FAMILY AND GOOD FRIENDS are likely to have asked for YOUR WISH LIST as they attempt to take advantage of in-store and online pre-Christmas sales. There are lots of relatively expensive items (>$100) you long to receive (new reflective wear by Nike, that is in the $250+ range or the latest running shoe models at >$110) but cannot ask others to buy, so the challenge is to find affordable gifts. Because the New Year, a time for making resolutions to improve health, is also approaching, you might wish to consider gifts that will help you keep those resolutions. This week you looked at bright lights for safety. You could also consider asking for simple at-home use exercise equipment with instructional DVDs or winter season accessories:
Resistance band set
Resistance tubing set
Head/neck covers like Buff™
Wool (like Smartwool) or wool blend (like Feetures™) socks
Running mittens (not gloves, and not combo glove-mittens) like Sugoi Wind Mitt™
Twizzlers™ or other sport fuels
Runner's World has a nice review of this "seamless tubular garment". I have been using them for several years, mostly around my neck in place of a shirt with a turtleneck, or in addition to a turtleneck T-shirt on colder days. The material is lightweight, soft, and breathable. It can be removed easily when this area feels too hot and wrapped around a wrist, put in a pocket, or held in the hand, and put back on later as needed. It can be pulled up over the mouth and nose for protection too, but on very cold days I find this leads to ice formation as water vapor of my breath freezes. As it's name indicates it's designed to be worn on the head, but since it mats down my hair, I don't use it like this on days when hair washing is not planned directly after a run.
Growing up and living in Michigan has taught me that glove material separates your fingers and they can feel colder in spite of being covered by fabric. Mittens, however, allow the fingers to snuggle close and warm each other. Thus, as is the case with other body regions like the neck, at the start of a run the hands are cold. They warm with increasing activity and can become hot. Mittens made of thin wind-resistant material will allow your hands and fingers to warm while protected from cold air. They are not bulky and can easily be carried or stuffed in a pocket during the parts of the run when hands become hot, and then put on when cold again. The only running mittens I have found are the Sugoi’s; please comment if you recommend others.
Last on the list is a stocking stuffer that has long been a staple of Lake Michigan beach lovers in the summer! These carbohydrate sources for longer runs are relatively low in calories (160 calories/4 piece/71 grams), have minimal fat content (<1%) that would slow digestion during a run, and are inexpensive, $2-3/16 oz package (~10 servings). In addition they can be easily stored in a small plastic bag (I cut them into smaller pieces to reduce the bulk of the bag to fit in a pocket), don’t get sticky in your hands, aren’t slippery in the mouth (choking hazard), and don’t pull at dental fillings. Runners also like gummi bear-like and M&M-like candies, but I don’t think Twizzler’s can be beat on price. They contain flour so are not gluten free.
The higher tech running chomps, chews, gels, and fluids contain amino acids, electrolytes, and sometimes caffeine and vitamins and thus are often higher priced than simple candies. So perhaps Twizzler’s and other carb treats will work for “everyday” runs that are 75+ minutes and the sport fuel products might be held in reserve for times runners feel they need the extra ingredients. I pay roughly $2.40 for a 60 gram/180 calorie bag (intended for one 1.5 -2 hour run) of GU Chomps™ at my specialty running store. Since they are relatively expensive, sport fuels make good stocking stuffers too, if you wish to treat the giftee to something they don't often purchase for themselves!
Runners World had a brief article discussing these "fuel" items for runners.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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