Gifts for runners, Christmas 2016
Does your loved one don skimpy clothing and then leave the house for hours on end, returning all out of breath, sweaty and flushed?
Then we have some very bad news for you: they're into running. And not just the soft stuff; they're at the kinky end of the slog/jog/run scale.
Still, best to let them have their fun, so long as they always come home eventually. That's why we've compiled this list of the best gear to sate their perverted lusts for 'hard miles' and 'pavement pounding'.
Now we need a shower.
Garmin Forerunner 630
Available with or without a heart-rate strap, this is the current state of the art in running watches.
Garmin makes a wide range of running watches but the inclusion of advanced tracking of gait, cadence and other physiological traits will leave any serious runner purring.
GPS-powered monitoring of speed, distance and calories burned is included as standard, of course, as well as suggested recovery times after each run.
Garmin's app is a bit clonky, but dig into it and there are metrics galore to track and agonise over, making this not so much a wearable as a way of life.
Stance Men's Fusion Run Wire OTC running socks
'Tis the season to be jolly… And buy socks as gifts.
For runners, unlike normal people, socks are actually a very good present. They take their feet seriously.
A decent running sock will wick away sweat, preventing rubbing and blisters, and American brand Stance offers some of the coolest socks around, with a huge range of patterns and colours – there are even some particularly snazzy Star Wars themed numbers.
If you're dazzled by choice, the Run Wire OTC is a good bet. Long enough to protect your calves from the winter cold, they're anatomically designed and moisture-defeating for comfort, with a reinforced heel and toe for durability.
Camelbak Performance Bottle
A runner's essential at a pocket money price, this has a no-drip spout that you have to bite lightly down on to access.
It's made of flavourless polypropelene, so your 650ml of H2O tastes like water, or, at any rate, as much like water as UK tap water generally does.
TICKR Run Heart Rate Monitor
Buy your loved one a pulse monitor and you'll always be close to their heart. Although many watches contain pulse tracking hardware, a chest strap is still the most accurate way to measure beats per minute and monitor how hard you're working. How romantic.
This one can be paired with a watch such as the Garmin above, but it can also stand alone, with its own app.
Thanks to its treadmill mode, Wahoo's TICKR Run is particularly good for those who like to mix up their training with indoor and outdoor sessions and provides running data including cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation – how much you bounce upwards as you run.
Optoma NuForce BE Sport 3
T3's favourite new sports earphones offer an unshakeable fit, with in-ear 'hooks' and a band that can be tightened to your desired length.
Despite weighing practically nothing, and being water- and sweatproof, the BE Sport 3 still musters up both a 10-hour battery life and highly impressive audio – an element that often takes a back seat on sports headphones.
TomTom Spark 3
Way cheaper than its Garmin rival, TomTom's latest sports watch nonetheless has just about everything you'd expect from a running watch – GPS tracking, in-built heart rate monitor, general activity tracking – and some useful added extras.
The most notable of these is the inclusion of a music player app, so you can stream sounds to your Bluetooth earphones (such as the NuForce BE Sport 3, above) without needing to carry your phone.
The latest offering from the company known for its navigation tools is also great for those who like to go off road and run-explore. The nifty way-finding function allows you to upload trails to the watch so you can explore new routes, find your way back to the start and never actually get lost. Although for some, that's part of the fun.
WAA Ultra Backpack
Perfect for the run commuter, the WAA Ultra Backpack was actually designed for running the Marathon des Sables with.
That's a five day 56-mile race across the Sahara Desert, so it's more than able to cope with whatever the four-mile jog to work can throw at you.
Durable and lightweight, the Ultra fits a 13-inch laptop and clothes/towel with ease, and comes with a plethora of handy accessories including a rain cover to keep your kit dry on squally days, water bottles for longer runs and a reflective cover if you're running home at night.
It's pricey, but it's also pretty much impossible to destroy, saving money in the (very) long run.
X-Bionic Effektor Recovery Socks
Because Christmas is sock season we've put two pairs on our list for Santa. Although technically, these socks aren't for running, they're for sleeping.
Pull them on at night after a tough race or workout and they'll help speed up recovery – meaning you can go out and do it all over again the next day.
Swiss-designed, the calf-length socks use strategically placed compression panels to help blood circulate and move lactate around the body, meaning less muscle soreness and stiffness in the days after the race before.
Crossover ankle bands also support stressed muscles and tendons, making them a great gift for anyone upping their miles with marathon training.
Night Runner 270 lights
It’s dark outside. Better light your loved one's shoes up like a Christmas tree, so they’re safer on those evening runs. Cars sure aren't going to miss them in these babies, and they're also weatherproof to "bucketing down" levels.
The name of these lightweight LED lights comes from the fact that they offer 270 degrees visibility – as well as the bright white light on the front, the unique 'wing' design means a red light shines behind as well.
The Night Runner 270 attaches securely to shoelaces, with rechargeable batteries that last for up to four hours.
Woodway Curve treadmill
Welcome to the Money No Object category.
Yes, this is very expensive, but then it isn’t like most treadmills, as you control the speed not with your fingers and a button but with your legs.
Powered by you, the Woodway Curve’s frictionless slatted belt speeds up when you do and slows down as you hit the brakes. It’s an odd sensation at first but it’s a great choice for a home treadmill for two reasons: it’ll save on your electricity bills, and the manual belt burns around 30% more calories than a motorised version.
Salomon Speedcross 4 trail shoes
The new year is all about pushing yourself to seek out new adventures, so why not help the runner in your life mix things up with a gentle nudge to leave the tarmac and take to the trails.
The latest version of the world's most popular trail shoe, the Speedcross is a classic for a reason. Lightweight and water resistant, Sensifit tech means the shoe cradles the foot for a precise fit.
Most importantly, the grip is excellent even in wet conditions and on rough, uneven terrain, the 6mm lugs are going to keep you upright.
Time to become King of the Mountains.
Massif Central Bespoke Challenge Artworks
Buying for someone who's always telling you the exact time splits and KPMs of their favourite race?
Honour their achievement with a bespoke print so they can show off to everyone who visits their lounge/bedroom/downstairs loo.
All you have to do is let Massif Central know all the important data – event, date, finishing time, money raised, whatever you fancy really – and they'll design up a personal artwork. Much more tasteful than medals in the utility room.
Mo Farah: No Easy Mile DVD
Even if you're just starting out on your running journey it's impossible not to be inspired by Mo, the UK's favourite athlete.
No Easy Mile, available on DVD or digital download, follows the Olympian's story from his upbringing in Somalia through to his prep for the Rio Games.
Hearing him reminisce about his career highlights and getting an insight into the training required to be a gold medallist is guaranteed to get anyone lacing up the trainers post turkey, making this essential New Year's resolution viewing.
Halo Sport Headphones
And now for something completely different.
While there's plenty of research into the effect of music on performance, these headphones, as favoured by the US Olympic track team, do more than just blast the latest power trance anthems into your ears. They also shoot low-level electric currents through the brain.
This, allegedly, helps the wearer improve their athletic skill, strength, endurance and explosiveness.
The headphones use a technology called 'neuropriming' to stimulate the motor cortex – the area of the brain that deals with movement. This leads to stronger signals between the brain and muscles, increasing the wearer's ability to learn and adapt to training patterns.
Now we know you're probably thinking, "Will I feel a bit of a prick?" But no, the electric pulses are also blessedly pain free, although you may feel the odd warming tingle.