Gifts From Head to Toe

Don’t look now, but Christmas is practically here! If you need a last-minute gift for the runner on your list, or if you’re a runner looking to exchange some of the useless gifts you receive for something you really want, we’ve created the following head to toe gift guide.

Most of these items are available at one of our local running stores – The Treadmill, Fleet Feet, or REI – and you probably even have time to grab them online if you hurry, so keep this list with you, and get moving!

(*Online note: items purchased through Wilderness Running Company are eligible for a 10% discount with coupon code R&R10.)

Head: Black Diamond’s Sprinter headlamp has a bright LED in front for visibility, blinking red LED in back for safety, is super-lightweight for comfort, with rechargeable batteries for eco-friendliness. It’s one of the best pieces of gear out there to stay safe on dark roads.

Brain: Stimulate your mind with a great running book. Last month we listed our favorites, and that list is still available on our website archive, where you’ll also find a new book from your favorite Herald running columnists.

Mouth (and/or Stomach), Part 1: Seasonal CLIF Bars come in cranberry orange nut bread, spiced pumpkin pie, or iced gingerbread flavors, all of which taste amazing. Look for them at REI or Trader Joe’s, but hurry: CLIF only makes limited quantities each year, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Mouth (and/or Stomach), Part 2: GU energy gel also makes two awesome holiday flavors: vanilla gingerbread and chocolate mint. A handful of these make a perfect stocking stuffer.

Trunk: Reflective vests are the cheapest insurance you can buy to increase your visibility to oncoming cars. They can be worn over any shirt or jacket, and typically last for several years.

Hands: Warm gloves make winter running much more bearable. Manzella's Hatchback Glove is a clever little creation: use the soft fleece moisture-wicking glove for mildly cold days, and pull out the retractable water-resistant hood to cover the fingers when temperatures drop even lower.

Delicates, Part 1: Some folks might snicker, but any cold-weather runner will tell you that keeping your unmentionables warm is a crucial part of winter running, and a good pair of moisture-wicking underwear is worth its weight in gold. Pick up a couple pairs for yourself or a loved one at Target or our local running stores, and thank us later.

Delicates, Part 2: The other way to keep those areas comfortable is to prevent chafing, and Bodyglide is your best weapon against a friction-related crisis. One stick of this stuff is the most useful under-10-dollar gift a runner can receive.

Legs: A pair of tights can be bundled up small enough to fit in a stocking. Salomon’s Trail III tights are super comfortable, but tough and durable enough to handle any trail or weather conditions you’ll encounter this winter.

Feet: Runners can never have too many good socks – and Drymax makes the most effective moisture-wicking and blister proof socks on the market, in both road and trail versions. Dry feet are happy feet, in winter time and all year round.

If you need additional gift ideas, check out Donald's 2010 Gear of the Year guide at Running and Rambling. Happy Holidays to everyone, and happy winter running!

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