So it’s about that time. Cookie consumption is up (at least in my house) and the desire to exercise is waaaaaay down. My friend Jen calls it “nesting” but I think that’s only a fair term if you think you’re going to be feeding yourself off your own body fat for the next 40 days, and does not apply when there’s a Target within a 2 mile radius. Then it’s just enjoying butter, sugar and eggs a bit toooo much.
In any case, if you’re like me, (or perhaps, a more self-controlled version of me) there are people asking you what you want for Christmas. Or winter harvest. Or Hanukkah. Or who are making veiled comments that you’re just plain difficult to buy for because you don’t like applique’d sweaters or scented candles. (I mean, not that that’s ever happened to me. And you know I love me a scented candle. ) Oof.
Anyway, if you happen to be in a position to give – or receive – this year, here, a few of the top gifts I’d recommend this season. These are personal Plus Runner favorites for the runner, walker, cyclist, or would-be athlete in your life. Questions? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help provide a more personalized recommendation based on who you’re buying for.
Timex makes a variety of these “sleek” women’s watches (and men’s) but what you’re looking for here is an interval timer – and this watch has it. (An interval timer has the ability to count down different amounts – say, 3 minutes for running…then rotates to a 2 minute countdown for walking…then back to 3 minutes for running…and so on). The benefit of this watch, once you’ve figured out how to easily set your own intervals, is that as you get better at running, you can change it up. You can also use this for setting intervals in a pool, on a bike, etc. It’s frankly the one piece of technology that I’ve always been able to use – and never regretted buying.
Feel free to shop around, (you can sometimes find an older model on Amazon or elsewhere) but REI has a very cute version here with flowers on it that you might enjoy. Note that some of the reviews claim the band stretches and breaks. I’ve run in mine for about 10 years in a variety of styles, and I’ve never had this problem.
If you hike or camp, you probably already own a headlamp. But what about if you run or walk? Do you get tired of the treadmill in the winter? Or do you know a new runner or someone who’s about to kick start a fitness campaign and wants to be outside this winter?
If you’re like me, in Chicago it’s dark at 4:30, and seeing the breaks in the pavement or the ice on the ground is sometimes hard to do when the ambient light is low. Even in well-lit Chicago, I find myself using my Petzl many nights on the path. You can usually find these in your local camping stores as well. This is a perfect stocking stuffer – or just a thoughtful gift for someone you care about who’s training hard for their next event. The double A batteries are easy to change, and the halogen is helpful for illuminating directly below your feet – or for a stretch in front of you.
How often have you found yourself running or walking or biking, and your sunglasses are fogging up? Or not doing their job and protecting you from the sun? Alternatively, do you run at night and wish you could see things just a bit better? Run or walk or bike at dawn and wish you could take just one pair of sunglasses out for the duration? Run at night and wish the da*n wind would stay out of your eyes, but clearly, you’re not about to wear SUNglasses at night, right? Well, Smith can help you out – with one pair of glasses, which comes with THREE sets of lenses.
I know of what I speak on this one – and let me tell you, if you’re a person who has never spent any money on sunglasses because you lose them, break them, scratch them, whatever – I would recommend you think again. The Smiths are worth the money and moreover, actually help you be aware of your surroundings, and make it less painful – and more interesting – to be out in any weather.
I’ve worn my Toaster Sliders in many half marathons (and down one particularly incredible 180 mile whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River) – and no matter what, they’ve never, ever fogged up. They’ve stood up to tons (literally) of water coming at them, and more than a few bug/lens encounters. They’ve kept me seeing on early morning rides, triathlons, and hikes.
So why three lenses? Are they worth it? Yes. I wear the dark lenses (which are polarized and protect your eyes while offering great clarity) during bright sun (most walks or rides in the summer or on a weekend); the pink lenses during dawn and dusk (they’re great for seeing a golf ball on a darkening fairway or riding on summer mornings) and the yellow lenses before dawn (winter bike rides) and any time I run or bike after dark (year round). The yellow lenses are probably the best safety feature I know of – they add a brightening layer to everything you see, and suddenly, running in the dark doesn’t seem so frightening. Plus, here in Chicago, when I want to have something on to protect my eyes against the wind on lakefront runs at night, these are perfect for that nighttime run. If you’re running in the desert or anywhere it’s still dusty and windy at the end of a day, these are a nice option.
I’m rambling, but you get the point. Interchangeable lenses are great – they might take a try or two to get down (your local REI rep can help our you can call me for tips!) but they really are awesome. A great gift if you have some extra cash to spend.
Next up: clothing for the Plus Runner…
See you on the path!