Holiday gifts for the runners in your life

With the holiday season here, I was inspired to make a mini holiday gift guide for the runner in your life!

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Running Shoes

Pretty easy right? wrong. Make sure you know the exact size, brand and type of runner they wear! There isn’t one single shoe out there that will fit all. If there is no way to figure out the size, brand or type of runner, a gift card will always be appreciated!

Technical Clothing

Running gear can make a runner more or less comfortable. With various climates and body temperatures, sometimes cotton will be the enemy. Cotton also can create grounds for chafing. No bueno. No need to spend crazy amounts of money on the big brand names. I find places like Wal-mart, Target, Winners, TJ Max and other discount stores have really great technical gear that is affordable and fashionable. Make sure the clothing can breathe and doesn’t have any crazy looking seams (no one likes chafing! ouch!).

Compression gear! it gets mighty pricey at times but can have some benefits. I am a huge fan of CEP compression calf sleeves and socks. Also, there are some really great compression tights and crops out there too.

hey-girl-lets-throw-on-some-compression-socks-and-just-cuddle

Running Accessories

For my winter runners, gloves that have the ability to still use touch screen electronics are seriously the best invention ever. Most of us run with either an ipod or smart phone these days! Does it snow where you are? find a good pair of gators or spikes that can be strapped on over runners to avoid getting snow in the shoes and avoid slipping! also finding toques (or for my American readers, beanies) or ear warmers/head bands are great. If you are shopping for a female runner that has long hair, you can buy many of these hats that have a hole to accommodate the ponytail! Dandy and looks like you have a squirrel on your head (what? totally does! think about it).

The COOLEST stocking stuffer ever? socks! what? everyone wants socks! okay maybe not everyone, but socks are a huge deal to runners and there are so many types out there! ankle socks, compression socks, double layered socks, thin layer socks, socks with support around the arch, etc! It is always good to have extra running socks around!

Above all else? BODY GLIDE or any other anti-chafe stick/cream. Once you get to a certain distance or time out on the road, many runners experience horrible chafing! Chafing from anything! Believe me! I have spots on my lower back STILL from my ipod creating friction on my waist band. These anti-chafe sticks are a blessing!

Reflective Gear

I can’t stress the importance of being as visible as possible. There are so many times I have had close calls with drivers who aren’t paying much attention, and it is hard to see into the card to get eye contact when it is on the darker side. Make sure you and your loved ones are properly lit! There are so many options: lights, reflective strips, knuckle lights, head lamps, reflective vests and much more. Every runner needs some kind of reflective equipment!

Fueling and/or hydration systems/packs/belts etc

If you have a half, full or ultra marathoner on your hands, a fuel belt, a box of gels, new bottles or flasks may be a good option as well. Just be sure it is something they truly want. Like most of us, we have our preferences. It can be as technical as shopping for a purse (am I right ladies?) I personally am a fan of the 2 10 ounce bottled holding fuel belts, but some may prefer the 4 7 ounce bottled belts. Or there are hydropacks as well that are more like a back pack with a long straw! Make sure to get their input!

Race registration

My, now husband, did this for a Birthday gift one year and I was very thankful. Registrations can get expensive! If you have a race bling addict on your hands (hey! we like our medals okay?!) then this will be a big help! Just be sure they have yet to register otherwise you may be running  along side with them!

itunes cards, music players, ear buds etc

I spend a good chunk of money on music. When you are out on the road for a while and do not have a training partner, sometimes music and a podcast are what get you through those days where mother nature is throwing every headwind possible at you. Not all runners listen to music, but I know many that do. I personally love my ipod since it has FM radio on it and it clips onto my belt (older generation) and nothing beats finding ear buds or headphones that do not budge!

Road ID

I am a huge believer in safety. I have been on the road with runners where something does go wrong and medical attention is needed. We don’t always run with a partner or group, so what happens if something bad were to happen? It is good to have ID on you regardless of how far of a run you are going for. There are many options from bracelets, to shoe tags, to writing labels for your clothing.

Motivational pieces

Have you heard: the hardest part is getting out the door? It is really true sometimes with us runners. Motivation and keeping your eye on the prize can be tough when its snowing out. So motivational pieces are key for people like myself. Before EVERY marathon I run I watch Spirit of the Marathon (the first one). Okay, maybe I am a tad superstitious and that is why I watch it before each race..I have a whole set routine! But it is the most inspiring running documentary. For the people with running readers on there hands, there are also some great books (and audiobooks for ON THE RUN ūüėČ ) out there for runners to learn and improve their running, or even just to read about other runners stories and get inspired.

Subscription to their favorite running magazine

I was gifted this one year and honestly it was a great gift. Running magazines are one of the few fitness type magazines I will actually read, and learn a bit from. Plus they are affordable for the most part!

Electronics

Now this is the more pricier gift on this guide, so it may be something you want to go halfsies on. Again, make sure you know what your runner wants.  Various GPS watches are a great tool to have but know that not every runner is into the techy side of things. Also, there are so many models out there and they all serve various functions. Make sure to ask many questions or at least get a gift receipt.

Pampering!

As we know, running can be physically and mentally demanding. Do you see where I am going with this? *ahem* SPA DAY *ahem* As gnarly as our runner feet can be, we like a good pedicure. Don’t even get me started on how awesome a relaxing massage can be! or if we are in the midst of training? SPORTS MASSAGE. We will love it!!!…err.. okay maybe AFTER the appointment after all the knots have been poked and kneaded out of us!

