WHEN TIMES ARE TIGHT
Gifts for under R200
Reflective Running Strips
Running and cycling in South Africa can be dangerous, especially on those dark mornings or evenings when drivers can’t always see you. Make sure you head out with a pair of reflective running strips that you can strap around your wrists or ankles. Be seen and be safe! (R50-R100 at various sports shops.)
No runner can ever have enough socks! So you can’t go wrong when buying this essential in every runner’s cupboard. Just remember there are different socks for different sports, so make sure you choose the right type for your loved one. (R20-R100 at various sports shops.)
Living in sunny South Africa is good for running, but bad for your skin and eyes. Every runner needs a running cap and if you are a woman, you probably need one in each colour to match your running outfits! Make sure you buy one that’s lightweight, waterproof and absorbs (moistuer-manages) sweat. (R100-200 at various sports shops.)
A Long Walk To Running
Olly Maujean not only ran his first Comrades this year, he also wrote a book about his Comrades journey, and it’s a must-have for any runner who has ever run Comrades, and any novice who is brave enough to attempt it! A Long Walk to Running is one of the most hilarious reads on running you will find! It’s a perfect Christmas gift for your running friends or loved ones. (R184.68 at www.modernathlete.co.za – postage and delivery included.)
Nedbank Runner’s Guide 2011
There’s a reason why this book is known as the ‘Racer’s Bible’ in South Africa. It is the essential guide for anyone who wants to run some races in 2011 and contains all the information you’ll need to plan your racing calendar in the New Year. Details on trail running are a new addition to the book, while comprehensive route descriptions and profiles are sure to help you to a possible PB. (Approximately R110 at various sports shops and bookstores.)
‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY AFTER ALL!
Gifts for under R500
My Comeback, Up Close and Personal (Lance Armstrong)
You’d have to search far and wide to find a more inspirational person than Lance Armstrong. His latest book will inspire you to get out of the bed for those early morning training runs or rides – the awesome photos and anecdotes are sure to get you on the road in no time. A must-read for any athlete! (R220 at most bookstores, Sportsmans Warehouse and kalahari.net.)
No, there isn’t a seventies revival in the running community! All those runners you see wearing tight-fitting, calf-hugging socks are doing so to improve blood circulation in their legs, thereby improving recovery from long, hard runs. The science makes sense, so give them a try. (R150-R500 at most sports shops.)
Runners’ tog bags go through a lot: Most of them are filled with a pair of smelly shoes and sweaty clothes and often the bags are left in a hot car too! So, most runners will appreciate a fresh, odour-free tog bag under the Christmas tree. Why not consider the adidas Basic Essentials Team Bag? It has separate compartments for smelly clothes and a special spot for your shoes. (R200-R400 at adidas stores.)
Power Plus Bracelet
Developed to improve your balance, help you recover faster and just make you an altogether better athlete, these bracelets are a must-have. Just make sure you buy the real thing as there are hundreds of cheap knock-offs out there that claim to be the real thing. (Available at the Runner Group, Action Sports outlets, The Athletes Foot and Wellness Warehouse. You can also order them online at www.modernathlete.co.za at R399).
First Ascent Apple Jacket
A handy little rain jacket that not only rolls up to the size of an apple, but also fits into its own little pocket. It’s one of those items you simply must have in your backpack whenever you hit the trails – it takes up so little space and will only add 90 grams to the weight on your back. And it’s unisex! (Available from Sportsmans Warehouse at R400.)
If you need music to keep your feet moving, there’s no better gadget than the iPod Shuffle. This nifty little gadget is so small, you won’t even know you’re carrying it. Clip it to your clothing, backpack or purse strap and it stays put, whether you’re running an errand or running around the track. It gives you 2GB of storage capacity and up to 15 hours of battery life, so it’s good for hundreds of songs on the run. And it’s available in you’re favourite colour! (R499 at the Apple Store, Incredible Connection, Game and Dion Wired.)
GO ON SWIPE THE PLASTIC!
Gifts for over R1000
If you or your loved ones are planning on hitting the trails, you should invest in a hydration pack. They come in all shapes and sizes, are designed specifically for men or women, and vary from a simple bladder to a bag big enough to store a jacket, chafing cream, dry socks and other odds and ends. (R400-R1000 at various sports and outdoor stores.)
Garmin Forerunner 60 / Forerunner 405
Both these nifty watches with heart rate monitors will track your distance, heart rate, calories burnt as well as measure your speed when running. Also, advanced training tools such as training alarms and a virtual training partner will help you improve your running in no time! If you want something more fancy with even more functions, opt for the Garmin Forerunner 405, which is more like a portable computer. The only thing it won’t do is make you a cup of coffee! (R1800-R3800 at all various sports and outdoor stores.)
Rudy Project Running Glasses
The official eyewear of the Comrades Marathon, you’ll have to look hard to find better running glasses. The ImpactX photochromic lenses transition from light to dark in record time, making them perfect for running. They are so lightweight and comfortable, you’ll soon forget you’re wearing glasses. Try the Rydon or Swift models, which offer numerous lens options. (Approximately R1900-R2300 at optometrists and cycling shops – go to www.rudyproject.co.za for a list of stockists.)
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get shopping – and Happy Holidays!