(Stocking stuffers under $25 are highlighted)
If you are still searching for a few last minute gifts for the runner in your life (and if you are that runner, we got ‘chu), take a look at this quick hit list for some ideas. Prices for the products below range from $5 to $800, so this is something for any budget.
- Apple Watch Ultra
I will start this by saying that I know this is an expensive watch. There are endless commentaries to justify the cost and compare it to Garmin, Coros, etc. There are also endless commentaries to state that a “real” runner doesn’t use this watch. But as a pretty real runner, I LOVE this watch. I have had an Apple Watch since the first iteration and firmly in the eco-system, but the Ultra has solved all my issues with previous versions. With this version, the battery lasts for about 3 days (and that includes running without my phone so on LTE, streaming music and the HRM). I used it for my recent marathon and it lasted for the entire race + the trip down to DC and back. During my training and lead up, I was able to create custom workouts in the watch so I didn’t have to keep track of how many 800s I was running on the track (I am forever miscounting), or look at my watch to check my pace on my long runs as it buzzed my wrist when I was off pace. It was like having a coach on my wrist keeping track of my splits and laps.
Not only is it great for traditional running – but with the new wayfinder capabilities and siren, it is great for trail running as well. (Maybe it is just me, but I get lost a lot when I run trails! 🙂 ) Add to the fact that Apple Watches have a focus mode so you can either receive all your emails, texts, phone calls and notifications and respond to them while you are out running – or not. You can set the focus mode based on what you want to see when you run. People are very passionate about their running watches, but I am truly loving the Apple Watch Ultra.
2. HiViz Converter Mittens/RunGlove
As soon as the temp sinks below 50 degrees, I don gloves for my runs. I may stick them in my pocket once I get warmed up, but my hands are always cold and gloves are a must. I use the RunGlove for temps from about 32 degrees to about 50, and break out the HiViz Converter Mittens for when it gets REALLY cold as it is nice to have that extra-hood layer to protect my finger tips. You can tuck the hook into the back of the glove if it gets too warm, but it is a nice wind-proof top. Both of these gloves have tech-friendly finger tips that actually work on your devices – like your watch 😉 – and are soft and warm on the inside.
3. Safety Gear – Headlamp/Nox Running lights
With barely any daylight during the winter months – some safety gear is a must. It gets dark quick and it is helpful to have some gear that can keep you safe from cars. One of my favorite holiday traditions is to do a few “headlamp runs” so that I can see all the beautiful holiday lights up in the neighborhoods. But when time gets away from me during the day, having this safety gear allows me to still get out and get my run in, even in the dark.
This Biolite headlamp is my favorite as it has no bounce when you are running plus it is rechargeable so no need to worry about having the right batteries when you are getting ready to head out. It is also great for all those zero-dark thirty race starts!
The NoxGear light up vest takes safety gear to a new level. Lightweight and very bright, it is very easy to wear while being seen by cars from far away – plus it makes for cool pictures!
4. Socks/Arm Warmers (*Stocking Stuffer)
As mentioned above, extremities can get cold when we are outside in the winter months. Most runners go through socks like crazy so having extra’s around are super helpful. While I normally wear a “no-show” sock for running, during the winter I move to a 1/4 sock to help keep the cold off my ankles. The Bocogear socks in our Rhode Races store are thin, light and wicking with reinforced toes and heels. They have a tight weave so they keep your feet warm, they don’t wear out like most socks I have had, and keep the cold at bay.
Arm warmers are my hidden secret item – they are not just for professional athletes. How often have you been packing for a race and wondering what to wear for layers? Arm warmers are the answer. While a race or run may start chilly, you know it is going to warm up. Start with arm warmers and a vest. If you get warm, pulling off those arm warmers and sticking them in your pocket is super easy.
5. Gift Cards for Race Entries (*Stocking Stuffer)
Yes, if you have a runner in your life, they would LOVE a gift card for a race! Help your friends and family commit to their resolution with a race on the calendar, or share the joy and community of the happy vibe of a finish line and be the person that helped them achieve their running goals. Gift cards for Rhode Races are on sale this week for 10% off, right up until Xmas day, and they are available in any domination.
6. Running Hat (*Stocking Stuffer)
In the theme of the blog – extremities get cold and most of your body heat escapes through your head. I wear a running hat or visor with a bill during the summer to keep the sun off my face, but a beanie in the winter in an effort to stay warm, especially my ears. I know some love a pompom, I find the weight of the pompom bouncing up and down while I run causes the hat to slide off my head, but a beanie is perfect. The good news is that the Rhode Races store has all 4 options for you! Beanies, pompoms, visors and billed hats – something for every one!
7. Strava Subscription (*Stocking Stuffer)
With Twitter on the fritz, FB and Instagram overloaded with ads, Strava is a great social media app to not only act as a training log, but also to connect with other like-minded runners. And yes, it does help hold you accountable when you just don’t feel like bundling up and heading outdoors. There are challenges you can sign up for, routes you can create and/or follow, measurement tools and more. Strava can be your coach or your diary. Instead of a traditional running journal, I use Strava to document my runs and races, keep track of the mileage on my shoes, and share some of my favorite routes.
A literal LIFESAVER during the winter! If you loathe the dreadmill like I do and want to run outside year-round, I cannot recommend enough a pair of YakTrax. They take a bit of getting used to, but unlike micro-spikes that dig into your foot, these have a nice spring action so they push out of your way as you step down, and yet help you get some grip on snow and ice.
9. Recovery Tools (Foam Roller, Massage Gun, Strength bands)
I don’t know about you, but I feel more tight and tense during the winter. Not sure if it is because I am always tensed up, trying to get warm – shoulders up to my ears, arms pulled in tight, tension through my back, etc. But because the temperature is naturally colder, our muscles aren’t as limber as they are during the summer. Help ease that tension for the runner in your life and get them some recovery tools so they can foam roll or use the massage gun during the winter months in an effort to try and ease some of that muscles soreness.
10. Fuel – Hydration and Nutrition (*Stocking Stuffer)
Whether you are running 3 miles or 30, proper hydration and nutrition is important on and off the roads – ESPECIALLY in the winter months. Not only does food = fuel, but the heat and humidity from homes and offices can really dry you out without ever realizing it. My favorite hydration of choice is Nuun. I have tried others but I find Nuun super easy to drink. In the winter, when I can’t do another cup of tea or hot chocolate, but need something warm in my hands, I put a tab of Nuun Daily in some hot water. And I swear by their Immunity tabs in keeping COVID, colds and other sickness at hand. (I am in no way a doctor, so I can’t attest to the scientific results, but I do love it.) Nuun is also low-cal and the company themselves match the Rhode Races mission by being Net Carbon neutral and a B-Corp.
For nutrition on the run, I recently switched over to a maple-syrup based gel while training for the Marine Corps Marathon and I really like it. UnTapped is made in our sister State of VT and not only is it “plant-based,” but it is a great flavor – esp in the fall and winter months. Very easy to digest, with just a couple of natural ingredients, depending on the flavor chosen – I LOVED the salted caramel version – but a great stocking stuffer not just for runners, but skiing, hiking, snowshoeing and more.
If you have a runner in your life, or really just an outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of last minute and low cost options still available. We ship same day for anything in the Rhode Races store, so if you are close to RI – it could arrive within 2 days. AND if you made it this far in reading the newsletter, we will reward you with 20% anything in our store through 12/23. Use code RUNGIFTS at https://rhoderaces.com/shop/
Happy Holidays to all the Rhode Racers and we hope to see you at a starting line soon!