Gear

Pilk’s Points: 7 Run Gifts To Consider For Yourself This Year

What's on your holiday wish list?

What’s on your holiday wish list?

Thanksgiving is over. Calorie counting is in full swing. And traffic jams are at an all-time high.

Yes, the holidays have officially arrived. The hustle and bustle of last-minute gifts, snagging the last holiday cup at Starbucks, dodging three-wide strollers inside Barnes & Noble and avoiding calls to the relatives you speak to less than once a year is undoubtedly filling you with angst, exhaustion and a sudden lost desire to add running to the schedule. Why not leave the gift list on the counter and do a little retail therapy for your runner self? My own study shows that purchasing run items in the midst of an endurance slump and caloric high actually motivates your wearied body to get out the door and leave the jingle of shopping bags at home. Here’s a roundup of my most back-burned essentials that made the cut over Black Friday weekend:

1. New Headphones

My No. 1 excuse for not getting out there when I need to zone out is my dying earbuds. The color’s faded, the right speaker does this strange fuzzy sound and the cords are permanently intertwined with one another (causing an awkward choking effect under my chin). Instead of skipping over the impulsive grab at your local sports store, grab a pair and tune out the holiday chatter on your next run. Headphone-less runs are a different kind of jam for me, but sometimes you really do need to ignore your surroundings.

2. New Socks

How old is your favorite pair? All of my top picks are ancient but to varying degrees. Some are 6 months old, others are a few weeks into their running career. December is a perfect time to stock up on new comfortable tootsie guards for 2015. Out with the ragged oldies and in with a handful of new blister guards.

RELATED: 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

3. New Water Bottle

I think I found my old handheld under my car seat with no recollection of where it came from. However, since I’ve upped the race goal by 13.1 miles, the 8-ounce size is no longer enough. Start the New Year on a hydrated note and a shiny new sipper—if you’re anything like me, this will also encourage another developing interest …

4. New Trail Running Shoes

I’ve been a road girl since winning my first track race in sixth grade; trail running has really only entered my life in the last six months. A new year is the perfect time to add something new, something different to your running calendar. For me, that’s trail running—a lot more of it. Shoes often hit triple-digits, so for many of my run buds and myself, a new pair is often ignored but almost always needed. Your cousin doesn’t really need a gift, right?

5. New Cross-Training Tool

I re-discovered swimming last halfway through 2014 and have since adopted it as a normal part of my weekly workout routine. If there’s something you’ve tested out and fallen in love with in 2014, get the equipment to continue that momentum! Set yourself up for success in 2015: cross-train to stay healthy and purchase the necessities to make it happen. For me? Silicone swim caps, a pool membership and new goggles that weren’t freebies at a fundraiser.

6. A For-Fun Race Entry

You gotta start somewhere! I’m already anticipating a lull following my first marathon in January, so I registered for a local half marathon just for fun. No goal, no plan, no social-media announcement (except perhaps this one). Consider it an insurance policy on your fitness. Having something on the calendar before the year even starts will haunt you in the most loving way.

RELATED: The 50 Best Running Stores In America

7. New Running Hat

Yes, I live in San Diego, but no, I’ve never considered a hat a high priority. I have sunnies and some visors, but they collect more dust than miles right now. I decided to invest in a hat that admittedly looks good on my head and could also be used around town outside of running. Sun protection so often is an afterthought when you’re dashing out the door for a run—instead of worrying about the perfect sunscreen slather, I’m just covering up the entire cheek area in brim shade.

Got any other recommendations to start 2015 off with a running bang? Tweet @caitpilk so I can add to my own wish list.