Running is a simple sport that doesn't require a plethora of gear. Sure you can go over the top and really spend some cash, but you don't need to. In fact you really just need shoes, and you are ready to hit the trails. That being said there are certain pieces of gear that can enrich the run or open new adventure possibilities. The list below includes a few ideas for what your trail runner might be looking for this holiday season.
$15 and Below-
- Hydrapak Softflask- The Hydrapal Softflask are tough soft sided bottles that can easily be stuffed into a pocket when finished using. The pack down to a tiny size and expand to hold varying sizes of water. These flask slip easily into the front pockets of most running vest and are virtually weightless.
- Elite Electrolytes Add-In- Running takes a lot out of the body, including things you can't feel until it is too late. Help your runner stay hydrated by getting them some Elite Electrolyte Add-In. The flavorless electrolytes are easily added to any liquid and are easy on the stomach. There are no sugars or other junk added, just the shit you need.
- Energy Bars- Everyone has a special diet they follow, but if you have an idea of what they eat energy bars are a great option. Try to find ones that are new, or ones they haven't tried so they can test them out. These are easy to find at most stores and can even be found at some connivence stores if you are waiting till the last minute.
- Original Buff- Runner fashion dictates that the average runner own multiple buffs, that coordinate with multiple outfits. The Buff is the go to headware that keeps sweat out of the eyes, hair in place and warmth on the tips of your ears when you need it. There are many versions of Buffs depending on where your runner lives in the country.
$35 and Below-
- One Good EarBud- Keep your runner safe while out on the trails or roads by getting them a Far End Gear One Good EarBud. Podcast and music will sound great through the single earbud, which allows your other ear to be in tune with your surroundings. Listening for mountain bikes, wildlife or other runners is crucial while tearing up the trails.
- Foam Roller- The aggressive training schedule takes its toll on both new and old runners. Incorporating a foam rolling routine will help keep them on the trails longer. Foam rollers come in an array of styles, strengths, and designs. Don't go bottom of the barrel as the foam tends to be of lesser quality.
- KT Tape- This miracle tape isn't cheap and it does take some knowledge to apply it properly. Given sometime KT Tape can help keep your runner's muscles and tendons feeling better and recovering more quickly. The tape comes in a ton of colors and can be found at gear shops and drug stores alike.
- Podcast Donation- If you runner is anything like me they probably listen to hours of free podcast. Free is a relative term as these shows taking funding to produce and distribute but are provided to the user at no cost. Find out which ones they listen to, or better yet introduce them to a new one; and make a donation in their name.
$50 and Above-
- Salomon Running Vest- Using them for years I can attest to the quality of the Salomon running line. These vest aren't cheap but the return on investment is high given the amount of use your runner will get out of them. Some of the vest come in different sizes to fit specific body types better.
- Garmin Fenix- Garmin's Fenix line is an extremely popular option for recording all the stats of your runner. These watches have an array of options that can track everything from calories burned to elevation gain. The Fenix line is compatible with ANT+ devices and can be used for multiple sports, including backpacking and cycling. I have owned one of these watches for years and will conclude that they are a great investment if your runner is a numbers geek.
- Strava Premium- Speaking of numbers there is no better way to compare your runner's fitness then using Strava. Strava is a free online social network of athletes. Athletes post workouts and Strava compares segments of these to find the fastest individuals.
- Runcation- No better time then the present to spend a week of running around the mountains or attending a training camp. There are plenty of running camps that are held throughout the year and world, some of which are led by the professionals in the industry. If that is not your runner's scene there is always planning a backcountry running adventure. Hut to hut runs are common overseas and a few can be found domestically.