Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Gear Under $50



It is that time a year again where we try to find the perfect gifts for our significant other, children, and parents.  If they are runners, you are in luck because there are plenty of great products for under $50 to choose from.  I have put together a list of some of my favorite products.

Runners who train at night:

This is a very simple product that can keep you safe when you run at night. The pair of clip-on LED lights are bright and can either provide a steady light or a strobe effect for more visibility.  I like to run with one red and one blue light clipped on the front of my hydration backpack.  People definitely see me coming.  


The Nathan Sports Orion Strobe light combines a LED light to guide your way and a red light to make sure you are seen.  The lights can be set to solid or flashing in many different combinations.  It clips to your clothes or the included belt.  You will never have to buy batteries because the Orion Strobe Light comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a built in USB charging. 
If you get hurt on a run, would the paramedics know how contact your loved ones? With the Wrist ID Sport from Road ID, they would. It is a comfortable bracelet with reflective strips and a metal plate that your emergency contact information is engraved onto. It comes with a Velcro enclosure for ease of use.


For the new runner:

Swiftwick claims their socks are “the best socks you will ever wear guaranteed.”  Their claims have merit to them.  Swiftwick socks are durable and feel great thanks to the premium materials and compression technology.  That means that you will have a blister free run with superior wicking.  If you don’t like them, Swiftwick will buy you another pair of socks.  Now that’s a guarantee!


Having a good pair of sunglasses that won’t bounce around and aren’t polarized can go a long way in making your run more enjoyable.  XX2i makes great sunglasses that are light weight and come with a case.  You also get the best guarantee in the business. You have 365 days to test them out and if you don’t like them for whatever reason, you can return them and get your money back.  They also have a lifetime warranty where they will replaced if you scratch or break them, you just pay a nominal shipping fee.  

Do you know when to change your running shoes? Most people don’t. The Mino is a pad that you put under your insole. The LED lights on the Mino will tell you when to buy a new pair of shoes before you injure yourself from running in shoes that are worn out. It’s that simple.  Get one for every pair of shoes.   


Products for Race Day:

Little things can make a huge difference.  I will never pin another bib to my shirt.  The Nathan Race Number Belt is a soft elastic belt that won’t chafe you.  It is adjustable and will fit most people.  There is a plastic clip and two toggles to hold you race bib on.
Nothing is worse than taking a shower after a race or long run and finding out that you have chafing issues.  Blue Steel’s Anti-Chafe Cream protects against blisters, skin rashes, chafing, and won’t stain your clothes.  It is made with tea tree oil which can soothe irritated skin as well.


When you are running for long distances, your body needs fuel to keep working at its peak performance.  Gu Energy Gels are only 100 calories and essential electrolytes.  There are dual sources of energy from maltodextrin and fructose for long lasting energy.  If you have ever been on a long run and ran out of energy, than you know how important fueling can be.  Gu’s Energy Gels are tasty and convenient.

Products to make your muscles happy:

OOFOS makes the most comfortable recovery sandal around.  Maybe your boss will be okay with you wearing them to work?  Not only does OOFOS foam absorb 37% more shock than other materials, but they cradle your arches as well.  They are machine washable and float. Beware, once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off.   

Many runners say that compression socks help to reduce swelling, enhance blood circulation, and reduce muscle vibration allowing you to run more efficiently and recover faster.  It may look like you are wearing knee high socks, but if you can get past that it may help your poor muscles recover for that next punishing run.  The Allrounder is an extremely comfortable compression sock that uses true graduated compression, unlike some of the cheaper compression socks out there.  They use seamless TekWeb technology to prevent blisters.  The Allrounder is also made with antimicrobial fibers to keep the socks from smelling, and they provide a cooling effect.

Stretching your muscles out on a regular basis will help you recover quicker, increase flexability, and reduce the risk of injury from running.  The OPTP Stretch Out Strap is 6’4” in length and has multiple loops to make it easier to hold while stretching.  The included exercise book comes with 30 exercises to help you along the way.  I use mine almost every night.
Sometimes you need to ice your muscles after a long run, but don’t have time to sit and break out the ice cup. Dr. Cool has a solution in their Ice/Compression wrap. Their wraps come in multiple colors to suit your personality and you can even get a travel case/cooler (the Dr. Cooler) for an additional $9.99. You simply wet the wrap, throw it in the freezer for 20-40 minutes, and wrap up that troubled area. Then you can go about your day while icing that pain in your… knee.


Awesome Deals:

Altra uses the best materials in their wide toe box shoes with zero heel drop.  These are some of the most comfortable around.  Altra made these shoes light weight, responsive, and flexible.  The Instinct 2.0 weighs 9.5 ounces and the Intuition 2.0 weighs 8.1 ounces.  They came out with the Instinct/Intuition 3.0 so you can get a killer deal on a pair of the Instinct/Intuition 2.0’s.  Get them while they last.


If you are a new runner or have been around the block a few times, you probably know that running brings out some smells that you never thought would come out of your body.  That leads to stinky clothes.  The good news is that Sport Suds can keep your clothes smelling and looking like new.  They have a variety of sizes to choose from as well as a washing machine cleaner.

Runner’s World magazine has great articles on how to improve your form, exercises, and nutrition that can be vital for newer runners. You also look at all of those runners that have 2% body fat and use it for motivation on your next diet. Runner’s World magazine has been around since the 1960’s so you know there is a lot of knowledge there.


Find a professional running coach who can help you to improve your form, becoming faster, or reach your goals. Go to the CoachUp website, answer a few questions and they will provide you with running coaches in your area. There are various prices based on the coach you pick. Become a stronger runner with help from a professional, not your friend Bob who keeps tripping over his own feet.

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