A Holiday Wish List For Olympia Runners

Olympia runners (from left) Karen Steen, Anne Larsen (author), Alexis Erickson, and Linda Hyuck discover 17 water fountains around Olympia.


By Anne Larsen

Need a holiday gift idea for the runner in your life? Worry no more. Every year my personal wish list contains numerous running gadgets and gear. So sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee and let me be your personal shopper! Everything on my list can be purchased locally, either at South Sound Running, Alpine Experience, or REI.

Winter Weather Gear: Baby it is cold outside (and rainy and windy), so treat the runner in your life right by setting them up to tackle the elements in style! Holiday lights don’t have to be the only things lighting up the streets, deck your runner out in reflective gear and a headlamp! Reflective vests, armbands, coats and hats are options.  Not only will it help them see, but help cars see them! A great running hat will not only keep your runner warm, but act as a shield against the rain. Keep your hands toasty warm with some lightweight gloves. Running with cold hands is NO fun.

Entry to a Training Group or Race: Nothing gives like the gift that keeps on giving. The gift of a training group will not only help keep your runner motivated throughout the dark and dreary winter months, but they will love the time spent with running partners and come home in a much better mood (it’s proven, they will be nicer).  Loads of information about local running groups can be found in this article.

Shoes: Every runner, male or female, LOVES new shoes. Everyone in general loves new shoes, but runners take that love to a whole new level. A gift certificate to South Sound Running for shoes will certainly put a spring in your runners step!

Watch: Now I’m not traditionally a watch person, and if you know me, you know that’s the truth. BUT, I have a watch on my wish list this year, so this is some sort of crazy cool watch if it’s won me over! The Nike + Sports Watch with GPS sold at South Sound Running is the perfect combination of giving your runner the data they want and need, but not entering tech-overload on options they may not need.  Perfect!

Hydration Pack: Yes there are a dozen plus water fountains around downtown Olympia, BUT many of them are not functioning during the winter months, and if your runner is contemplating taking on longer distances, a hydration pack is essential. Ever runner has individual preferences in what they like or don’t like when it comes to carrying water. Some schlep it around on their back, some rock out a fanny pack, and some use a handheld hydration bottle. There is no right or wrong answer – unless you buy the wrong type for your runner (just kidding! – but keep the receipt).

Music: I LOVE music, almost more than shoes. You want to see something disappear in a snap at my house? Drop an iTunes card on the table and see what happens. It’s scary. New music can motivate your runner through a treadmill workout when the weather just gets too unbearable. Music can turn a bad run good, and a good run great. I’m clearly not alone in my love of some good tunes…..check out any 5k through marathon race and you’ll see an awful lot of headphones out there!

Yoga: Umm, yoga. Balance, strength, warm rooms…….nice people doing handstands…..umm yoga. Now I’m sure you’ve heard of “runners high” – just send your runner to yoga and see what happens- it’s like goofy yoga high. But be warned, if your runner is super competitive about every aspect of their lives, they may be the least flexible, unbalanced people in the room (which can be annoying and very unyoga like). Just remind them, ”yoga is not a competition” and then walk away quickly before they throw something at you.  Or have them lay their mat down next to a cyclist; they are even tighter than runners!  (Read about Anne’s conversion to yoga in this article.)

Nuun: My obsession with NUUN is unnatural and completely voluntary (although if you are from Nuun and reading this, I promote Nuun all the time and would love a kickback). You can buy Nuun everywhere; Top Foods, REI, and South Sound Running just to name a few. It comes in all sorts of great flavors, some with caffeine (yeah!) others without. The great thing about Nuun is that it doesn’t make your teeth feel all fuzzy and sticky after drinking it. Sounds weird I know, but fuzzy teeth can be annoying. Plus it tastes great.

Sweet Pain Relief: I have a three tier program for aches, pains, and tight muscles.

  • Tier One: good old fashioned tennis balls. Get two tennis balls, have your runner find a clean spot on the floor, place tennis balls under back, hips or offending area and let gravity do its job. Now it will hurt, but the kind of hurt that is strangely good.
  • Tier Two: a foam roller or “stick” from the running store. Same idea as tennis balls, but cooler and you can do more with them.
  • Tier Three: when your runner just can’t take it anymore – hire a professional. I don’t know a runner from the planet earth that doesn’t love a good massage. Listen to me: Buy your runner a gift certificate to massage.

Pedicure: Someone rubbing your feet, while sitting in a massage chair – need I say more? Treating your runners feet right will lead to nothing but happiness.  Happiness for them – equals happiness for you! And yes, I have seen men in there!

Eye candy: Runner’s World Magazine and Born to Run:

A subscription to Runner’s World magazine is like a monthly pep talk for runners. Any sort of inspiration or motivation is a good thing. I’ve jumped on the treadmill at 9:30PM and watched 90 minutes of horrible Bravo TV after Reading Runners world and catching the running fever. It’s only happened once, but it’s happened!  Born to Run is a fabulous book, and I’m kind of a book snob. If your runner is time crunched or always commuting, get them the audio version. A great read (or listen), with a fun story line and some science thrown in.

Compression Socks or Calf-Sleeves: Now not every runner is sold on the virtues of compression socks, I am. They have not failed me yet. I don’t know if it’s mind over matter, or I just like rocking out some pink knee highs, but whatever it is, my calf cramps have been absent since their arrival. They are not cheap, but worth the investment if they work!

Arm Warmers: This one took me a while. I had a pair for about two years before I finally had the nerve to wear them. Let me tell you this, you don’t need to be Kara Goucher to wear arm warmers. They are practical out on the trails (which is where I normally wear them). They keep you toasty warm, but not too hot! Try it!

Running Buddies!  Priceless and I couldn’t bear to run another step without them. If you are looking for some running buddies, there are numerous groups around!  Check out this article about local running groups.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email