-Aids
  • Body Glide

How do you carry it all?

If you don’t have a system down yet, perhaps this list can give you some ideas of how to efficiently and comfortably bring what you need need to bring with you. 

Let’s start off with how to carry a phone since that’s usually the number 1 item that runners bring with them! 

how to carry your phone while running


Hands down my favorite way to carry stuff while running is in my FlipBelt.

It’s easy to feel for what you need, it’s a breeze to slide your phone in and out of, and (most important for me) it doesn’t bounce around while I am running.

You can fit a bunch of different items in a flip belt and they all stay in place without bouncing around and getting lost. 

It's truly my most loved piece of running gear

Sports fanny packs

Yes, fanny packs are the hot trend right now! Not sure why they were ever socially banned, they can be so functional! 

Fanny packs are a great option if you are carrying bulkier items that need a bit more room than what is given in your flipbelt.

They can be worn in addition to your Flipbelt if you really have FOMO about leaving things at home that you might need. 

Sports Running Fanny Pack by Waterfly

Bum bag

Bum bags are essentially fanny packs however they are made to sit behind your back.

It really depends where it feels the most comfortable for you. 

A bum bag can also just be your fanny pack (like this lightweight one) shifted over to your backside. 

running bra

Yep, lots of females carry their phone inside their running bra.

I have never actually done this but I do know many people who run with a bra that has a built in phone storage pouch. I just wonder about the sweat factor….have you ever done this?

put it in a ziploc bag

Go old school and Ziploc-bag-it in a pinch.

This is how my dad does it. He’s a marathoner turned endurance cyclist now and he wraps his phone up in a ziploc bag before putting it in his fanny pack or backpack so that water (or sweat!) doesn’t leak into it. 

arm band

Arm bands can hold a plethora of different items and really aren't as annoying as you might think. 

Running with my phone inside of an arm band was my preferred choice when it came to carry my phone while running. 

However with the dawn of the Flipbelt that is now what I use to carry my phone while I run.

Many people like how they are able to see their phone screen through an arm phone band. It really is a matter of preference and can depend on what else you are carrying with you.

This running armband phone carrier on Amazon *only* has 42,000 five star reviews to sway you. 

Water bottle/phone hand carrier

A water/phone carrier can be a super functional way to carry and store both your phone and your water bottle.

This phone/water bottle hand carry holder by Nathan is super popular amongst marathon and half marathon runners! 

This dual combo hand pack makes a great time to segway into…

how to carry water while running

hand held waterbottle holder

You can absolutely hold your water bottle while running but that is not really a secure and safe way to run.

Do yourself a favor and get a comfortable little handheld water bottle holder that makes it a lot easier to carry.

I would recommend a water bottle hand carrier like this one for shorter runs when the heat or humidity index requires it. Otherwise for longer runs, something like the Camelbak (which I will talk about next!) would be more appropriate.

light weight back pack

Camelbak is the leader in lightweight water backpack carriers for endurance sports such as marathon training. 

Here is an example of one of their excellent hydration backpacks.

A hydration back pack will stay snug on your back, are super light weight and have a mouth piece that allows you to rehydrate very easily.

hydration vest with pockets

Vest with pockets for hydration bottles and storage for extras can be a great option for those who do like to carry a bit more while running. 

Not only can a vest with pockets and bottle storage be super functional, it can also be a protective layer with reflective fabric on it for safety precautionsIf you like to wake up early and run then this would be a great addition to your running stash.

(Here are some more pieces of running in the dark gear that you might enjoy if you frequently run in the early or late hours of the day.)

A running vest usually doesn't add much additional weight, that is until you start to fill it with all the things you want to carry with you and they are quite functional.

Here is a lightweight running vest option that also has great reviews.


A hydration running belt can be a great option for those who like to put the extra weight on their hips versus wearing a backpack, carrying their bottle or wearing a running vest. 

Here's a guide to the best running hydration belts for marathoners! 

planting your water/hydration bottles (+extra stuff!) along your route

The best thing you can do before you head out on a run is to plan ahead!

When you are planting the fuel, water bottles, sunscreen and all the extras that you need out on your running route before you run it means that you are planning your route ahead of time, you are planning your fuel ahead of time, and you’re prepping your mindset for what you want it do - run all the miles!

It’s to your benefit and can be a great preparatory mind trick!

Here's some more tips for running your best long runs! 

Bribing a family member or friend to meet you at a designated spot. 🙋‍♀️

This is another great option especially since carrying water and any form of liquid can feel very heavy to a runner (not really what we want when we have 18 miles on our horizon.)

Simply prep all that you need and pack some extras, load them up into a car and plan to have someone meet you at a certain point.

This can be a great motivator and accountability factor if you have a predetermined meeting spot set up with someone. Plus you will get to see a loved one which can give you a big boost and perhaps a second wind.

Another benefit to having someone meet you is that if you forget something or realize you need something you hadn't planned on needing then they will be able to grab it for you and all is not lost.

how to carry stuff while running bonus tip

don't forget your pockets!

Pockets here, there, and everywhere!

Here is your friendly reminder to use your pockets!! Nowadays sports clothes can come with so many cool pockets that are usually the perfect size to stash needed items. 

If you enjoy pockets, keep this in mind the next time you are purchasing marathon training running clothes.

Here's just one example of what a pair of shorts can do for you. 

How do you carry nutrition during a marathon?

Let's answer this last quick question: How do you carry nutrition during a marathon? 

Many runners like to carry their nutrition with them during a marathon. It can make or break your race if you don’t have enough fuel to refuel with during the race so it’s always good to never rely solely on race aid stations to provide you with fuel. 

Any of the back packs, bum bags, fanny packs, or vests listed above would be perfect for storing some extra energy gels, chews or powders. 

The important thing is to simply make sure you are planning enough fuel and that you carry enough to power you through the marathon! 

If you want more on personalizing your own marathon nutrition plan to enhance your running and race performance then Eat Like a Marathoner will do just that!

how do you carry stuff while running?

Do you have a system down yet? Have you found something specific that is comfortable and that works for you?

Or perhaps you don't carry much at all and therefore don't need anything fancy?

The bottom line is that even though marathons require a lot out of us, we can still be comfortable and carry what we need with us or have other options such as planting things ahead of time or meeting up with a friend or family member along the way! 

Here's to many more safe, comfortable, and adventurous runs ahead! 

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