Or you could call these two devices “pampering” devices.. foam roller or “the stick” anyone? Okay they are love/hate devices but it helps massage our those muscles we work so hard! Every runner must have one or both of these! (LOVE the stick if you are a destination runner like myself. You can pack it so easily!)

Medal hangers

For the runner that has a large collection of racing bling, I suggest a medal wall hanger. There are so many out there of various sizes, colours and various motivational sayings! I absolutely love mine!

and if you just don’t know what their preferences are with any of these? GIFT CARD

I can always appreciate a lovely gift card to my favorite running stores and sports stores! I am a huge fan of gift cards! I rather have the person enjoy what I get them, rather than them saying “uhh thaaaaanks… you shouldn’t have…”

 

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

Merry Mucus: Sick during the holidays? Stay on plan!

tissue_boxThat’s it. I accept defeat. I am sniffling, snotting and hacking everywhere right before the holidays. Usually I am sick post-marathon but that was not the case for the last two. So I threw in the towel and I am accepting this for what it is, mucus and all. I am already surrounded by delicious comfort foods like chicken pot pie and amazing sweets like shortbread and my FAVORITE, nanaimo bars. But you know me, I have found a way to stick to my goals! Here are my tips:

Rule of thumb

I read this once that if your symptoms are only from the neck up, low intensity workouts are totally okay. But if you have any symptoms below the neck (eg: lungs, stomachs etc) take a rest. I totally agree! If you feel that the cold is going on longer than it should, go to a doctor. As a runner, my lungs are key  to keeping me healthy and running. I take congestion very seriously and especially infections. If you feel that you have been wheezing and coughing far too long get it looked at!

 Drink those fluids!

I have a water bottle and cup of tea within feet of me at almost all parts of the day. I believe that water is a miracle worker when it comes to anything; losing weight, headaches, coughs, and feeling poorly all around. Drink up! If you have trouble with plain water add something to it. Some of my favorites? Mint leaves, cucumber, celery, slices of lime, lemon or oranges. I drink my tea completely plain but sometimes I add in some stevia if I feel a sweet tooth coming on. I try and stay away from cream (because that would kill my tummy), milk, honey or anything that could add extra calories because I rather eat my calories than drink them. But that is for you to decide, just personal preference!

Listen to your body

Right now, I feel my body needs its rest. When a cold progresses into my chest I then know not to workout. As much as I want to, I won’t be able to breathe so its a no go. Today is day 3 of rest and I am VERY antsy. So instead I am chopping up veggies, making my own healthy soups and writing out meal plans for the next few days. I find chest colds are next to impossible to deal with if you want to workout. I can still workout if I have more of a sinus issue, but I do take it down a notch. You need to assess the situation yourself and figure out what is best for you. There is no harm in letting your body do its thing and kick this colds butt!

 Take care of yourself

Sounds a bit obvious, but I take it to a new level. I let myself have the time to take a long hot bubble bath, throw in a hair masque, a face masque, read and sip on a cup of tea. Then I get into some cozy PJ’s, moisturize, give myself a pedicure and manicure and cuddle up with more tea and my favorite TV show or movie. Oh how girlie of me! It is GOOD to take some time to pamper yourself, especially when your body is PLEADING for rest like this!

 You may not be able to workout, but you can eat clean!

Yes, I will admit. There are times where I rely on my workouts to eat a little more. So now that this isn’t an option, I aim to stick to my 1600 calories a day and eat clean whole foods. I made soup from scratch this afternoon and it was DELIGHTFUL. I also have been loving my oatmeal again. Being sick is not an excuse to order fast food and feel sorry for yourself. Okay, you can feel sorry for yourself..but don’t damage that progress you have made in the last few weeks! Eat clean. Your body WANTS those nutrients for ammo against the sicky-poo germs in your immune system!

 Take those vitamins!

Confession time. I can be so bad at this! I often forget. So I bought a pill box (yes, I know this just adds to my reputation of being a 22 year old granny) to keep in a place that will remind me to take my vitamins! Also, no need to overload on vitamin C. This is super common. Your body can only take in so much vitamin C, so the rest of the left over vitamin C will be excreted through urine. Just take enough for your recommended allowance! For men its about 90 mg daily and women its 75 mg daily. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) changes if you are a smoker, pregnant or you are breast feeding. Don’t go cray cray!

¬†Don’t overload on cough drops/candies

I have a bad habit of eating FAR too many cough candies because I can’t stand my throat hurting. Its extra sugar and it all adds up. Again to add to my 22 year old granny reputation I have made for myself, I went crazy on Werther’s hard candies the other day because there were no halls in the house. Want to know the calories on those bad boys? 60 calories for 3. Do you think I had 3? Nope. I don’t know how many I had but it certainly wasn’t 3. Today I have just allowed myself tea to soothe my sore throat. Oi!

So all in all, eat clean, rest and hydrate. Christmas is close around the corner and I am allowing myself a glass of wine and a dessert. So the next few days I will be eating clean no matter how sick and sorry I am feeling for myself. In past years I have put on almost 8 lbs during the holiday season! (probably not 100% true weight but still!)  It is SO not happening this time around. In fact, I am pretty sure I have shed pounds in the last few weeks!

Hope you are all having a lovely holiday season and that the sick bug didn’t get you too! ‚̧