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Holiday Gifts for Obsessive, Weird Runners (like me)

Runners are a little bit different. Fine, let’s put all the cards on the table: most of us are fit for a straight jacket. - May your nipples bleed less than expected during your marathon.
When we’re not lacing up our neon shoes and squeezing our legs into nylon tights, we’re bragging about negative splits and fine-tuning our carb-protein recovery fuel ratio.

Just the other day, I was in my living room wearing short shorts and compression socks with no shirt doing hip hikes. As that image settles into your brain, you can imagine that my wife Meaghan was spot on when she said: thank God our daughter is too young to remember this.

I’m sure you’re the same way.

Does your collection of running books rival the local library’s running section?

Do you correct non-runners when they refer to your compression calf sleeves as “high socks?”

Do you live to geek out on the latest Garmin Forerunner model? (OMG, the 610 brought back 1s recording mode!)

There’s something special about this level of oddity that gets me jacked up. I think it’s unique to endurance sports because what we do is a lifestyle – not just a hobby.

To keep us happy, we love indulging our love of the sport. And this holiday season, I want to give you some ideas on more unique holiday gifts for runners.

Sure, you can treat yourself to an Amazon gift card where you can buy another pair of shorts. But let’s get more specific. Forget shoes or a new running jacket. Let’s focus on memorable holiday gifts that the running geek in your life will remember for years.

Holiday Gift of the Year: Running Form Analysis

This is at the top of my gift list for a very good reason: it’s practical, incredibly unique, helpful, and will delight every running nerd on the planet. Having your form analyzed by a pro is such a different gift that it’s my favorite among this list.

But there’s an inherent problem with gifting a running form analysis: how do you figure out the logistics of finding a gait analysis lab close to home? And of course, there’s the added hassle of taking all that time to drive to the location for the form analysis.

In today’s world these problems don’t exist. Existing services allow you to record yourself on a treadmill in the privacy of your own home, outside on the track, or on the road. The Running Form Course helps you do all of this and provides feedback with their software:

  • Film yourself on a track, treadmill, or outside on the road
  • They’ll show you how to easily upload the video
  • After they analyze your form (hip drop, posture, foot strike, cadence, pronation, stride length, etc.), you’ll get a full report
  • More than just a breakdown of what needs to be improved is a detailed recommendation of how to improve your running form

Most recreational runners need help with some aspect of their running form and this is the best service available.

And not just because you get a form analysis service, but the package also contains a 6-week video course that shows you how to make gradual, lasting changes to your running form. You also receive a world-class education on how to run more efficiently with guest lectures from experts like:

  • Matt PhillipsRunning Form Course
  • Dr. Greg Lehman
  • Pete Larson
  • Jay Dicharry
  • (among others)

Created by former pro runner and coach Jeff Gaudette (I’ve previously interviewed him about running form), I’ve gone through this program first-hand and absolutely love its detail, action steps, video presentations, and guest experts.

For that running nerd in your life who loves stats, metrics, and who possibly wants to prevent injuries, the Running Form Course is my top recommendation for the #1 holiday gift for runners this year.

The Gift of Convenience: Yurbuds

Like any other runner, I like to jam out to Taylor Swift while rocking my trail runs. And nothing disrupts the flow of Today Was a Fairytale more than earphones that won’t stay in my ear.

I use the standard Apple earphones that come with any iPod or iPhone – but they’re notorious for slipping and falling out of your ears (especially if you’re sweating or running fast). For months, I didn’t listen to any music because it was too much of a hassle to deal with them constantly falling out.

But my wife came to the rescue with custom-fitted Yurbuds – deceptively simple rubber pieces that fit over the earpiece that make it virtually impossible for them to slip out of your ear.

After wearing them for over two years, they’ve fallen out only 2-3 times when I was sweating profusely and running quite fast. Not a bad performance record.

Not having them is now a deal breaker: if I’m traveling with my iPod but forgot my Yurbuds, I simply won’t listen to music. Not only will my earphones fall out, but they hurt my ears! Yurbuds have made the experience much more enjoyable, less painful, and stress-free.

Times have changed since I got my first pair two years ago. Now Yurbuds come with performance earphones that have a ton of cool features and accessories:

  • water-resistant microphone for voice control of volume and song selection
  • Soft silicone that’s guaranteed to never hurt
  • Ergonomic design guaranteed to never fall out
  • Wire clip and carry pouch
  • Multiple sizes of enhancers

They’re compatible with any iPod, iPhone, and iPad (if you run with your iPad, please send me a picture). I know they’ll make your next run with Taylor a lot more enjoyable.

Check them out here for a variety of styles and models. The best part: they’re guaranteed not to hurt your ears.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Parcel from Greatist

Greatist Parcel

The good folks at Greatist – the fastest growing health and fitness media startup in the country – recently introduced a monthly delivery service for health nerds called Parcel.

I love this idea because I like to try things. But I’m scared of commitment and would rather test products before buying the full package for a lot more money. And now, every month, you can get a wide variety of food, beverage, home, and beauty samples.

The Parcel I received in the picture above had a lot of stuff packed in there:

  • 3-pack of organic teas: Earl Grey, mint melange, and spring jasmine 
  • spices
  • lotion
  • dish soap (the fancy natural kind)
  • vegan protein powder (my wife then bought a larger bottle and said “I actually look forward to eating it!”)
  • vitamin/herbal drink mix (similar to Emergen-C)
  • reusable towel
  • organic, fair trade coconut oil

If you’re looking for many things that you may not be able to find locally, then Parcel can help you discover new products and companies you may never have heard of before.

I’m a sucker for gifts that keep on giving and opening a new package every month is exciting. Plus, you can get a variety of months depending on how many boxes you’d like to receive.

Check out Parcel here for all the details.

Now that the holiday season is upon us and I start shopping for a few runners in my own life, I’d love to hear your gift suggestions.

What products and services would you love to receive?

What was your favorite running or health related gift that you’ve ever been given?

Have a happy Thanksgiving and if you’re racing a Turkey Trot, good luck!

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