Running column: Mark Armstrong reveals what every runner wants for Christmas

Mark Armstrong about to come into the home straight at the Lord Mayor's 5K. Picture: Epic Action Ima

Mark Armstrong about to come into the home straight at the Lord Mayor's 5K. Picture: Epic Action Imagery - Credit: Epic Action Imagery

So you've got a runner in your household that's already slightly worried what the Christmas festivities are going to do to their running schedule.

Perhaps you can alleviate some of the concern by buying something that's going to make them want to get out there and knock out a few miles over the Christmas period.

It's worth bearing in mind that when buying for a runner, they normally want one of three things…

- To get faster

- To gain motivation

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- To make it easier

Okay, if they're like me, they probably want all three, but with this in mind here are a few ideas that might help the runner in your life a little happier before they start chugging down the mint Baileys on Christmas Day…

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A new watch

There are all manner of watches out there that can provide the kind of analytics that NASA would have provided an astronaut with 10 years ago. Personally, all I want out of it is to know my pace and whether it can be linked to my Strava straight away. If it does both those things then you're on to a winner for me. Just bear in mind if it's got a heart rate monitor then the back of it probably lights up, which will immediately make it attractive to a child. My one-year-old son, Logan, recently changed my wife's Garmin to Polish and it took a couple of days, along with a fair bit of googling, to get it back to English. If I'm honest, I'm still not sure it's right.

A new buff

Nothing says you're a runner more than owning a buff, does it?

Okay, they're not cool… but they are so warm - I've even started wearing mine on the school run recently such is my desire to feel part of the running community during my time on the sidelines through injury.

Seriously though with the weather taking a real turn over the last couple of weeks in terms of temperature, it would be money well spent.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group hereNew trainers

Every runner I know would never say no to a new pair of trainers… ever. There's always room on the shoe rack for another pair… even if it means throwing out the loafers you wore on your wedding day.

However, don't buy them for someone without getting them to try the shoes on first. They really won't thank you for buying a pair of neutral trainers, for example, if they over-pronate more than an elf with one leg shorter than the other. Get them a voucher instead.

Running club membership

Is your runner getting their training plans off the internet? Why not help them get to the next level of their running by paying for them to join their local running club where they will be able to help devise a bespoke plan to attain their goals next year. They really are cheap as chips and much better value than the gym membership you're keeping in business despite going three times in 2019.

Head torch/high vis gear

It's that time of year when it's dark when you get up, you go to work, and it's dark when you come out. Unless you work shifts there's a fair chance your runner is going to be doing some training in the dark. Why not get them a high vis top along with a head torch? If you're like me then make sure you can charge the head torch via USB. The batteries in our house are only reserved for toys. My head torch is nowhere near as important as Ewan the Dream Sheep which helps settle my son at night.

You might not make a more important purchase - people pulling out of their drives at 6am don't expect to see some nutcase getting in their 10K before work. It was only due to my high vis training gear that a guy saw me last year and just about stopped in time… no conkers were involved.


Because runners are hungry… always.

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