Tag Archives: Wish List

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners in 2015 – Good Stuff & Weird Stuff

Some of the (mostly weird) stuff I recommend for runners!

Some of the (mostly weird) stuff I recommend for runners!

A gift guide before Thanksgiving?  Yep, that’s apparently what we’re doing now!  So, it’s (already) that time of year again…  The time of year where you have to do a lot of holiday tasks, like possibly roasting a turkey, possibly sending out Christmas cards, possibly decorating cookies, possibly doing some extra cleaning in case you’re having guests over and you don’t want them to know how you actually live, and definitely shopping for yourself under the guise of holiday gift-giving.  To help you, I’ve highlighted some of the nifty gadgets and gear any runner (aka you yourself) would enjoy.  (For more ideas, click here for my extensive wish list from 2013 and here for my “dupes” edition from 2014.)


The Good Stuff!

Soundpeats Bluetooth Headphones – I’ve finally found a pair of bluetooth headphones I love!  The SoundPEATs Q9A Bluetooth 4.1 Wireless Sport Headphones fit well in my ear (almost too well, blocking quite a bit of ambient noise) and hook over my ears ensuring a sturdy fit and no bounce, but can still be worn with sunglasses.  They’re lightweight, the cord doesn’t get in the way or make noise, the battery seems to last quite a while (they claim 5 hours but I haven’t tested them), and they even have a microphone for calls (which I only just discovered, thanks Mom!).  Occasionally I’ll get some interference or a dropped signal, but it usually resolves itself in a second or two.  The controls (on/off, volume up/down) are small and I wish they had a separate skip button (instead of having to hold down the up volume), but otherwise these are currently the bluetooth headphones to beat.  (SoundPEATs Q9A Bluetooth 4.1 Wireless Sport Headphones, currently $50 at Amazon, sometimes on sale at Amazon for $30.)


Athleta topAthleta Neothermal temperature control top – I don’t own one of these (yet…) so I don’t know if they really work or not, but the idea sounds fabulous – a winter top that magically regulates your temperature so you’re never too hot or too cold.  How does it do this?  With magic???  I don’t know!!!  (Neothermal Top, $79 at Athleta.com.  Note that reviews say it fits small, so consider sizing-up, and to wash it inside-out to prevent snags.  Also available in a hoodie version.)


Vizlet snowflakeVizlet Snowflake – I’ve loved Vizlets for years now, and this season they have a cute new snowflake shape.  Be seen, be safe.  (Vizlet LED Snowflake, $10 each at Amphipod.)



Fenix HL23 Headlamp – After my headlamp disaster at Ragnar Trail New England, I wanted to get a nice, powerful headlamp.  I’ve also committed to taking the NYRR running class at 6:30 pm, which currently starts and ends in the dark, so I felt like I could justify spending some cash on another headlamp.  I went with my Ragnar teammate’s recommendation and got the no-BS Fenix HL23 150 lumen LED headlamp (currently $35 at Amazon, includes two batteries, requires one battery).


Phillips Wake-Up Light – In keeping with the light theme, let’s round it out with this sunrise alarm clock.  I’ve been skeptical about these things for years, but after noticing how it’s dark now almost the entire day (and it’s still only mid-November!), I finally got one during an Amazon Gold Box sale.  I’ve been using it the last week or so and while I don’t know if it really makes a difference in mood or energy levels or any of that jazz, it is a lot nicer to wake up to a bright bedroom than a dark one.  This could be an especially nice present for the runner who wakes up early to run, or for your single friend who doesn’t have to compromise on their alarm situation.  (Phillips Wake-Up Light with Radio, currently $119 at Amazon, newer, fancier version Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation available for $115 with instant coupon.)


Garmin Forerunner 225 – Ugh, I already have a great Garmin (my Garmin 620, currently on sale at a jaw dropping $240 with heart rate strap included, originally $450) but now really I want the 225.  I love my Garmin but hate wearing the chest strap, so I almost never do.  This new Garmin 225 (pictured at left) has a heart rate monitor built into the watch itself – no more uncomfortable strap!  Huzzah!  Will knowing my heart rate change the way I’m currently training?  Probably not, but still – heart rate without strap!  (And it’s currently on sale at Amazon for $266, regularly $300.)


