Running: The 12 Days of Run-mas

Posted: December 23, 2013

Still don't have a holiday gift for the runner on your list? Never fear. I'm here to help. Here are my 12 Gifts of Run-mas. (And no, none of these were provided to me for free. I based these recommendations on my experience using them.)

Forgive me for not keeping with the meter of the original song. I was not the best student in poetry class.

12 sweat-wicking socks. No cotton allowed. Cotton, to runners, is the devil, especially on feet - the harbinger of blisters and pain. I prefer thinner sweat wicking socks, which makes the Nike Training Studio No-Show perfect.

11 Salted Caramel Gu. This special flavor was released just for the holidays, so get it now. Be careful with the caffeine, though. The International Marathon Medical Directors Association recommends taking in no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine before and during running, and one packet of this flavored Gu has 20.

10 running-store gift cards. This might sound like a cop-out present, but if your runner churns through shoes like your uncle gulps down eggnog, a gift card to his or her favorite local running store can help defray 2014's costs. (This is easier than trying to figure out what running shoes he or she would like - trust me.)

9 canisters of Nuun Active Hydration. When I started running, I relied on Gatorade for rehydration on very hot days, until it sent me lurching for portable toilets during races. Nuun is a fantastic alternative. Each tablet, which you drop into your water, has only eight calories and no sugar but all of the electrolytes that you sweat out during a run.

8 short-sleeve running shirts. Yes, it's cold outside, but short-sleeve running shirts are versatile. They can form a base layer under a long-sleeve jersey in cold weather, then stand alone this spring. Almost all of my short-sleeve running shirts were freebies from races I've run, and all of them are made by Brooks.

7 Picky Bars. These energy bars were developed by pro runner Lauren Fleshman, at first because she couldn't find any dairy- and gluten-free options for her athlete husband, and now because she wants to conquer the world! Just kidding. They're a nice balance of carbs and protein for hardworking athletes.

6 running gloves. Break this down into three pairs. First is the throwaway pair, stretchy gloves sold in packs from almost every general store. They'll keep your favorite runner's fingers warm before the start of the race, and can be tossed midrace. Second pair is thin, wicking running gloves. They're meant to be worn the whole run through, and many have fingertip fabric that lets a runner use a smartphone or iPod without taking off the actual gloves. Nike Lightweight Tech Run Gloves are my go-to. Third pair is for when it's bitter cold, snowing or sleeting - a bulky, heavier pair that slides over the thin wicking pair to keep fingers toasty and dry.

5 Headsweats hats. These running specialty hats are made for sweating, and their winter versions will keep runners warm at the same time by making sure that sweat doesn't freeze on top of their heads. Even in cold weather, I'm still partial to their visors. They keep the sun out of my eyes, and I don't need to perform acrobatic tricks with my hair to keep it out of my face and off my shoulders.

4 reflective vests. It's not the bad weather that worries me this time of year. It's drivers trying to operate vehicles in the bad weather. One way to make your runner more visible is by having him or her don a neon vest over the running top. In cold weather, vests give the added bonus of keeping the core warm. I like the Brooks Nightlife Ess. Run Vest, which comes in an assortment of neon colors.

3 sticks of Bodyglide. Bodyglide is a lifesaver for any athlete who suffers from chafing. Runners use Body Glide on their feet, their upper arms, and - I'm told - some men use it on their nipples so they're not that guy in the race.

2 Knuckle Lights. Knuckle Lights wrap around runners' hands so that they can see the road in front of them and make themselves more visible to drivers - especially if you put them on blink mode. I prefer Knuckle Lights over head lamps because the strap of the lamp never seems to sit right, and lights on your hands mean you have more control over what is lit in front of you.

1 pair of Yaktrax. Especially if your runner calls a treadmill the dreadmill. Yaktrax are slip-ons for boots or running shoes that give you traction in ice or snow. You won't mangle them if you walk on asphalt, either.


Running:

Racing Schedule

Sunday

BCRR Winter Series: Tyler Challenge 10K. The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Saturday

Dashing Thru The Sand 5K Run/Walk, Avalon, N.J., 9 a.m. Fee: $25 plus $2.50 sign-up charge. Registration ends Friday, 5 p.m. runsignup.com/Race/NJ/Avalon/DashingThruTheSand5KRunWalk

Next Sunday

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Jan. 1

BCRR Winter Series Cham-Pain 5K.

The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, noon. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Jan. 5

BCRR Winter Series Wild Card (distance TBD on race day). The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Jan. 12

38th Mayor's Icicle Ten miler, 9 a.m., Wilmington. Fee: $35 ($40 after 1/8)

BCRR Winter Series Polar Bear 8 Miler, The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Save the date: Super Sunday 5k, Feb. 2. http://runbucks.com/supersunday5k.html


E-mail date, name of race, site, time and fee, plus registration information, to sports editor John Quinn at jquinn@phillynews.com. Put Running calendar in re: field.


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