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2011 Holiday Gift Guide For Runners

Don’t know what to get your runner or outdoor enthusiast this holiday season? Here are some excellent ideas in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices.

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Don’t know what to get your runner or outdoor enthusiast this holiday season?

Scroll through the tabs on the left of the page for some excellent holiday gift ideas in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices.

CamelBak Podium Chill, $12

As a subtle “chill out” gift, CamelBak offers an affordable ($12) squeezable, insulated beverage delivery system that will keep drinks cold for hours.  The BPA-free, double-walled bottle holds 21 oz (610ml) and features a self-sealing valve for spill-less drinking on the fly. http://www.camelbak.com

Editor’s Pick: H2O Audio Trax Custom Fit Headphones, $40

What are the two most important features of a reliable pair of running headphones? 1. The sound quality is excellent.  2. They don’t move! The Trax Custom Fit headphones fits both of these descriptions thanks to an angled ergonomic design and moldable memory wire that hooks over your ear, keeping the earplugs in your ear and the wires out of your face. With five earplug options, these headphones allow you to create a comfortable, customizable fit for a wide variety of activities. Also, the headphones are 100% waterproof, meaning sweat and rain won’t affect your experience. http://www.h2oaudio.com

Natural Running By Danny Abshire, $19

While the barefoot “movement” has certainly taken hold, there are more moderate ways to transition your form to minimize your likelihood of injury.  Natural Running by Danny Abshire ($19) explains proper running technique and offers drills and a plan to adapt your running through proper body alignment and form. http://www.velopress.com

Icebreaker LS Chase Zip, $110

Icebreaker’s merino wool long sleeve zip top is the perfect midlayer piece for versatility.  The LS Chase Zip GT ($110) is dressy enough, with attention to design and form-fitting detailing, to wear at work or when going out but functional enough to wear when training or racing. http://www.icebreaker.com

Ragnar Relay, $100/person

Give the gift of a whole party on the run.  Teams of 12 (or six ultrarunners) compete in approximately 200 miles in races all over the US and this is the ultimate bonding experience, complete with punchy humor from time shared in a van full of sweaty, sleep-deprived running mates.  Approximately $100/person. http://www.ragnarrelay.com

Editor’s Pick: adidas Supernova Track Jacket, $65

Who doesn’t love a cozy, oversized top on a cold day? The Supernova Track Jacket is a great cold weather performance jacket that’s light and breathable to wick away sweat, but still warm enough to keep you comfortable. It has stylish appeal that can take you right from a run to lunch with friends. Plenty of zip pockets to stash keys or an ID, mesh inserts for extra ventilation and reflective elements for visibility.

Strava.com Premium Membership, $59

Maybe a bit snarky but if you want to keep tabs on someone’s training and or be able to encourage their effort, Strava.com will help someone help themselves.  The premium membership ($59) applies for both runners and cyclists and comes with leaderboards by age and gender, activity uploads, detailed heart rate analysis, pace analysis, and virtual competitions that are like a video game’s “high score” listing. http://www.strava.com

Lululemon Speed Skirt, $54

Not to be cheeky, but you have to love a piece of apparel called a “Speed Skirt” and Lululemon has done it right with this functional yet elegant piece.  The skirt ($54) is made with a built-in smooth liner that wicks moisture, waistband pockets, zippered rear pocket, flat seams and a drawcord. http://www.lululemon.com

Suunto Quest, $249

If you know someone’s training is getting wonky and you want to help them to get back on track, Suunto’s Quest ($249), which is a veritable wrist-mounted running coach that provides direction on speed, distance, heart rate, and even cadence – number of footsteps per minute – the combination of which tells more than most want to know.  And with Movescount, Suunto’s free on-line community, you can follow the recipient’s progress and even prod them on in their training. http://www.suunto.com

RRS Flash Dance No-Show 3 Pack, $29

Socks may have been the dreaded stocking stuffer as a kid, but these neon colored running socks are a great stocking stuffer around for runners. Blisters have become a thing of the past with these neon pink, green and orange moisture wicking socks that stick out from the tops of your shoes just enough to show off some color. If neutral colored socks are more your style, they also come in plain white or black and several different cushion levels. roadrunnersports.com

Craft Thermal Split Finger Glove, $50

Craft Thermal Split Finger Glove ($50) is lobster-like in that it is reminiscent of a claw and, thanks to Thinsulate insulation and a removable fleece liner glove for sub-zero sessions, it warm enough that your gift receiver will feel they’ve been treated to the heat that is a lobster’s demise. http://www.craft-usa.com

Motorola Motoactv, $249-$300

One device that does it all: music, communication, GPS, body metrics, and it even reads power output or caloric burn.  But the coolest thing about this micro mite machine ($249-$300, depending on Gigabyte memory capacity) is that the sweatproof, shockproof wearable unit minds all of your performance data and then tells you the songs that motivate you most, keeping a playlist that is sure to jazz up your workout sessions. http://www.motorola.com

