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The Running for Real Podcast

Nov 23, 2018

I love this time of year, and for me, finding Christmas gifts that really match the person you are buying for is a fun challenge to take on.

If you have a runner who you want to get the perfect Christmas present for, or if you are someone who is unsure what to ask for yourself, maybe this runner gift guide will give you some ideas to make it a little easier.

Now I am getting back into running higher mileage again and running is certainly a big part of my life again, I have been able to think about what runner goodies are making our lives easier this year. Some of my list were on my 2017 list, and many are new, with a special thanks to my running for real superstars community for giving me some of these recommendations.

Some of these products were sent to me for free, but my opinions are my own, and my reviews are honest, if I don't like a product, I will never put it on my website (remember a few months ago I turned down a big payment for a product I could not endorse), so you know these are my true recommendations for the best gifts for the runner in your life.

Let's dive in:

For the Runner Stocking Filler: Bombas Performance Socks ($12-$17)

You may have heard me talking about Bombas a lot lately, and I really do love what this brand stands for. It makes my heart swell knowing that they donate a pair for every pair that is purchased, and they are also very interested in sustainability and looking after our world for the future.

Now, for the part you actually care about, are the socks comfortable? Well, if I tell you I ran a half marathon race in the rain with them on and didn't have a single blister or sore spot? Or how about that I have done pretty much every run, certainly every long run (2hrs-2hr 30) in them for the past few months.

So yes, I love them, and you can get 20% off your first order with the code running4real

Find Bombas socks here.

For the Runner with a Baby, Toddler, or Young Child: Chicco TRE Stroller ($379)

I never thought I would be a stroller mother runner, but here I am, running most of my runs each week with my stroller, taking Bailey around the local area. Thankfully, it actually works quite well as she takes a nap, so I come back refreshed, feeling good as I got my run in, and she comes back rested and feeling ready to play.

This stroller is a little heavier than some of the other models, but it is also very luxurious for the baby, and has a lot of really cool extras that I really enjoy. I gave a bigger review of the stroller in my postpartum running guide, but it comes down to, I love this stroller!

Find the Chicco TRE Running Stroller here.

For Running Safety: Run Angel ($99)

I have become a lot more aware of safety in the last year, and with the attacks that have happened recently, my Run Angel helps me feel safe and prepared. There are quite a few safety style products on here, but this one is my most valued and this is one of the products I recommend to friends above all other running products. Your safety is more important than anything, and this watch-looking device you wear on your wrist will send out an alarm the loudness of a rock concert if you push the giant button in the middle. It will also send an alert to three loved ones when you push it.

You can get 10% off with code running4real

Get yourself one, and all your loved ones too.

Find Run Angel here.

For a Runner Who....well, a runner who runs ;): Garmin Forerunner 235 ($299)

I love love love my Garmin!

I may be a nowatchmeadvocate and tell you not to look at your GPS watch while you run and especially while you race, but I still wear one, every day. I love it, and it is just so easy to use. If you are looking for a running watch, look no further...unless you can afford the higher end models, in which case, by all means go for that instead!

Find Garmin Forerunner 235here.

For the Runner Who Enjoys Wearing Nice Running Clothes (who doesn't!): Mercury Mile ($125-$150)

I have many friends who are huge fans of Stitch Fix, and as much as I love the idea of it, being real, I wear running clothes or activewear most of the time, so it just seems a little silly. However, Mercury mile does the same thing, with running clothes, from emerging brands and long time running brands alike. You fill out a survey with some measurements, choices, styles you like, and more. From there, a personal stylist picks you out a full outfit, and sends it to you. Whatever you like, you keep, whatever you don't you send back. They will then charge you for the pieces you kept.

I LOVE the idea of this, and we all know that running in cute (or handsome for my male readers!) clothes can motivate you and help make even the worst runs feel better. Besides, they are good at picking out matching outfits...something I am terrible at. This is the perfect gift if you are unsure what to get your runner loved one.

You can get 10% off using code running4real Mercury Mile and order yours here.

For the Runner Who is Trying to Eat Healthy: Ikea Silicon Baking Sheet ($5)

I recommended this last year, but it really is a great gift for a low price. I am starting to see more of these around the stores, including a 3 pack in Costco last week, so you may not have to go around the rabbit hole that is Ikea, but a silicon baking sheet for a runner is a lifesaver. They are so easy to clean, and you are helping to look after our world by limiting your foil use :)

Find the Ikea Silicon Baking Sheethere (or at your local Ikea!)

For Runners Who Listen to Music and Podcasts: A running headset (price varies

Now, there are plenty of brands you can choose from here. I have heard good things about most of them, even the cheaper ones you can get on amazon. I am still using my VI, I love it, and it works well for me. If the runner in your life listens to music or podcasts, having a headset that is made for running is going to be so much better for them than using the headphones that come with their phone. It makes a huge difference and a happy runner.

Find more about VI here.

For Runners Who Love to Read:

Brave Athlete Calm the F*ck Down ($17)

I recommended this one last year, and I will recommend it again as it is so good for us to be reminded of how much of a mental sport running is, and how we can actually learn to be better, rather than just trying to fight against something we understand. This book covers the science, but explained in a way that makes sense.

Find The Brave Athlete here.

Let Your Mind Run ($18)

I have not read this one, but I have heard SO MANY people say how this book by Deena Kastor has changed their life. I know Deena Kastor is someone who we all look up to for the incredible achievements she has, but from what I hear, she is very real in this book, and the advice is actually simple enough for us all to use. My superstars RAVED about it, and if your runner wants to learn to be their best, this one should be on your list.

Find Let Your Mind Runhere.

