Archive for the ‘Christmas Gifts’ Category

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 12 — Last minute gets

December 24, 2010

By now, I would hope you’re all finished with your Christmas shopping, but if you’re not (you know who you are), here are a few last minute gift ideas.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of gift cards, but they’re great in down-to-the-wire gift situations.  They’re also good if you’re travelling a long ways to get home for Christmas and don’t want to have to carry a suitcase full of bulky gifts (unless you’re traveling by sleigh like Santa).

Now I’m sure you can think of some great stores perfect for that sporty guy/gal on your gift list, but just in case your brain is holiday season fried, gift cards from Nike, Sports Authority, Super Runners Shop and iTunes are good options.

Online gift cards are ok too.  The store will send an email confirming your gift…no wrapping required.  If you’re not sure what on what store, try Paragon Sports.  They have EVERYTHING and your giftee is sure to find something they like.

As for the shopping days left until Christmas…there are none! 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


12 days of sporty gifts — Day 11 — Stuff those stockings

December 23, 2010

Here we are…the homestretch of the holiday shopping season.

Instead of the big ticket items, lets turn our focus today on stocking stuffers…those last-minute, often not-thought-out gifts.

If you’ve got to stuff the gym socks of a sporty guy or gal, consider these options.

A travel size bottle of sport suntan lotion

Anti-chafing stick


Energy/Protein bars

Head/wrist sweat bands

And while this next suggestion has nothing to do with athleticism it certainly would help pay for all that sporting equipment if it pays off…scratch off lotto tickets.

Better hurry…you’ve got only one day left to shop!

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 10 — Staying warm

December 22, 2010

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you have to hang up the bike or running shoes and stick to working out indoors.

Sure you can’t wear shorts, but that’s what winter gear is for…and it makes the perfect holiday gift.  Here’s a list for what each athlete might need:

The Cyclist:

Winter Tights — because you can’t feasible move very comfortably dressed in tons of layers, winter tights are a must.  A good pair could probably set you back $100.

Lights — it gets darker sooner and so if you’re going to be outside in the afternoon, you’re going to want to make sure people can see you.  Get lights you can mount to the front and back of the bike.


Thermal Hat — if you only get one piece of winter gear…this is the one to get.  Hats help to prevent the heat from your body from escaping.  Brooks makes a basic and decent hat for only $15.95

Chapstick/Vaseline — makes a great stocking stuffer…use it to prevent windburn and chapped lips

Thermal underwear — pick up the kind that wicks away moisture like DryFit or Thinsulate.  You can easily find these clothes at any ski shop if the running store doesn’t carry them.

Socks — stay away from cotton!  Cotton socks don’t wick away moisture meaning your feet will stay cold and wet.  Instead, opt for a good pair of wool socks.

Only 3 shopping days left!

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 9 — Basket full of joy

December 21, 2010

So you’ve left your holiday shopping to the last minute and are running out of time, but you still want to get a personal gift (not a gift card).  So what can you do?

How about a basket full of sports drinks, supplements and accessories?  It’s like one of those gourmet foodie baskets, but with the athlete in mind.

Instead of bottles of wine, buy bottles of Gatorade, Powerade and/or Vitamin Water.  Skip the chocolate and instead go for protein bars and energy bars.  If you’re shopping for an endurance athlete, throw in some packets of Gu or Cliff Shot Bloks.  You might also want to add a pair of running socks, a hydration belt, a water bottle, some muscle cream or one of those books from Day 6 to round things out.  Arrange it in a basket, slap on a Christmas bow and voila! you have a gift any athlete would be happy to receive.

And remember…you only have 4 shopping days left!

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 8 — It’s in the bag

December 20, 2010

After 7 days of gift ideas, odds are you’re looking for something to put all those presents in.  How about a cool and functional gym bag?

Choices abound, but here are a couple of solid picks.

For Women: Savasa for Women Fit All Gym Bag — Features a metallic embroided scroll design with inside and outside pockets.  Machine-washable and the top of the bag is designed to hold a rolled up yoga mat.

For Men: Adidas Formotion Duffel Bag — Features a large main compartment, mesh water bottle side pocket and several inside pockets as well as something called FreshPAK which helps to prevent those nasty gym odors.