Luggage – Everyone always needs a new bag.  No?  You have plenty?  You must be mistaken.  Get a new bag.  Pretend you’ll use it to carry stuff to the gym, or to an out-of-state-marathon, or on a trip around the world.  Fantasize.  Get another bag.  Repeat.  (Price on bags and fantasies vary.)  (The bag on the left is Heys America Lightweight Pro 21″ Carry-On Spinner, the lightest-weight dual-bar handle spinner I found after copious research (only 5.1 lbs), available on Amazon for $112 with free shipping, but might be cheaper elsewhere on the interwebs.  The backpack on the right is the Adidas Rumble, available in multiple colors at Amazon from $20 to $49 (price depends on color), is lightweight, water-resistant, and holds a ton.)


Weird (but still really good!) Stuff


Ruby’s Lube & Monistat Anti-Chafe Powder Gel – Ruby’s is my current favorite anti-chafe product for my feet and Monistat’s Powder Gel is my favorite anti-chafe product for bra lines and other, um, sensitive areas.  Good gift items because nobody wants to buy this stuff but all runners need it. (Ruby’s Lube, 3 oz tube plus free mini tube, $15, & Monistat Anti-Chafe Powder Gel, 3 for $21 or 1 for $9.75 both at Amazon.)


Folca Pill Case – This isn’t specifically running related, but I learned about this case at EMT camp this summer and now it’s something I’ll never travel without.  It’s about the size of a thick deck of cards and has 8 compartments (4 small, 3 medium, and 1 large).  I recommend filling it with whatever OTC meds you use or might need on a trip, and then LABEL everything with the brand name, the generic name, the amount of active ingredient per pill, the expiration date, and ideally the dosage if there’s room (there’s a plain space on the case you can use to tape a small piece of paper with dosages printed on it).  This ensures no forgetting which pill is which like when they’re all just dumped into a single container (like I used to do) and lets you know exactly what’s in each pill (extra handy if you’re overseas and need to restock, since you’ll have the generic name right there).  Note that this case is not completely airtight or waterproof.  Also, I do not recommend using this case for prescription medication – that you should keep in the bottle with your prescription information on it.  [Shhhhh…. I made one of these for my parents and each of my siblings, which took a long time (and a lot of pills), but I hope they’ll find it as Type-A pleasing as I do.]  (Folca Pill Case, $5.80 at Amazon.)


Skinny Pop Popcorn – This also isn’t exactly running related, but it is the most delicious 100-calorie snack I’ve found.  I’ve eaten multiple, multiple boxes of this stuff, and I never get tired of it, because it’s simply popcorn with a little salt and oil.  Freakin’ delicious, and sorta healthy I guess (and definitely better for you than those three-flavored tubs of popcorn that go stale after a couple days but you still eat because you can’t stop eating waste food), and no one would be disappointed to get a box of this stuff this holiday.  They might be puzzled, but not disappointed.  (Box of 30 for $25.66 at Amazon.)


Stamina X Adjustable Height Plyometric Box – They have adjustable-height plyometric boxes?  That’s almost inspiring enough for me to consider getting one someday!  (Stamina X Adjustable Height Plyometric Box, $200 at Amazon.)


Undress dressUndress dress – My sister got this for me last Christmas (while it was still a Kickstarter project) and it’s pretty nifty (sorry I haven’t done a proper review of it – I haven’t actually used it in the wild yet).  It allows you to change without exposing yourself (sort of like the Chawel – but instead of changing inside a bag/towel, you slip the dress on over your bottom and under your top, so when you peel off your top layers you’re just wearing the dress.)  If that’s confusing to you like it was to me, visit their website for the video.  (The Undress, $79.)



Just Weird Stuff


Gotta go running skirtThe Gotta Go Running Skirt – Another Kickstarter project, this is basically running shorts with a skirt on top and a trap door on the crotch, so you can just drop the flap and pee behind a bush, without exposing yours.  It’s a great idea if you don’t wear underwear when you run, don’t ever poop when you pee, and don’t mind not wiping before closing the trap door and running with urine-speckled shorts.  (The Gotta Go Running Skirt, $75 on Kickstarter but MSRP of $79 – what savings!)



