So, Black Friday. I never quite got into it. I mean, why fight in a Walmart parking lot at 10 pm on Thanksgiving (I can’t even stay up that late), when every single merchant out there is offering crazy deals online already?
If you hate going to the mall at this time of year — or any time, really — chances are that, like me, you’ll be doing most of your holiday shopping online or at your favorite small businesses. So I decided to put together a list of my favorite things, many of which happen to be on sale through Cyber Monday, or the end of November.
If you’re looking for gifts for your runner or triathlete friends, I hope these suggestions will spark some ideas:
The price we pay for good runner legs: bad runner feet
Marathon runners take 40,000 to 45,000 steps, and that doesn’t include walking around after the finish. How many more in training, I don’t even want to know. It’s no surprise that a runner’s feet are beat-up, callused things that rarely have all 10 toenails present, plagued by the dreaded plantar fasciitis or some other -itis… They deserve to be pampered.
I was recently in a running shoe store trying out new shoes, when this foot massage roller caught my eye. I was in my socks anyway, so I decided to give it a try and… ohemgee so good! (And I never say ohemgee!). And for $10? Yes please! I’ve been rolling out my feet regularly while I sit at my computer working, and – no other way to put it – they’re in heaven!
Flip flops that won’t flop
Earlier this year, meanwhile, I was feeling the marathon training miles build up in my feet like never before. My coach insisted that I stop wearing flip flops… but it was summer! And hot! What was I supposed to do?
A friend told me about this brand of flip flops called Oofos and after asking around, all I got from runners was incredibly positive feedback. So I ordered a pair and oh yeah: I am never going back to regular flip flops, ever again! Oofos have a thicker sole that feels super soft on the bottom of your feet, and the thong reaches further back around your foot, so the flip doesn’t flop. You’re wearing flip-flops, yet you feel as if you were in your cushiest sneakers. Not to mention, they come in all sorts of fun colors and have extra-wide sizes. Perfect to switch into after a race, go to the pool, or for walking miles and miles during those hot summer days!
Loosen up the legs
And butt. Let’s not forget the nemesis of almost every runner I’ve ever met: tight muscles. If you (or your runner) doesn’t own a foam roller yet, that is obviously something you need to remedy ASAP. Physical therapists usually recommend starting with the basic kind, which is usually white in color and least dense. Once you get used to that (and it becomes all bendy, which might not take that long with regular use), you can progress to a blue, medium density roller. And finally, the black, high density roller.
I’ve been using the blue kind for years and have been meaning to upgrade for a while now. Finally pulled the trigger a few weeks ago with this deep tissue massage foam roller and oh boy, talk about taking things up a notch. It’s been a painful experience so far, but I’m already feeling my quads get better (using it daily has had a lot to do with that, too).
Must look good while running
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Skirt Sports. Founded by triathlete Nicole DeBoom, Skirt Sports is a small, women-run company in Colorado that seeks to empower women – of any size! – through sport and, well, with incredibly cute and high-quality running skirts (and capris, tights, tops, tanks… you get the idea). I bought my first Skirt back in 2006 and have been a loyal fan ever since. Since 2014, I am proud to be a Skirt Sports Ambassador!
Skirt Sports is running a Black Friday sale through Cyber Monday:
Discount codes cannot be used during the sale, but any time after that, you can use code SSCCM20 for 20% off any item (regular-priced or sale).
My current Skirt obsession: anything in the Tantrum print:
Badass is Beautiful
Speaking of sales and beautiful clothing, another ultra-favorite brand of mine, Betty Designs, is currently offering 10% off everything (including sales items), through November 29. Betty Designs is owned by Kristin Mayer, who has an incredible talent for designing the most beautiful swimming, cycling and triathlon gear I’ve ever owned. Read more about Kristin’s story here.
Impressed? To support yet another women-owned small business this shopping season, use code THANKS2BETTY.
I recently found out that I was accepted to Team Betty 2016 and could not be more thrilled to join a group of #BadAss women on the triathlon scene next year! My current Betty obsession, the Garden Party trucker, $29.99:
Books for the soul
First up, a runner’s classic, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I dare you to begin reading that book and not want to lace up and go running not even 10 pages into it. Truly, one of the most wonderful books about running ever written. You won’t find any training advice in it, but you will definitely find inspiration and understanding.
For those looking for a solid training book: even though I’m not a fan of using cookie-cutter plans to train for a race, I found a lot of useful information in Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, especially on setting realistic goals in training and racing. (Unrealistic time goals are what lead to the majority of injuries in training and disappointing results, especially among marathon runners… but don’t listen to me, read the book.)
Finally, another classic that I’ve been reading for the past few weeks. (Not that it isn’t an interesting read, on the contrary — it’s just quite long and I’ve been busy!) For history lovers: Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Cofounder.
Believe, Train, Adapt, Compete
I’ve had a training journal since I started training for my first marathon back in 2003. I find it incredibly helpful, not just to keep a tally of those miles (I do that online now, anyway), but for motivation. Last year, I got the first edition of the Believe Training Journal — the one in classic red – and instantly fell in love. There’s much more than motivation on those pages. You will find a wealth of information and inspiration! I just ordered a new one and can’t wait to start using it, just as soon as the last two weeks on my original one are filled up! (And yeah…. I had trouble deciding between the black and lavender… so I got both. I guess I’m all set until 2017!)
So that’s it from me this shopping season. There are, of course, lots of other stuff you could buy for your runner or triathlete – medal hangers, jewelry, safety items, a Garmin 920XT, a bike (one could never have too many bikes!). But I will leave the rest for you to research and tell me: What are your favorite running or triathlon things?
Disclosure: This posts contains affiliate links. That doesn’t affect the item price when you shop, but any time you do buy using one of those links, a tiny percentage of your purchase goes to this blog. Thank you for your support.