Run like the wind this Christmas and beyond
If there's one thing runners love more than running, that's running kit. The average runner spends in excess of 450 hours or their life obsessing about what socks to wear inside those shoes they're still not sure are the right running shoes for them. That's a fact.
The brilliant thing for anyone who has a runner in their lives is that this means Christmas should be a complete doddle. From GPS watches to sweat-wicking undies, and from pocket money to oligarch, there's plenty of fodder to throw at your very own Gump. This is the ultimate selection of stuff that any obsessive runner would be happy to find under the tree this Yuletide.
Falke Impulse Running System • 190 (£130)
There isn't much a runner won't consider given the promise of covering ground faster or more efficiently. That's exactly what this innovative FALKE Impulse Running claims to do. A combination of strategically placed knitted and silicone knobs in the running top, shorts and socks deliver targeted stimulation of sensors in the fasciae (a layer of tissue that sends signals to brain) which has been proven to have a positive influence on the body, the posture and running technique. All of this comes together to help reduce injury and improve running form.
Of course, if you're after a cheaper present, you can just buy one element of the system…
MyZone MZ-3 Physical Activity Belt • £130
Not all heart rate chest straps are created equal and the new MyZone belt does a whole lot more than most. One of the killer advantages of this band over its competitors is that it syncs with a huge range of other running watches and apps, making it an ideal choice for a Christmas present because you don't have to worry if it'll play nice with your runner's other tech.
It's not just a BPM tracker either. Rather than just focusing on your heart rate, the MZ-3 converts your tracked data into an overall measure of effort, so whether you're Mo Farrah or Joe Schmo, you can create challenges with friends and family on a level playing field. Think of it as a massive handicap race.
X-Bionic X-Socks Speed Metal Socks • £15
Runners are among the few groups of people who'll be genuinely chuffed to unwrap a pair of socks at Christmas. Particularly if they're the X-Socks. Made by Swiss sports brand X-Bionic, which specialises in clever technical running gear, they're made from a newly developed yarn called XITANIT that reflects heat, keeping your feet cooler. They also wick moisture away to help prevent what runners fear most - blisters.
ASICS MetaRun • £200
Buying a runner new shoes is a big shout, and perhaps you'd be better off getting a Runners Needs voucher. However, if you want to stick your neck out without too much risk of offense, ASICS MetaRun might just fit the bill.
The most advanced shoe ASICS has ever produced, the MetaRun has no fewer than five patents for technology like FlyteFoam, ASICS' lightest, most durable midsole,with organic fibres for high-level cushioning and AdaptTruss, a new and revolutionary, carbon-reinforced adaptive stability system. All of these add up to a shoe that adapts to a runner's unique style, making them a safer bet as a Christmas treat for your favourite pavement pounder. You'd better get running yourself, though, as ASICS is only selling 60,000 pairs worldwide.
BSX Insight • $300 (£200)
A smart little gift for serious runners, the BSX Insight offers the kind of depth of performance analysis that's usually reserved for expensive lab tests. This little pod slots into calf sleeve and monitors your muscles' energy systems, telling you exactly how hard they're working via'scientific-grade LEDs'. It also pairs with a smartphone app to reveal all kinds of useful training data like when you hit your lactate threshold and how long you spent above it during that 10km weekend run.
Nike Flash Max jacket • £399
The winter-gloom-bustin' Nike Shield Flash Max Running Jacket comes with a fairly ample price tag, but then it does deal a double blow to the no- so-great British weather. It not only keeps you warm thanks to Nike's Storm-FIT 5 fabric, which locks out the wind and rain, it also keeps you safe while you log the miles during the darker months.
The reflective checker-dot camo pattern printed onto the fabric helps to make you more visible on low-light runs with 360 degrees of reflectivity. It has pockets too - and god knows, runners love a pocket.
Moov Now • £46
For its price, the Moov Now is just about the best fitness tracker a runner can strap on. Thanks to a multitude of sensors, it can track motion in a 3D space and use the data it gathers to deliver real-time run coaching via your smartphone and a set of headphones. It'll guide you through runs, helping you improve your form, hit the perfect cadence and reduce the risk of injury. It then syncs with an app via Bluetooth for further analysis.
You can pair more than one to improve the information you gather, it has a six-month life from a standard watch battery, and it also has funcitons for cross-training, cycling and boxing-based workouts. It's basically you giving the gift of better running and general fitness, for under 50 quid.
Compressport UR2 compression calf guards • £35
Plenty of runners swear by compression socks, particularly the ones who are regularly rocking out marathon distances and beyond. You can opt for all-in-one compression socks but it's also smart to keep things flexible with separate calf sleeves.
The fibres of the Compressport UR2 compression calf guards, are loaded with thousand of tiny little capsules containing muscle soothing essential oils and are designed to help reduce the movement that causes muscle tears, cutting fatigue and aiding active recovery. Ideal for those longer Sunday training runs, then…
Technogym MyRun • £2650
If money is no object and you've got a house big enough to accommodate it, then the Technogym MyRun might just be the ultimate gift to help your runner get through the cold, dark winter months. The MyRun is probably the most advanced personal treadmill, pairing up with an iPad app to deliver all manner of connected coaching programmes for multiple distances and giving you real time feedback on your running form and efficiency.
It also makes being rained on largely impossible.
Polar M400 • £158
Runners love stats. Minutes per mile, beats per minute, miles run… And that's just the start of it. Feed their addiction with the Polar M400.
This is a multi-talented GPS sport watch that'll let them keep tabs on the key stats from every run and their daily movement all in one simple to use wrist piece. Paired with a heart rate chest strap you get zonal training to help make your run training more effective. All your data syncs with solid web tools for great detail on your progress plus there's a strong social side too, so you can challenge friends and family, for added motivation.
There are fancier running watches out there, but few that can match the Polar for battle-proven reliability. It's also pretty cheap as such things go, if you shop around.