Pulling together gift ideas for runners is probably my favorite gift guide of all because, well, they’re all things I either want or have and love. These are my top picks, but if you go to my Holiday Favorites page and scroll down to the Fitness Junkies section, there are a lot more ideas for the fitness fiend in your life.
Gift Ideas for Runners
A Garmin Forerunner. This is definitely something all runners love, and if they have an older version, it’s really hard to justify a new one since the things just never die. (Speaking from personal experience here… I want the 235 in a bad way, but my 210 is still working just fine.) There are a number of Garmin Forerunner models; the 235 is a solid option, but if you want all the bells and whistles (or they do triathlons), go for a Forerunner 735.
A reflective vest is another practical item that EVERY runner should own if they EVER run in the dark, or at dusk or dawn. And if they run outside in the winter, that’s bound to happen. It may not be “fun” but it’s so important. This is the one I have that’s adjustable for all body sizes. Make the vest gift a bit more fun with a vest theme by adding a cozy vest to wear post-run or a warm running vest.
A race recap of the the Mistletoe Half Marathon 2016 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It’s one of my favorite races for veteran runners and first-time racers. I shared how I ran, how I trained, and a really dumb thing I did leading up to the race. 🙂
This past Saturday, I ran the Mistletoe Half Marathon in Winston-Salem. The best part – I set a new PR of 1:33:29 (average pace 7:08), when I 100% did NOT expect to PR. Between lots of travel, the very hilly course, and not having run a race in 2+ years, I told Tommy right before I started that I would be happy with a time under 1:40. I didn’t think I’d even come close to my PR. My previous official PR was 1:34:36 (and sorta 1:33:50 at another race, but that was an extrapolated time since the course was unintentionally short). So either way, I definitely set a PR and I was so, so happy — and shocked!
I loved having Tommy at the starting line. It’s the first race he’s seen me run (well, he saw me start, not finish – he had a golf tournament to get to and couldn’t see me finish). 🙂
How I ran
I ran really relaxed, but relaxed does not mean easy. I was definitely pushing the pace, but I was never going all out until the last 1-1.5 miles, when it took a LOT of effort to keep my pace strong. Overall, I felt like I paced myself really well throughout and did a good job of listening to my body.
I started with the 1:35 pace group until I felt like I had a good handle on how my body was feeling. And my body wanted to pick up the pace just a bit after a few miles.
The first 3-4 miles, I had some random wicked shin splints, but I knew if I could keep going, they would eventually loosen up. They did, and then I really felt amazing.
I never looked at my Garmin after I left the pace group. But now I wish I had – I think I probably could have broken 1:32!
My training plan
I used a Strava training plan, which comes with a premium account and totally worth the $7/month. The plan was challenging but I really enjoyed it too. I think their plans are great whether you’re a beginner or veteran runner.
I stuck to the plan 98% and tweaked it only a few times when life got in the way or when I needed to switch up training days to better suit my life, e.g. moving long runs from Sundays to Saturdays half-way through the plan.
Given how hard I trained for the race, I was really upset when I found out that I would be traveling for two straight weeks leading up to the race. I had booked a trip to Utah months ago, and then found out a month before the race that I needed to be in San Francisco the week after Utah, which meant I’d be away for two weeks — and my body would firmly be on West Coast time. But, when I woke up on Saturday morning, I had tons of pre-race energy and endorphins and was really excited once I lined up!
A Dumb Thing I did Pre-Race
I forgot packet pickup. Like, completely forgot it was a thing. On Friday night, I went to Whole Foods after work to shop for pre-race fuel. When I was back home and planning out my racing outfit, I looked up the start time. And then I saw the section about packet picket — that ended in 10 minutes. I flew out the door and got over there just in time to get my bib. Um, wow, Teri. Out of racing practice for sure.
Why I love this race
There aren’t many winter races. But, the gorgeous fall running weather in Winston extends well into November. This race lets you take advantage of all that great fall training!
It’s on the route I run for almost all my runs. I know the course well, so I can just focus on my running and not worrying about where to turn.
It’s big, but not too big. There were about 3,000 runners this year. It’s nice because you’re never running alone, but it’s not overly crowded. I’ve run bigger races where I’m tripping on others or dodging other runners.
I’ll share with you in a future post how I fueled and how I dealt with pre-race nerves. I think my pre-race fuel was key to how strong I felt throughout the race. And I think CrossFit was also a major key.
Thanks again to all of you who were so supportive and encouraged me to run when I was expressing doubts with all the travel. Your kind, encouraging words meant more than you know!
My favorite outfits while living out of a suitcase for two weeks. My tip for how to pack for a two week trip? Lots of neutrals and some cozy sweaters.
Since I had to pack a suitcase for two weeks that included a visit home to Utah and a work trip to San Francisco, I packed things that wouldn’t be a wrinkly mess as I packed and unpacked multiple times. Neutral colors were important for versatility too!
Gray & Chambray
I am obsessed with this combo of gray + chambray. Gray jeans go with almost everything and are a nice change from blue jeans.
I bought this coat in Utah and it was a lifesaver for both trips. I love the style too – it’s tailored and nice, but not overly dressy. Mine is a soft-shell jacket, but the wool one is beautiful too.
I find burgundy pants are surprisingly versatile. I wore this to sit in a conference room all day, so I bundled up with a cozy cardigan since conference rooms are ALWAYS cold. Also, if you’ve been eyeing these booties since I obsess over them all the time, get them now – they’re only $35! (Use the code FRIEND.) You won’t regret buying them, even if you have to hold onto them for warmer weather – they are SO comfortable and so cute.
This outfit was great for lounging around the hotel after long days in meetings. I used GrubHub to have Thai food delivered one night, and it was heavenly to just stay in and relax. (I know – I should have explored San Francisco, but I was worn out and didn’t want to venture too far solo.)
This hoodie was another Utah purchase and I am obsessed. It’s super cozy, but the slimmer cut makes it look nice enough for running around town. I wore it on the flight home too. I’ve raved about my sneakers before, but they deserve another callout. They’re so flipping comfortable and cute. I walked all over the city in them. (And bonus – they’re on sale!)
Favorite links from the past week, including the importance of knowing the difference between discomfort vs pain when running. Happy Sunday! It’s a gray, drizzly day here in Winston and I kind of love it as an excuse to hole up in leggings and a hoodie and just veg out. After being away for two weeks, it’s […]
Today I’m sharing a gift guide for your best friend! I’m a big believer that gifts — whether for Christmas, birthdays or something else — shouldn’t be too practical. I like finding gifts that the person wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, something they’ll love but probably wouldn’t justify buying. Shopping for your best friend (or […]
Day one on the West Coast included exploring the Lands End Trail in San Francisco (and getting drenched while running!) and eating some amazing cioppino. Hello from San Francisco! I flew out of Utah yesterday and it was unbelievably hard to leave my parents. I cried all through security (and the TSA agent who checked […]
Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm Teri, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC and I LOVE my city. I also love running, CrossFitting, my awesome boyfriend, my dog, cooking, baking and drinking too much coffee at work. Check out my About page to learn more!
Blogging is not my full-time gig, but running a blog isn't free. I have to pay for blog theme updates, hosting fees, domain fees, and other expenses to keep this site up and functioning and hacker-free. To help keep my blog accessible and free, I do include affiliate links from time to time and receive a small percentage of purchases you make. I do not link to products that I wouldn't personally buy, so rest assured I won't refer you to crap! :)