If you have a runner in your life you have to class yourself as one of the lucky few when it comes to Christmas present choices – they are so easy to buy for. If they are gadget loving runners then life is even easier.
I imagine there will be thousands of people who have identified themselves as runners within the last month, as whimsical ballot entries have resulted in unexpected entrances into the London marathon. These people will be overjoyed to open stockings packed with running related gizmos.
Here’s my selection of the best gift ideas for runners with prices ranging from about £8 to £400 for the very lucky runners.
Garmin Forerunner 910XT (approx £100 – £400 depending on forerunner version)
The 910XT is the latest offering from the Garmin Forerunner series and is the ultimate watch for runners and triathletes alike. It now combines a swim specific distance monitor that will track your swim efficiency in open water or a pool. It combines this with all the usual features of the high end Forerunner series (specifically Forerunner 305 and Forerunner 310XT).
To be fair, if the recipient is a runner and never dons swimming gear it is probably an unnecessary expense and you should opt for the super cheap Garmin Forerunner 305 which has not been bettered yet as a run specific GPS watch.
Adidas miCoach pacer (approx £120)
This is a great little device for those who like a little motivation and feedback on a run. It comprises an armband that attaches to your iPhone (or other audio device), a heart rate monitor and a footpod for measuring distance and pace.
The website enables you to select your goals which result in personalised training plan. Your sessions are prescribed and when you run you get a voice over that tells you how you are doing and whether you need to increase the pace or ease off a bit. The interval sessions a really intense and its hard to slack off when you have a virtual trainer in your head.
(Adidas miCoach reviewed here)
The Stick (£28 – £42)
Its hard to avoid run related injuries but The Stick and others like it are fabulous at both injury avoidance tools and recovery massagers. It’s a simple device consisting of a flexible pole with plastic washers and a couple of handles. Hard to explain but it enables you to apply controlled pressure to the trouble zone – calves, quads, ITB, hamstrings etc. I’ve experienced quite a speedy recovery from a painful muscle injury after using The Stick and now use it semi-religiously to relax my calves before and after a run.
(The Stick reviewed here)
Sennheiser headphones (approx £27)
I’ve always run with Sennheiser headphones as they do a fantastic range of sport specific headphones that stay in place as you run. I currently use the PMX680 model which was a Sennheiser/Adidas partnership that was released along with the Adidas miCoach system. I chose this particular model as it has a volume and microphone gizmo on the cable. I think this is a great feature as it means I can answer calls (hopefully motivational ones) when I’m out a run and can also invoke the voice control system to change the music.
North Face Enduro Boa (approx £77)
This is quite simply the best running rucksac available, it is also probably the most expensive. But hey ho, as they say, you get what you pay for. They currently do a men’s and women’s version and you absolutely cannot switch genders because of the yolk design. I read last month that they will not be continuing with the women’s model so use this as an opportunity to snaffle the last remaining stocked items before they are lost for good.
Marathon Training books (approx £8)
There are an assortment of running books available, I’ve linked to a load of the ones that I’ve enjoyed on my side bar so I will restrict myself to a couple of choices for new marathon runners.
The Non-Runners Marathon Training Plan – you need to be careful with this one, as it would be easy to insult a more accomplished runner. I’ve been running for years but I’m still useless and find no end of motivation from this tome. I’d recommend to anyone struggling to believe in their ability to run the full 26.2 miles.
A safer choice is Marathon by Hal Higdon, Hal Higdon has written the training plans followed by many of the successful marathon runners that have gone before me – he offers a tried and tested formula that can’t be refuted.
iPhone armband (£4 and upwards)
I find it hard to believe that the runner (and iPhone owner) in your life won’t already have one of these but I have seen people running with phones tucked in the waist band of their shorts and flapping around in trouser pockets. These folk need an armband!
TRX Suspension Trainer (approx £120)
This isn’t entirely run specific but it has sneaked it’s way onto my Christmas gift list as it also appears on my Dear Santa wish list. It’s another injury avoidance gadget and quite popular at the moment with functional trainers and personal trainers. You may see people in parks suspended from straps of elastic as their instructors shout out guidance for improving their core strength.
KiFit and subscription (£150 – £200)
As seen on biggest loser. It’s the armband that monitors your calorie expenditure, workload and sleep levels. You combine this with accurate meal logging and the plans available on the website in order to shed weight steadily. This will be a great motivator for anyone determined to kick off the new year with a healthy and energetic New Year.
(KiFit Body Monitor reviewed here)
Petzl Head Torch (approx £30)
With the winter nights setting in, a head torch is great way to extend the running season and maintain safety while running along the streets. It is essential for country runners and those brave enough to venture into the park after sunset.
I love it and pull it out at almost every opportunity – camping, firework lighting, late night gardening but as yet I haven’t dared to run around the streets in mine.