Top 10 | Runners' Gifts: spoil your loved one!
It's that time of year again! Christmas is on the way.
Time to show some love for the runner in your life - in gifts, of course!
Here are my top picks from what I have personally tried and tested over the last few years:
1) Running Socks - £9-12
As a wise man recently told me, you can't go wrong with SOCKS! Start with the right foundation and you can't go wrong. Besides, we always need another pair of running socks! Look for brands like Hilly and Stance for stand-out colours with superior cushioning for all those miles!
2) SPIbelt - £20.99 - £24.99
Short for Small Personal Items belt, these are indispensable for carrying your phone, cards and even attaching your race number when out running! Pockets on trousers usually only fit keys and a card but arm-bands can throw off your arm swing and are hard to reach quickly (factor in the sweaty hands to pull out said phone). Enter the SPIbelt which sits comfortably on your waist (adjustable) and tidily zips away your belongings. You can get water-resistant versions and there are ones with small water-bottles attached!
3) Gloves £1 - £12
Winter running is the true test of any runner. Make it easier on them by giving them a spare pair of gloves. These can be a very cheap pair that they can discard at the start line of a race for charity pick-up. In training, they can wear more fancy gloves with a hidden palm slot for their keys and or running mittens with finger-less gloves beneath!
4) Headphones - SoundPEATS £22- £35
Having initially run for many years without music, I found myself pleasantly diverted on Easy or Recovery runs. This is because I would be running to a certain time goal (45 minutes, for instance) and am not allowed to speed up the run to finish it earlier. To prevent mind-numbing boredom, I listened to few songs. This quickly moved on to Podcasts ranging from the running-related to expanding my world view with TED Talks. The SoundPEATS in-ear headphones are sweat-proof and bluetooth connected to help lighten your load!
5) GPS Watch - Garmin £99 - £299
Admittedly, you can get by without these for a long time - I did for five years. However, a runner's inner need-to-know takes over and a GPS watch captures and runs away with it! Okay, enough with the puns. You can start with a simpler model and build up to those that have wrist-based Heart rate monitoring and measure your fitness as it (hopefully) improves. The vivoactive and Fenix ranges cater for multiple sports.
6) Race Hydration Vest: Nathan Women's VaporAiress £85-£120
I honestly don't know how I managed long runs - especially in the Summer - without this! Suffice it to say, these are a game-changer. Plenty of water carriage and pockets for the million-and-one things that just have to come along with you! And if you have a trail runner or budding ultrarunner in your life, this is a must! Other brands to try are Salomon and Ultimate Direction.
7) Foam Roller - £15 - £30
For the uninitiated, this is an instrument of torture.
To the initiated, this is an instrument of torture! Lol!
Seriously, though, not all runners can afford regular sports massage. Hence, the use of the foam roller for myofascial release at home. I got one of these to prevent so many ice baths in the middle of winter. Yes, winter training long runs kicked my butt! Your runner will thank you - probably.....eventually!
8) Running Shoes - £40 - £115
Running is often seen as a minimalist sport in that "all you need are your running shoes". A good pair can set you back a pretty penny though! With so many different styles of shoe - minimal, stability, racer, to name but a few - I suggest you look for the pair that graces the feet of your runner most frequently. If they have a well-worn pair, that's often a good choice to replicate.
9) Runner's Journal £10.99
This provides a great way for a runner to really get their sessions tracked. I first bought this for a friend. After leaving it lying around for months, I opened it up and found myself hooked! It allows you to track your running shoes (how many miles have I run in them, again?), your key sessions and also record your race results. Runners are creatures of habit and the habit of recording the day's workout really is cathartic. Your runner will definitely thank you for this one!
10) Gift Card - Runners Need
Stomped and unsure about the detective work some of these gifts involve? Solve it with a gift card - the gift that keeps on giving - in my humble out what they want, with your financial backing. It will almost feel like they are being sponsored to keep up their habit.
Hope these give you a jump-start with present selection.
Now go forth and make those runners feel special!
And spare a thought for me this Sunday - running yet another marathon - California International Marathon! So nervous already!
Later, ladies and gents!
The London Marathon 2017 | Race Re-cap!
So I ran my second London Marathon on Sunday 23rd of April 2017.
It was my third marathon. And it was a beaut - we thank God! (Grab a cuppa, let's get into it!)
Last year, I towed the start line with so many questions in my head:
I was taking a big risk it felt: pushing my body to its limits (possibly) and making my mind up about this whole long-distance running thing.
Well, at the end of that race, I was hooked! I had run throughout and I was so carried by the crowds that I made 3:42 and some change! I was estatic! And of course, I wanted another chance to do it again.
Imagine my delight to find out that my time was "Good-for-age" for my age-group and I could enter without relying on the ballot (read, very unlikely) or charity places (I'm not so good at fundraising). The fundraising is something I have to work on but...not for now! lol!
So I booked my next marathon after a few more half-marathons and went off to Athens. You can read that amazing race re-cap here - it is the Original Marathon after all.
This year's marathon training was not a walk in the park!
I also had something to prove - to myself, really. I wanted to beat my last time but also push it down closer to the 3 hour mark! Yes, I am that crazy person!
Algarve Spring Training Camp 2017
By most pure string of serendipity, whilst searching for a fall marathon for 2017 after an awesome race in Athens (yes, I'm well and truly addicted!), I stumbled across 209 Events. They are one of only TWO tour companies that offer all-inclusive entries to the New York Marathon. Since at the time it was WAY too early to be checking for such entries, I clicked on their website and spied the "Spring Training Camp" with running, sports massages, yoga and one-on-one coach time! Add that to the fact it was in Algarve, Portugal - I was sold.
Of course I mentioned it like 500 times to my friends, whilst bookmarking and emailing the organisers about possibly getting a lift to the hotel a day early (yes, I'd checked flights - £39.98 return with RyanAir!). Sadly (for them) my friends were not as keen. And you didn't have to ask me twice before I'd booked my flights and paid my down-payment for the week!
I know you're curious about it. Too bad, I'm telling you anyway!
Hi, I'm Lola!
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