I love it when I find a new running “thing” to get me excited again. As simple as our sport is–“just need shoes!”–there are a lot of other fun things to make getting out of bed in the cold of morning exciting. Here are a few of my favorite things. They’d make a great gift or help round out your own wish list.
- Training Journal: Devotion is a faith-based training journal that I created, so of course, it belongs on the top of my own wish list. 🙂 It’s something that I am so excited about using myself and sharing with the running community. I truly believe that our running goes to the next level when we place our faith in God for performance and training. What better way to worship than with our legs?
- For the gym: I bought this knock-off TRX set at the beginning of the year, and love all of the different muscles you can hit with just one tool. It’s a great way to change things up if you have a full gym, and it’s fantastic if you don’t have space for lots of equipment. It also seconds as a great distraction for toddlers while you get in your run. Ha! If you are looking to take your gym to the next level, check out this Hex bar to make squats more fun.
- Gait analysis: The Milestone Pod is one of the cheapest little toys out there for the data that it provides. I have one on every shoe and use the pod to track overall mileage and shoe use as well. The feedback that it provides will help you improveyour gait and/or see when you may be tired (low leg swing) or need to replace shoes (high rate of impact). They were recently acquired by Zwift, and it looks like the pod offers even more than before.
- Best jacket: The Patagonia Houdini is an article of clothing that you don’t realize you need until you realllllly need it. It’s a super lightweight jacket (could seriously scrunch up in your pocket) that protects from rain and wind. I bought mine for a race in Oregon and have loved having it as an option ever since.
- Fuel: I love the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook, as well as the newer Run Fast Eat Slow Cook Faster. There’s a chance that the runner in your life already owns both, so in that case, you may want to check out Wellness Mama’s cookbook.
- Recovery: There are a billion “sticks” out there and all of them work in some way. Some work better than others. 🙂 My husband bought me the boom stick a few birthdays ago, and it’s saved us lots of money on massages. It is $139, which pays for itself if it helps you skip the table once or twice. This stick is 20 pounds, so a partner is most effective to get the tough-to-reach spots, but you can self-massage as well. It’s great for knots and trigger points, and hurts so good. If you are just looking for a stocking stuffer, I carry a lacrosse ball in my purse just in case I get stuck in traffic and want to work out my hamstring. haha
- Recovery: runners need lots of recovery… I sleep in compression socks a lot of nights, especially in winter when it’s cool anyway. It’s a great passive way to recover. I use ProCompression because they have good deals, but there are tons of socks out there that work well. Steph Bruce wears ProCompression, and she’s my hero.
- Recovery: starting to see a theme here… I drink tart cherry juice a lot of time in the morning as a sugar boost before my runs, but it can get expensive to get the recommended dose for recovery aid. I recently bought the tart cherry tablets, and it’s easier to make sure that you get the recommended amount for recovery. I wrote a blog post a while ago here about all of the benefits of tart cherry juice. Essentially, research showed that athletes who consumed tart cherry were able to recover and get stronger than the controls.
- Recovery: last one, I promise! If you want a stocking stuffer, Rock tape is great. If you are doing it right, you’ll need to tape something at some time. Haha. Rock tape is stickier than most other types of tapes and I’ve found that it helps me improve faster when I feel a niggle coming on. Even if you don’t have an injury, it can be used as a queue for proper form.
- Protecting your skin: Runners spend a lot of time in the sun, and if you are like me, you are also likely pushing a kid. 🙂 I carry this BeautyCounter sunscreen stick in the stroller and purse everywhere so that we can apply without a mess if we find that the sun catches us before we’ve thought to apply sunscreen. I love all of BeautyCounter’s products, but this one is probably the most practical stocking stuffer (unless you go for the lip gloss!). I shop under Meredith Marquell if you are looking for a consultant.
- Getting stronger: feet are the first thing in the chain of command, and it doesn’t take much to see big gains. Walk around barefooted, do strength work barefooted, and wear Yoga Toes when you are relaxing. It’s a small investment for some nice gains.
- Books: I love to read and I love to read about running. Here are some of my favorites:
Again to Carthage (sequel to Once a Runner)Roar (Women are not small men)80/20 Running (I love everything by Matt Fitzgerald)
Running Rewired (and Anatomy for Runners by DiCharry)
What am I forgetting? Tell me your running wishlist!