Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Great Gifts for Trail Runners - 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for some great gift ideas for trail runners for the 2014 holiday season? I've listed a few favorites below, from the fun to the ree-diculous. Be sure to check the comments at the end for other reader recommendations as well.

Happy shopping, and I hope you are all enjoying the holidays!

Tribute to the Trails Calendar ($23)



Easily my favorite gift to give (or receive for that matter) is the annual Tribute to the Trails calendar. Uber-photographer and trail runner Glenn Tachiyama (along with Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs) has consistently put out the most beautiful trail running calendars to raise money for the Washington Trails Association, and 2015 is a worthy follow up. The gorgeous full-page shots (check them all out here) compliment a complete calendar of ultrarunning events, and include coupons to win free entries to 30+ races! Few things can spice up the drab cubicle life like a constant reminder of epic trail runs hanging on the wall. I buy 3-4 each year, and have never received too many! You can pick one up at ZombieRunner, Rogue Valley Runners, or other stores for $23.

Ian Corless' Trail Calendar ($30)


Can't get enough calendar action? Ian Corless (of TalkUltra fame) is taking pre-orders for his calendar as well, featuring a dazzling selection of top tier runners flying down the most epic european mountainscapes. $30 (20 euros) and you'll be inspired all year long!

Knee Replacement X-Ray Tree Ornament ($23)



Ha, ha! Yup, it's a real thing. Props to Mark Remy for finding this one!

Epic Bison Bars ($3)


Somewhere between a protein bar and beef jerky lies the Epic Bison bar, a delicious and filling meat-based snack. I use them a lot for those days I can't fit in a lunch and need to a filling treat. This season you can get bison with bacon and cranberry...so good, once it hits your lips! Available at local running stores, or direct at epicbar.com.

Endless Pool Spa with Treadmill Option ($23,900)



One percenters need look no farther for that dream gift - the latest Endless Pool spa has a current that runs from one end to the other so you can swim in place, plus an underwater treadmill for recovery days. Your friends can even chill in the back seats while you run! MUST HAVE.

adidas miCoach Training Shirt with Built-In HRM ($62)


I love heart rate monitors (HRM's), but can never get the strap to stay where it's supposed to be. This new shirt from adidas (created by NuMetrex) has the HRM sewn in, and allows you to get that sexy Iron Man look rolling. Available at NuMetrex.

Victory Drop Bags ($45-85)

Once you have a Victory drop bag, you wonder how you ever suffered through all those other drop bags. Ultrarunner extraordinaire Victor Ballesteros' three drop bag configurations are the new gold standard, and all of them also work well as a back-of-the-car gear holder. This gift will definitely get used!

Re-StringIt Drawstring Re-Threader ($15)


I gave a few of these out last year, and they got rave reviews. If you've ever had to re-string a drawstring through your shorts or hoodie, then you are going to love this little gadget. It turns the 15 minute frustrated inchworm routine into a 30-second non-issue. Available at re-stringit.com.

Injinji Performance Toe Sock ($13)



Injinji's toe-wrapped socks are always a conversation starter, and for many (like me!), a life saver in the blister department. The latest sock from the toe-obsessed gang at Injinji are snug and breath really well. Now available in argyle, hawaiian, blue, green and other festive colors! Available at injinji.com.

0.0 Running Sticker ($3)


I personally find the 13.1/26.2/etc stickers annoying. This one, however, is pretty funny.

Outside Shower ($800-$5,500)


Few gifts have produced the harmonial bliss between me and my non-trail-running spouse of 21 years like her gift of an outside shower to me earlier this year. Dirt and dirty clothes stay outside, and I get to be naked in the sunlight on a regular basis...what more could a trail runner ask for?!? At one point, I went 40+ days showering only outside, and it was amazing. Well worth it!

T-Shirt Quilt ($250-400)


Another great marriage-saver is the T-Shirt Quilt, which empties your shelves of race t-shirts to create a 7x7 (=49) King Size cotton quilt. I got my first one from a desperate need to create closet space, but we quickly found out that we use the quilt all the time (it's just t-shirts after all, so spill away!). Added bonus - when you are at a kid function wishing you were running instead, you can just glance through the shirts and relive those memories! Available at CampusQuilt.com.

Duracell Instant USB Charger ($29)

A great idea for the electronic obsessed, this battery can quickly boost a USB-driven device like an iPod or Garmin watch to get through the race. A good item for your drop bag!  Get it at Drugstore.com.

Custom Race Bib Coasters ($22)


Want to keep a memorable race bib around? Immortalize it on four coasters! Take a picture of a friend's race number and send it to Mile Stones via Etsy.com for a fun coaster puzzle.

Running Books ($9-30)


It's hard to go wrong with a running book or DVD, and there are some great new ones for 2014. Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning, Sage Canaday's MUT Runner DVD and Kilian Jornet's Summits of My Life DVD's are a few of my favorites.

Milestone Pod Mileage and Shoe Tracker ($25)


The gang at Milestonepod.com has created a mileage and shoe tracker that can be purchased for the low price of $25, a great way to step your tech-avoiding friends into the fun world of tracking. 

Personal Running Tour (Free!)


If you don't have the cash-ola, give the gift of time with a guided trail running tour of your favorite park. Set the date, make a plan, bring some snacks, create a hand-written card that sums it all up...voila, an instant free gift. And one that will certainly be treasured! If you have a friend who is constantly too busy with kids to do those long runs, give him/her some hand made gift certificates for babysitting. Trust me - they will guard them with their lives.  

Holiday Flavored Bars/Gels ($0.50-$3)

When you eat as many of these as we do, a little Peppermint Stick or Spiced Pumpkin Clif Bar is a nice break. On sale now at REI

Aero-Press Coffee Maker ($30)

It's a little crazy how good coffee tastes from this handy little device that fits right in with all your camping gear. Available at ZombieRunner.

Gift In Your Name to iRunFar, UltraRunnerPodcast, etc. ($TBD)



If your trail runner obsesses about race coverage (like we all do), consider making a donation in their name to iRunFar.com, UltraRunnerPodcast.com, or one of the other many passion-driven media outlets we thrive on. Every dollar makes a difference for these guys, and the gesture will be well received. A perfect gift for the runner who has everything!

Action Wipes ($3+)


Ever try to take a full shower with baby wipes? I know I have, and they don't quite do the trick. Action Wipes is here to save the day with their full body wipes. Check out their web site for the full story!

Tory Birch Gold Fitbit Bracelet ($195)



Let's face it, there is nothing fashionable about ANY of the rubber-lined fitness trackers out there (sorry Nike, Jawbone, Fitbit, Adidas, etc). Tory Birch has a solution for the fashion-constrained - a gold bracelet that holds your Fitbit and allows you to walk Manhattan's Upper West Side with nary a smug glance from your upper crust neighbors. Available as a bracelet or pendant at Nordstrom's.

ZombieRunner Gift Certificate ($10-100)


I've never met a trail runner who couldn't drop $100 in Zombie before their coffee is even ready. Definitely will prompt a smile. Also an easy gift to buy and send instantly.