Better hurry up with that shopping…there are only 5 days left until Christmas!

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 7 — Mass(ahhh)age

December 19, 2010

Swedish, Thai, aromatherapy, hot stone, deep tissue, Shiatsu and sport…the choices abound and there’s no doubt a massage makes a great holiday gift.

Massages are one of those things we always say we’re going to buy for ourselves and never do.  We put it off and put it off until we’re a giant ball of stressed nerves and tensed muscles.  This is even more true for people who put themselves through daily punishing workouts and/or work in stressful conditions.  In essence, the gift of recovery is perfect for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Sure, you could research which massage would be the best treatment for what ails the gift recipient, but let’s be honest, any massage is going to make those tired and overworked muscles feel better.  (Here’s a list of definitions, if you must know)And while you’re at it, why not schedule one for yourself for after the holidays?  You know you deserve it!

Especially since there are only 5 days left until Christmas!

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 6 — The gift to top all gifts

December 18, 2010

If you’re really looking to impress that sporty person on your gift list, look no further than the Garmin Forerunner 310xt.

At it’s core, the Forerunner 310xt is a heart rate monitor.  But oh is it so much more than that!

Garmin, as I’m sure you’re well aware is known for it’s GPS navigators.  And they’ve packed that GPS technology into the Forerunner.

No more mapping outdoor running or biking routes.  All you have to do is get outside and go, the Forerunner takes care of the rest, tracking your mileage as you travel.  Not only can you use it to track your runs and rides, but it’s also waterproof which means open water swimming practices are now completely accurate to the foot or meter.  (You can set it to standard or metric distance measurements means you can forget about converting that 10k into miles).  Also, you can set the Forerunner to beep or vibrate at whatever distance interval you prefer making it easy to be track and also (and this is huge for cyclists) allowing you to  keep your eyes on the road!

The battery life on this thing is long, lasting upwards of 20 hours on one charge which means you don’t have to worry about it dying during the middle of one of your long workouts or training sessions.

My absolute favorite feature is the virtual pacer.  Set it to the miles/km per hour you want to keep up with and the Forerunner will beep or vibrate to let you know if you’re keeping up.  I used the pacer during my last triathlon and it helped me turn in my best time ever.  It’s like having a trainer there with you yelling at you to pick it up.

Another noteworthy feature is the back to start map option which means you’ll never get lost.  If you get so into a run that you lose track of where you’re going and how to get back home, simply select “Back to Start” and the Forerunner will guide you back home via the way you came. — Awesome, right?

In the few months Garmin let me test out the Forerunner, I really only came up with one con.  The thing is huge…about the size of wearing two wristwatches next to each other.  That also means it’s a little heavier than most heart rate monitor watches, but the extra weight is hardly noticeable.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Check out this review from a marathoner friend of mine who used the Forerunner in the final months of his training for this year’s New York City Marathon.

One run with the Forerunner was all I needed to erase any concerns I had and convert me forever. It was supposed to be a post rest 4 miler, a brush up after two weeks of pool running, but quickly turned into a 6 miler. What impressed me right off the bat were the vibrating mileage alerts. Set at a beep every half mile, the alerts made the run feel quicker and broken in down into segments, so as opposed to a 6 mile run it was more like 12 half mile runs rolled into one. The real luxury of the Garmin turned out to be the heart monitor. I never knew what my heart rate was, let alone even cared, and felt any monitor was just another tool to bog a runner down. Yeah….I was wrong. The addition of a heart monitor in the final month of training, including three 14 plus milers, was invaluable. It felt like that 3 digit heart rate was a tiny digital coach. When my rate went to high, I knew I needed to slow down. When it dipped to low, I knew I could speed up. I was now running at my goal pace and removed any post run questioning, such as did I push too hard? Did I go to slow?

 An obvious attribute is the GPS. I don’t even need to spend much time here and can sum it up with one sentence. No more logging on to ‘Google Maps’ or ‘Map My Run’ and trying to remember what street I turned down when figuring out my day’s mileage.

