2016 Gift Guide for Runners!
Working on your own wishlist or searching for a great gift for the runner in your life? I put together a few recommendations for this year!
Marathoner sweatshirt by Sarah Marie Design Studio — I love this company so much! When I bought my first shirt in early 2016 — the elite marathoner names shirt — I was impressed by the attentive service (trying to figure out sizing) and quality. Plus I loved the style. Little did I know then that SMDS would launch its inaugural brand ambassador program in the fall and I’d be one of a couple dozen lucky enough to be part of Sarah’s team! That said, she’s churning out super stuff at a crazy pace and I could’ve filled this entire list just with stuff from her! I limited myself to just two, though. First, this cozy, soft, wear-all-the-time sweatshirt with foil print! The perfect après-run top for that coffee shop run!
Anatomy For Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Speed by Jay Dicchary, which I put on here not just to get bonus points with my physical therapist. She introduced me to this book after assigning me several exercises she pulled from its pages. If you’re a fan of biomechanics or anatomy, this is a great book for you. It’s pretty technical in a nerdy kind of way. It includes mobility and stability tests to assess your form and corrective exercises, with step-by-step photos. I keep this book handy!
Feed Zone Table cookbook, by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim. Look, every other running site is going to recommend Run Fast Eat Slow this season. And that’s fine, it’s a good book. But when I’m planning dinner for the week, this is the book I reach for. This is the third in a series of cookbooks, and the other two (The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone portables) are both great, too. This one focuses on family meals to bring groups together in a way that nourishes life and sport. Some favorites of mine (and available free on their website) are the Mac & Cheese Bolognese (created for cyclist Mark Cavendish), Chicken Pad Thai, and Red Chicken with Baked Biriyani.
Hammer Nutrition Fully Charged — I love a lot of Hammer Nutrition products and could make a gift list just off their site, too! But Fully Charged is a new product that I’m in love with, and I recently posted a longer review about it that you can read here. Basically, it’s pre-exercise rocket booster. It helps increase energy, alertness, and mental focus — without relying on caffeine to do it. Instead, the all-natural ingredients also help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness. I was skeptical of this before, because all the other pre-exercise fuels I’ve seen were basically Red Bull. No thanks. But the Hammer crew alleviated my concerns and recommended Fully Charged when they helped me set up my fueling plan for Monumental this year (it worked really well!). I tried it under varying conditions before concluding it really works, and I really like it! Perfect for workouts, long runs and races. Comes in a 30-serving container (and on sale through Dec. 16).
Zensah compression ankle/calf sleeves — I was looking to replace my compression socks this fall and saw a post of Anna Weber wearing this new product from Zensah that combined their popular compression calf sleeves with ankle and plantar fascia support. BAM! Home run. I wear my compression socks for recovery and love some arch squeezing, but with long monkey toes (especially the second toe), I always feel like they’re being squished. These sleeves are perfect! Feels great on your calves and around the arch of your foot.
Jasyoga subscription — think you don’t have time for yoga? Think again. Jasyoga is yoga for athletes, by athletes. You can improve your running in as little as 5 minutes with the videos on the site. It’s practical yoga without complicated Sanskrit names, targeting those areas that need work. There’s also meditations on the site to help prepare you for the mental challenges of training and racing, and recovery sessions to help get you ready for the next hard day of training. The 5 Minute Reset collection is amazing, and you can string together multiple segments if you like. Or, follow along with a routine in the 15- to 45-minute range. A video subscription is just $5 per month, and you can try some videos out for free on the Jasyoga YouTube channel. Another thing I love is that I can access the videos on any of my devices — on my laptop at home, or using my phone at the gym. It’s always there when I need it!
“How Bad Do You Want It? Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle” by Matt Fitzgerald. This one was on my list last year, and I’m not sure when I’ll take it off. Two things helped me to PR by 13 minutes in the marathon this year: my coach and this book. Matt is one of my favorite running-related writers and my copy of HBDYWI is dog-eared, annotated, and well-worn. It gets picked up every training cycle. Elite athletes know that the mind is a huge factor in performance, and science is unravelling why. Matt examines more than a dozen pivotal races to discover the surprising ways elite athletes strengthen their mental toughness, and the science behind how and why it works. The technical stuff is mixed in with thrilling stories about the different races, so you’re never bored. The chapter about Jenny Simpson inspired me greatly this season and when I found out she actually read my blog talking about that and about my performance at Monumental, I just about peed my pants.
Shalane and Amy pin by Sarah Marie Design Studio — I told you I was limiting myself to just two things by SMDS. This one I just bought for my two best friends! As part of her new Varsity Jacket collection, SMDS has a number of pins and patches to decorate your jacket. Love! This one of Shalane and Amy at the finish of the Olympic Trials Marathon is EPIC. Watching them train together and then race mile-after-mile together, seeing Amy try to drag Shalane with her, to Shalane telling her to go, to Shalane collapsing into Amy’s arms at the finish — I am literally teary-eyed right now! I’m lucky to have two running best friends, and I hope you are, too.
If you want to know more about the Varsity Jacket collection, click here!
SmartWool Cozy Mitten — cold hands no more! I have to wear gloves if it is under 50 degrees, and anything below freezing is definitely mitten territory. I have several other running technical pairs but they’re not nearly as warm as these. The Cozy Mittens are soft and snug, which helps keep my fingers together and warm. They’re not as bulky as some of my others, and the slim cuff fits under my shirts and jackets. When it gets colder, I’ll be able to put a windshell mitten over top, too.
Trigger Point Therapy GRID Mini roller — the only other carry-over from last year’s list. This little roller goes with me just about everywhere. Denser, firmer and a lot more OW than your typical foam roller, and in a tiny package great for your gym bag or runcations. Comes in larger sizes, too, but this one is so compact that I get a lot of use out of it.