Original Buff, $20

Why give a stocking stuffer when you can give a stocking-like gift that is the stuff.  The Buff ($20) is smooth-as-silk, lightweight and warm and the tube-like accessory can be worn in 12 different versatile ways including as a hat, neck warmer, or face protection. http://www.buffusa.com

Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters, $45

Many gaiters keep out everything, including moisture and detritus, but they are also hot and feel like you are wearing shin guards.  OR’s new Ultra Trail Gaiters ($45) were designed for desert running and trekking and are perfect for shielding sand and gravel alike yet remain incredibly breathable and cool. http://www.outdoorresearch.com

Ecco Biom A, $220

These running shoes from Ecco are the perfect gift for a fashion-forward runner/traveler who might use them in a number of different settings, thanks to their biomechanical performance characteristics and Yak leather alluring and rugged yet comfortable qualities.  The Biom A ($220) feature TPU rubber outsoles and an anatomical fit and encourage a midfoot running gait. http://www.eccousa.com

Editor’s Pick: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor, $120

The FT7 consistently receives high marks for accuracy and ease of use. Available in full-size and slimmer versions, this affordable monitor (ranges from $80-130) reveals what zone you’re training in so you can adjust your pace as necessary. Users can set alarms to beep when their target heart rate changes. While the chest strap and watch are comfortable to wear and the monitor stores close to 100 training runs, the system doesn’t include a stop watch. http://polarusa.com

Atlas Run Snowshoe, $200

Most people think of snowshoeing as an incredibly slow, duck-like trudge.  Yet with Atlas’ Run snowshoes ($200) the experience is emancipating, thanks to just enough floatation, lightweight materials, a comfortable and efficient binding system, biomechanically-accommodating frames, and rugged aluminum cleats.

Ibex Balance Boxers, $45

Wool boxers sound itchy but these ultrafine soft, washable merino wool seamless baselayer shorts will banish that outdated notion.  The Balance Boxers ($45) feature a form-fitting design for athletic support and motion accommodation that’ll keep the gift recipient happy under there.  Under where? http://www.ibex.com

New Balance Minimus Cross Trainer, $90

For low-profile comfort and performance, the NB Minimus Cross Trainer ($90) is all about simplicity that enhances your training experience by encouraging lower-leg strength while in multi-sport action.  Designed to accentuate ankle stabilizers while negotiating gym and circuit training, these attractive versatile trainers are comfortable with or without socks. http://www.newbalance.com

Editor’s Pick: Salomon Spikecross 3 CS, $160

Caution, giving this gift may deprive the donee of excuses not to run. The Spikecross ($160), thanks to an aggressive outsole rubber outfitted with embedded carbide and tungsten spikes and an upper that features a moisture-repelling yet breathable Climashield layer, is run ready, regardless of the trail conditions.  Kiss the treadmill goodbye!

Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, $150

Europeans and adventure racers have long recognized and enlisted the benefits of poles or “sticks” as they are known overseas. For long courses with arduous climbs trekking poles are leg savers, allowing the user to distribute some of the exertion to the upper body, and Black Diamond’s Ultra Distance Trekking Poles ($150), made of superlight carbon fiber put a twist on the standard package by allowing for push-button breakdown, allowing the user to pack them away when not needed. http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com

Pearl Izumi Infiniti Knicker, $70

Pearl Izumi’s fast-forward pedigree is readily apparent in the Infiniti Knicker ($70), the ideal gift for men and women who want to run in cold weather without encumbering their motion.  Made with resilient, lightweight, moisture-transferring thermal fleece and an elasticized waistband with a flat stretch draw cord and an internal brief, these ¾-length tights will keep you running throughout the winter. http://www.pearlizumi.com

GU Electrolyte Tablets, $6.50

As a tasty, fresh, effervescent way to fight off exercised-induced muscle cramping, GU’s Electrolyte Tablets ($6.50 per tube) come in three flavors: lemon lime, orange and peach tea.  Plop, plop, oh what a relief. http://www.guenergy.com

Smartwool Reversible Training Beanie, $25

A beanie should be simple, comfortable, warm but not too warm, and wick moisture.  Smartwool’s Reversible Training Beanie ($25) is all of that and, with two great colors in one hat, feels like a two-fer deal. http://www.smartwool.com/

Mountain Hardwear Effusion Power Jacket, $150

A winter running jacket, at its best, is breathable, weather resistant, stretchy, reflective, warm, light, and quiet.  In other words, it is a cloaking device by which you won’t notice the weather or even that you have it on in the first place.  The Effusion Power Jacket ($150) is that magical softshell piece and it accomplishes that feat through zoned construction, a form-fitting cut, built-in half-gloves and thumb loops, DWR finish and a windproof, water-resistant face fabric. http://www.mountainhardwear.com

Gore Oxygen SO Arm Warmers

When do you wear arm warmers?  When it is cold, windy, or otherwise nasty.  So it only makes sense that you’d want to give a pair that protects from shyte weather and Gore’s Oxygen SO Arm Warmers ($50) do just with their Windstopper Soft Shell fabric, flatlock seams, pre-shaped elbows and gripper elastic upper hem and elastic cuffs.