As race day approached, I became more reliant on the Garmin and started to realize how foolish I was for questioning anyone who spent money on one. On race day, I wish I had spent it years ago. I didn’t try do anything different from my training runs, but as mile 21 approached and the inevitable wall loomed, I caught myself staring at it every few steps. Looking back on the race, I don’t even think I was staring at my pace, but my heart monitor and became lost in it, an ultimate distraction. And in a sport that can be full of external distractions, it really helped me focus.

 I finished 2 minutes under my goal pace.

 It’s been a month of running without the Garmin and its back to Google maps and choppy paces because I can’t target my heart rate on my own. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

 I’ll end with one quick note, the watch does not feel as big as it looks. I always thought people with Garmin’s looked like Inspector Gadgets niece, Penny. It fits like an Ironman and after a few miles you forget it’s even on your wrist.”

So as my friend alludes to, the Garmin Forerunner 310xt carries a weighty price tag, retailing for around $399.  But trust me, the athlete on your list will remember the gift for years to come.

Only 6 shopping days left until Christmas!

12 days of sporty gifts: Day 5 — Feed the mind

December 17, 2010

The body isn’t the only thing in need of a workout.  Get the brain going with these book ideas for the sporty (and nerdy) person on your gift list.



 Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen– Christopher MacDougall

Yes, this is the book about barefoot running, but at it’s core it’s about the love for and love of running.  Great choice for runners of all levels.

Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks and Adventures — Editors of Runner’s World and David Willey

30 stories about runners that will capture your interest and inspire a love for the sport and those who do it.

The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete — Matt Long and Charles Butler

Matt Long, a New York City Firefighter who was struck by a bus while biking to work a few days before Christmas in 2005.  Much to everyone’s disbelief, he was able to comeback after dozens of surgeries and months of recovery to run in the NYC Marathon three short years later.  This is his story.

Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way to Swim Better, Faster and Easier — Terry Laughlin and John Delves

Don’t think you can learn swimming technique from a book?  You can. And this one shows you how.  (Trust me…I made it through 2 triathlons thanks to this book)

The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80 Year Old World Champion TriAthlete Known as the Iron Nun — Sister Madonna Buder

80 years old.  340 triathlons.  One badass nickname: priceless.

12 days of sporty gifts: Day 4 — Looking Smart

December 16, 2010

A lot of people who will tell you no one is looking at you when you’re at the gym.  They’re wrong.  People are always checking each other out. 

Armed with that knowledge, maybe it’s time to replace those old, ratty T-shirts you know that certain person on your holiday list is always sporting?

And there are tons of workout clothing options out there from eco-friendly clothes to performance gear to clothes that even help tone you as you workout!

A couple of Christmas’ ago, I was gifted a set of anti-bacterial workout wear.  Yes, it sounds weird, but you know what…they help to repel that typical gym clothes smell.  Also (and this is a totally girly observation) they’re soft and pretty.  So much so that I sometimes wear the long sleeved t-shirt as a regular top and no one can tell the difference.

While it’s true that same of these clothes have the potential of busting your holiday budget (this organic, eco-friendly, long sleeved yoga top from Gaiam retails for $48), there are deals out there…you just have to shop around.

Only 9 days left until Christmas!

12 days of sporty gifts: Day 3 — OMG, Shoes

December 15, 2010

No matter what sport the athlete on you gift list favors, odds are sneakers are a requirement. 

Running, cross-training, basketball, tennis, soccer, track and field all require a specialty shoe.  The variety is abundant, the styles and colors are daunting, to say the least.  (The Nike website alone has over 300 shoe choices in at least 3 colors each for women alone).

So many choices!

Now, buying a pair of shoes as a holiday gift is a no-no.  Athletes are really particular about their gear, especially the footwear.  We seriously spend hours researching which shoes are best for our sport and our feet, so buying us a pair you think we’ll like is not recommended.  Instead (and yes this may seem impersonal) buy a gift card for a good sport retailer.  (Put it in a shoe box with a bow if you want to make it more personal.)  Nike, Foot Locker, Super Runners Shop, JackRabbit are all good choices.

For runners, I really recommend Super Runners Shop or JackRabbit as they feature those treadmills where they watch you run to determine the best shoe for you.  Another bonus at JackRabbit…when your sneakers wear out, they’ll ship a new pair of the same shoe to you.  No need to go back to the store!

Only 10 shopping days left till Christmas!