'Tis the season to be looking for gifts for family and friends! You know you want to get them something special that they'll enjoy, but what? Well, here's some ideas for that special runner in your life.
Winter Running Gear
If you have a loved one who runs in the winter weather, consider getting them some cold-weather running gear to keep them comfortable while they run in the ice and snow. It's important to remember that when running, we do warm up after the first few minutes, so layers may be thinner than you might expect, even into temperatures in the single digits. Look for moisture-wicking materials instead of cotton because pulling the moisture from sweat away from the skin will keep the runner from becoming chilled. Wool is a cozy option for winter running because even if it gets wet, it still keeps in warmth.
- Gloves are a great gift for any runner who spends their winters braving the weather. It's important to look for a wicking fabric so that sweaty hands don't make you colder over time. Another helpful trait for gloves is to have some wind resistance. Wind-chill makes a huge difference in how runners experience the temperature, so having something blocking the wind from our hands is the best bet to keep fingers toasty warm. Manzella Windstopper Touch Tip Gloves are a great option for a nice cozy wind-resistant running glove.
- Running Jackets tend to be thinner than most people would expect for winter running. The idea is to keep the wind off, possibly be water proof and be only slightly warm. These are not jackets that you would wear to run to the store in cold weather, but closer to something you might wear on a cool spring or fall day. Jackets with reflective details are particularly nice if your loved one is stuck running in the dark this time of year. Staying visible to cars while on the run is paramount for the safety of the runner. Check out the Saucony Nomad Jacket or the Nike Shield Jacket for an example of a perfect gift for the runner in your life.
See the Saucony Nomad Jacket in person at Confluence Running!
- Hats are also essential for a runner running in cold weather. Again, you want to look for a hat that wicks moisture, but for runners with long hair, consider finding a hat with an opening in the back for a pony tail to go through. Saucony's Swift Skull Cap is a perfect example of a comfortable and stylish option.
- Wool socks. What? Really? Yes! Wool socks are wonderful for runners. Wool is great at keeping moisture away from us while keeping us warm. Wool socks are especially useful when a runner is running through slush and snow that might splash water into his shoes. Feetures Elite Merino+ socks are a wonderfully soft and long lasting option for wool running socks.
- GPS watches have become wildly popular in recent years. Whether we just like to have a metric on how well we're doing, or we use it to optimize our training, we runners love to have specific data on our distance and pace, as well as whatever other data we can gather. GPS watches can do that for us. Not only does it give us information during our run on how far we've gone and how fast we're going, but the model with a heart rate monitor can also tell us how hard our bodies are working and where our weaknesses are. This is a useful training tool and lets us geek out over our progress. Check out the Garmin Forerunner 15 as an example of a solid GPS watch, or take the data-gathering a step further and get the Garmin Vivofit and have data on everything you do, all day long.
- Reflective gear is important for safety in these winter months when short daylight hours leave runners stuck running in the dark, but can come in handy in the summer when you just want a beautiful summer night run! Either way, it's important to stay visible to cars when running the streets. Check out Amphipod's line of lights and reflective gear for some great options to keep runners visible to traffic.
- Fitness belts are slim-to-the-body belts that you can use to keep a cell phone and maybe your id or some cash in while running. They usually have a stretchy pouch on an elastic belt that expands to hold a few items you might need while running. These not only come in handy if you have a few things that you can't fit into the [tiny!!] pockets in running shorts or tights, but they can also are useful for stashing stuff when you travel. Spibelt is a popular brand that holds up really well to consistent use and is a good size to hold even some of the larger smart phones on the market, a nice feature when many of the phone-holding devices (like armbands) are typically not large enough to handle anything bigger than an i-phone. They also come in a variety of colors.
Runners all have their preference on race nutrition, and a lot of us forget to branch out and try something new when we find something that we are happy with. It's always fun to be given a variety of new types to try out when on the run. Instead of candy or treats in the christmas stocking, why not give the runner in your life something new to try out on the run?
- Gels are a type of race nutrition that is in a semi liquid form and easy to squeeze into your mouth to get some fuel while running long distances. They come in a wide variety of flavors including some that may be more holiday-treat-like. Look for GU in Salted Caramel, Espresso, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Chocolate and add a little indulgence to your loved one's race or long run.
- Nutrition bars are a favorite for before or after a run when a runner is ready to take on some recovery calories. Check out Picky Bars for a variety of different flavors that might appeal to your loved one.
- Even if a runner doesn't want to take in fuel in the form of carbohydrate during a run, they'll still need to replace electrolytes as they sweat. Yes, even in the cold winter weather. There's a variety of ways to do this, whether it's via the typical sports drink type fuel that is so ubiquitous or even electrolyte pills, but a fun and tasty way to get electrolytes while avoiding the sugar in typical sports drinks is with Nuun tablets. They go into a bottle of water and fizz while they dissolve creating a tasty drink and replenishing electrolytes after a workout. Nuun is sold in tubes that make perfect stocking stuffers, or if you're not sure which flavor your favorite runner would prefer, you can also buy them individually wrapped.
Consider looking beyond physical "stuff" as a gift this year and give your loved one the gift of experiences this year! Whether the runner in your life already has one of everything or they are just difficult to buy for because they have strong preferences that you're not sure of, buying experiences for that person can be a great gift!
- Race entries! Any runner who likes to race would love to have some of their race fees covered for them. Not only are you getting them a Christmas gift that will be appreciated, but you're giving them the gift of wonderful memories and a sense of accomplishment that comes with having completed a race. If you know what they would like their next challenge will be, consider buying them a race entry for their preferred race distance. The Greater Binghamton Bridge Run is a wonderful local race that offers both 5k and half marathon distances. Perfect for a newer runner or one who is just looking to challenge themselves to a new personal record.
- Along with race entries, consider buying the runner in your life a training program. Many local gyms and running stores offer training programs and they can be very motivating. Running with a group, having peers going through the same things you are, and having a coach not only writing your own personalized training plan, but to check in with and get advice on whatever questions or problems you run into can be invaluable. If the runner in your life is planning to run the Greater Binghamton Bridge Run, you can check out Confluence Running's Bridge Run Training Program. With options for the 5k or half marathon level, our coach will get you results, whether it's for a new or returning runner or someone who just wants to finally snag that PR.
- Private Training or Coaching is another great way to show your favorite runner how much you love them. Not only will it help advance their training to the next level, but a trainer or coach can help make sure a runner is doing what's necessary to avoid injury and just improve overall health and wellness. We all know how miserable runners are when they can't run because they're injured, so this is a pretty amazing gift. Check out Confluence Running's coaching and training options available for the Binghamton area.