Race Dots or Race Clips – Can you not be trusted with sharp objects?  Do you have issues with safety pins?  Are you good about bringing small objects to a race?  Are you good about then saving those small objects after a race and not losing said small objects?  Do you not mind having extra weight (e.g. magnets, plastic clips) on the front of your running shirt?  Do you like spending money on something you’ve been getting for free?  Then race dots or race clips might be the perfect thing for you!  (BibBits Magnetic Race Bib Holders, $17 with shipping at AmazonEventClip Pinless Bib Race Number Fasteners, $8 with shipping at Amazon, Magnetic Bib Dots, $36 with shipping at Amazon.)


tigerlady clawstigerlady claw singleTigerLady Self-Defense Claw – OMG.  It’s a device you grip in your hand during a run, and when you squeeze it literal claws come out, so you can scratch your attacker and run away with DNA evidence.  Just don’t accidentally reach up to wipe sweat out of your eyes!  OMG omg OMG.  (TigerLady Self-Defense Claw, one for $29 or get the “running grips” package, two for $51 – one for each hand!)   (Mom, please don’t even consider getting this for me – I already have like a dozen.)


What’s on your holiday wish list?  What have you already bought for yourself?  Are you going to have more nightmares about the TigerLady or the pee pee shorts?  Share in the comments!

Stridebox November 2013

Runner’s Holiday Gear Wish List

Stridebox November 2013

Stridebox for November, one of the many fun gift items you can get your runner this upcoming holiday!

‘Tis the season!  And by season, I mean shopping season!  It’s almost Black Friday, and that means we’ve already been inundated for at least a month with emails, catalogs, and commercials for holiday shopping.  I’m not complaining, since I love gear and sales and excuses to window shop (and actual shop).  If you are stumped for ideas, however, I offer this Runner’s Holiday Wish List, which is sure to have at least one item you or your runner will love so much that you’d run through a snowstorm to get it.


(Make sure anything you buy can be returned in case it’s not the right fit or match for your runner and take extra caution on buying running shoes or sunglasses, unless you know the fit and preferences of your runner very, very well.)


For the Runner Who Loves Tech

  • GPS Watch – I’ve heard great things about and am personally drooling over the new Garmin 220 and 620 watches.
  • Fitness Tracker – e.g. Fitbit, Nike FuelBand SE, JawBoneUp or JawBoneUp24
  • GoPro Camera – This would be especially good if your runner likes to do other extreme sports like rafting, skydiving, skiing, or mountain biking.
  • iPod Nano – I loved my clip nano(s) since they had the Nike+ feature built-in, plus they were tiny, self-clipping, and still had a visible display unlike the shuffle, but they are constantly dying on me, and I’ve heard other people having the same problem.  I don’t love the design of the newest 7th Generation Nano, but I’d like to get one that actually works…
  • Sport Headphones – I use cheap, over-the-head ones (waiting for them to go back down to original price of $10 each, or you can get these in the meantime), but you could also gift a fancier, sport-specific style.


For the Runner You’re Worried About

  • Road I.D. – There are lots of different styles and info you can put on a Road I.D., so this would probably be a gift certificate gift so your runner can customize.
  • Reflective vest/headlamp – Especially good if your runner is thinking of doing a Ragnar relay.  Also, Vespertine makes high-end (expensive), attractive reflective gear.
  • LED safety lights – My favorite is the Vizlet as it’s bright, super lightweight, and can clip anywhere.
  • Reflective StickersThese stick onto just about anything and can be ironed for extra staying-power (they are small, but there are a lot of them).


For the Runner Who Has Her Hands Full

  • Running backpack/hydration pack – I like my Camelbak enough, but a slightly larger daypack would be a great, more versatile item (e.g. Mountain Hardwear’s Fluid 12 or 18, a Salomon Racing Vest, Nathan Intensity Race Vest, or an Osprey daypack/hydration pack).
  • hydration bladder or bladder cleaning kit – If your runner already has a hydration system they like, you can get them an extra bladder or a cleaning kit.
  • SpiBelt or Level Flip Belt – Both are great options to hold small items without bounce.  I find SpiBelts to be easier to access during a run, but Level Flip Belts hold more without bouncing.
  • Wrist Wallet – I like the Sprigs brand wrist wallets.
  • Gas Cap Hat – I wear these hats to hold my gels for every marathon now.  The company is out of stock of a lot of the styles and never replied to my inquiry, so I’m not sure what’s going on there, but the hats are great and hold a lot of gels for easy access and without bouncing.  They are shallow hats so if you have a very large head they might not work for you.


