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Holiday gifts for athletes that are worth the money

November 26, 2014

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By Flickr user lululemon athletica

As we reported recently, running a marathon can be a really pricey venture. Even shorter races can add up, and other sports aren’t all that cheap either.

We know many reporters will be asked by editors to write holiday gift guides, and you may not know where to start. Here are our ideas for stories about gifts for athletes.

If you’ve got a runner, triathlete, swimmer or any other sort of fitness junkie on your holiday list this year, don’t just grab the closest fitness tracker you see because its cute. Instead, spend your money wisely and get them something they really want and will use.

A word of advice: stay away from sneakers, unless you’ve raided their closet to find out the make and size. Quality sneakers are hugely important in most sports, but personal preference is huge here, and improper footwear could actually be damaging to their feet in the long term.

  • Basis Peak Fitness and Sleep Tracker
    There are dozens of activity trackers on the market, and that Apple watch is looming out there on the horizon, but what most of these trackers lack is an ability to take your heart rate without wearing one of those awful chest straps. It also tracks sleep, is water resistant and monitors exertion levels. It is newly released and retails for $199.95.  If you have a new or aspiring athlete on your hands, a Fitbit One might be a good option to keep them motivated, though it likely won’t offer up enough information for the more hardcore junkies. basis fitness tracker
  • Garmin Forerunner 620
    Though many a runner or a triathlete would happily skip the fitness tracker, in favor of a Garmin Running Watch. The Forerunners give info that most of those activity trackers aren’t able to at this point. This model has an HRM-Run monitor that can track cadence and ground contact time that can really help improve form.
  • Peloton Cycle
    If you’ve got a lot of disposable income this holiday, this spin bike would be a dream for a gym lover who is short on time. It’s a high-end spin bike, that comes with a built-in screen so you can stream their classes (for an extra $39 dollars a month). It costs a hefty $1995 (plus delivery and set up) but owners can get an actual spin class taught live in the comfort of their own living room.
  • CycleOps Bike Trainer
    Now there are those serious bike riders who would object to the spin bike, and there’s a great indoor option to make them happy as well. The CycleOps Bike Trainer can take their beloved two-wheeler and turn it into an exercise bike for any weather. Especially great for those prepping for an Iron Man who can’t get outdoors to ride four plus hours a day.
  • Lululemon Scuba Hoodie 
    Lululemon does have a bit of a sticker shock for many looking at nice athletic clothes for the first time. And the chain has run into trouble buying not catering to all sizes, and having pants that are see-thru, but their Scuba Hoodies are actually pretty fantastic for a runner or anyone traveling to and from a gym. But if this $108 dollar hoodie is cost prohibitive, most fitness junkies will appreciate any new gear, just make sure to look for moisture wicking fabrics. Those cotton shirts may be cute, but could cause chafing, and no one wants that for the holidays.bike
  •  Surge Sportwrap Waterproof Headphones
    A swimmer, or even an athlete who works up a sweat, will love a pair of earbuds that not only stay in place during a workout, but can also help break up the monotony of lap swimming (waterproof iPod cases are also a great option).
  • Manduka Yoga Mats
    Those cute 15 dollar mats you see at department stores come in cute colors, but the dedicated yogi on your list needs something a little more durable. The Manduka Pro mat has extra cushioning, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Worth the $100 in the long run. socks
  •  Wigwam Socks
    You hear socks and Christmas and you might think of them as that thing your grandma would give you, but any one who participates in sports will appreciate some high-end socks that save their feet from blisters.
  • Some Other Suggestions
    — Gift cards to a favorite local running, hiking, outdoor store.
    — Race entry fees. Whether your athlete does 5K’s, Iron Man triathlons or Tough Mudders, those activities all add up… fast. Help their budget by paying their way for an event.
    — Sessions with a personal trainer, or fitness classes. If they’ve got a trainer they love, if they are hooked on crossfit, or addicted to yoga, extra sessions or classes will definitely make their holiday.

Story Ideas: 

Electronic gadgets for runners

Lululemon size controversy

Battle of fitness bands

Angel Cohn is a freelance journalist who has written about entertainment and television for the last 15 years. She is currently an editor at NJFamily.com. Follow her on Twitter at @angelcohn.



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