For the Fashionable Runner


For the Runner Who is Always Sore

  • Tiger Tail massage stick – I like it much more than “The Stick” massage stick, so you can also gift it to a runner who already has a Stick as an upgrade.  You could also get them the Tiger Tail Ball on a Rope.
  • Foam Roller – You can go with the giant black roller or a more travel-friendly option.
  • Ice Wrap – Like this one or this one, I use mine all the time.
  • Full body compression suit – You’re meant to sleep in these to aid in recovery – I’ve always wanted to try one, but they’re a bit spendy.  If you’ve tried them, let me know!
  • Gift certificate for a sports massage – A full massage would probably be best, but even those 10-minute neck and shoulder massages can be great, and can be gifted in a pack.


For the Runner You Maybe Don’t Know So Well (aka Stocking Stuffers aka You Don’t Want to Spend Too Much…)

  • Socks – Since it’s a gift, get them nice, fancy ones – if you’re a runner, a pair that you personally like.  If you’re not a runner, ask someone at your local running speciality store for their favorite brand.
  • Running gloves – You can go high-end on this with gloves from North Face or Lululemon with or ones with special wind-blocking features, or you can get them a pack of inexpensive semi-disposable gloves from Target or your local street vendor.  I recommend whatever gloves you get, make sure they have touch-screen compatible tips.
  • Headbands – When it’s cold and/or windy, I always need my ears covered.  I really like this style, plus it’s reflective.
  • Hats – There are tons of options, from lightweight caps to warm fleece winter running hats, but if it’s for a woman with long hair, consider a hat that has a ponytail hole.
  • Buff – Multipurpose neck gaiter/ear warmer/hat-in-a-pinch.  I like them because if I get too warm I can easily wrap them around my forearm/wrist and not be bothered with it around my neck.  They sell smaller/shorter ones as headbands but I like to buy the regular size and cut them in half.
  • Chawel – My favorite item of 2013, the changing towel (which can also be used as a makeshift sleeping bag or actual towel in a pinch).  If your runner is doing Ragnar, this is an especially useful gift.
  • Foot scrub or a callus shaver – Kinda gross, but useful (e.g. the Ped Egg or Revlon’s Pedi-Expert kit).  You could hide this in a basket of running goodies so it doesn’t stand out so much.
  • Anti-Chafe stick or lotion – I like Blue Steel, or you can get your runner a brand you personally like.
  • Box of your runner’s favorite bars, gels, electrolyte powders/tabs/drinks – Or for even more fun, get them an assortment of new and unusual bars and treats for them to try!
  • Subscription to StrideBox – a box of running treats (think gels, bars, powdered drinks) and one physical running item (e.g. water bottle, sport towel, safety light, safety bracelet, small bag) will be delivered directly to their door – gift subscriptions available for 1 month ($20) or 3 months ($50), or you can sign up for a recurring subscription for only $15/month.


For the Literate Runner

Note that I have not read many of these books, but they get decent ratings on Amazon and I don’t think a runner would hate to get these books, unless they’ve already read them.



For the Difficult-to-Shop-For Runner

  • Gift certificates! –  to your local running or sporting goods store (e.g. Jackrabbit, Super Runners Shop, Modell’s), for a sports massage, or for an online running retailer (like Amazon, Backcountry.com, or Road Runner Sports)


For the Runner You Really Want to Impress

  • Alter-G treadmill – If you get this as a gift for someone, please contact me immediately so I can be your friend (or even better, your friend’s friend).
  • Massage Chair


For the Runner Who Has Everything (Except More Memories)

  • Race entry fee – Even better if you join them at the race (but make sure it fits in their schedule!).
  • Membership to your local running club – Especially if your runner doesn’t already belong, but you could also look into renewing their membership for them.
  • Running camp vacation – There are several different ones out there, so you can figure out which one works best for you.
  • Running classes – Here in NYC there are lots of running class options, but this might be a more difficult find in other places.
  • Private coaching – This is great if you already know a coach you like, or you can ask at your local running store, or see if your runner has a coach he’s been thinking about using.
  • Volunteer to run with your runner, or volunteer at one of their races, or even just cheer for them – We appreciate it all!


What’s on your wish list?  Share in the comments!