Girl, Wash Your Face ($16)

Okay, so not a running book, but this book is AMAZING. Each chapter addresses a lie we tell ourselves that destroys our confidence and the way we see ourselves. Rachel is actually a runner, so there are a lot of analogies in here, but it is the way she explains her story, then gives actionable advice that really speaks to me, and if you are anything like me, speaks to you too.

One note though, this is definitely a female focused book :)

Find Girl, Wash your Face here.

Endure ($13)

I am a HUGE Alex Hutchinson fan, and he is a wonderful friend who I know will always come out with useful information to help us achieve our best in running. This year he released his book on the capacity of the mind, and it was fascinating. I read it while Bailey was really young and asleep on my chest, and then I had Alex on the podcast to talk about it. If you are interested in the mental side of our sport, I strongly suggest giving this a read.

Find Endure here.

Road to Sparta ($15)

If you listened to my podcast episode with Dean Karnazes, you would have noticed the connection Dean and I had, and it was mostly because I felt I had got to know him through reading this book. Our conversation was amazing, as was this book. Honestly, I am not really a history book kinda person, so I was not sure what I would think of this. I also thought Dean would be very commercial, and it just wouldn't be authentic. I was wrong in both ways.

Find Road to Sparta here.

For the Runner Who isn't a Size 0: Day/Won Leggings

I am SO excited there are more running and activewear brands making their way into the industry, and I am especially excited for Candice Huffine, "plus size", or more accurately, curvy model, who has created her own fun line of clothing for runners from sizes 0-32, and they are SO cute. I love my block print leggings, especially that they are high-waisted, and I think this company has a bright future ahead.

Find Day/Won Clothes here.

For the Runner Who Gets Sore orTight and/or Travel often: CTM Band

This was created by my good friend Kyle Bowling, a Chiropractor who is a runner himself. Not only have I loved getting to know him because he actually gets us, and doesn't just try to stop us running, but he has created a product that is absolutely ideal for runners. It gives you compression, tension, and movement (hence the CTM), which allows us to go further than a foam roller or compression gear alone. These have been flying off the shelves, and some of the best elites in the world have heard about it and are using it. Get yourself or your loved one a CTM band, especially if they have to travel a lot. They will thank you.

Running for Real fans get $10 off using code running4real here.

For the Runner Who Needs More Confidence: Strong by Kara Goucher ($14)

I do not yet have this journal, but I absolutely want it. I have heard Kara on multiple podcasts talking about this book, and it sounds like it is the kind of journal I will LOVE, and I am sure you will too. If you struggle with confidence, especially when you are in the thick of training and things are hard, this journal will help you keep your mind in the right place and see the good in what you are doing. Race day will arrive, and you can feel confident you are ready..and strong!

Find Strong here.

For the Runner Who is In Heavy Training: Bodyhealth Perfect Amino  ($39.95)

I took Perfect Amino for the final few years of my elite running career, and I really noticed when I forgot to take it. I really did notice that it helped me to recover faster and feel better. Now I am back to running harder again, it is great for the same thing. If you have a race coming up that is important to you (or your runner loved one), you can't get a much better gift than the gift of faster recovery! Especially if you are a little injury prone, the faster you can recover, the less chance your body has of breaking down with injuries.

Find BodyHealth Perfect Aminohere and use coupon code TINA10 for 10% off.

For the Runner Who Wants to Look After Their Feet: Altra Escalante ($130)

I have been testing out all kinds of runner shoes this year, and these have become my favorite. Honestly, I never thought I would wear Altra...they were always a little...well, weird-looking, but they have come a long way with their designs, and I really appreciate the wide toe box (a podcast in a few weeks will explain why). I have raced in these and run most of my workouts and long runs in them without a problem.

If you are used to a high drop, you may need a little time to get into these as they are zero drop, but I went from my 4mm drop shoes to these with ease.

Also note, Steve has been wearing Altras for years, and has been raving about them, that is what ultimately gave me the nudge to get them.

Find the Altra Women's Escalante hereand Altra Men's Escalante here.

For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Dark Often: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($30)

I had never really been someone who had to ever run in the dark. Maybe on the odd occasion, but most of the time I would stumble my way through, and somehow manage to not fall over by staying in the lighter areas. Now, as a mother, sometimes you have to get your run done early. I talked about runner safety and how important it is in a recent blog post, but I also realized that by not wearing anything to be able to see where I was going, I was putting my safety at risk another way.

There are so many headlamps out there, but this one had great reviews and was relatively inexpensive, so I gave it a try, and I liked it a lot.

If you or the runner in your life runs in the dark often, this will be just what they need....although one word of advice, this does chafe my forehead (not a good look!!) if I wear it right on my head, so I either wear a cap or headband underneath, so it is not directly touching my skin.

Find the Black Diamond Spot Headlight here.

For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Dark Often Part 2: Amphipod Running Vest ($30)

Now, when it comes to safety, another element I never really considered before was actually being seen! I always kind of assumed I would be fine, and thankfully, I was, but it doesn't mean that I was safe. People who are up and about in the early hours of the morning are not expecting to see a runner, and in most cases, they are running trying to get somewhere quickly, which means they won't expect to see you.

I didn't think I would wear this very often when I purchased it, but I do wear it often, sometimes when it is not even dark out, but because I just feel so much safer with it on. It is bright enough to catch the attention of a distracted driver, which could be a life saver with the number of people on their phones while driving now.

I really like this vest, and I have worn it with just a sports bra and shorts, so I can vow that it does not chafe :)

Find the Amphipod Xinglet Vest here.

For the Female Runner Who Wants to Run with her Phone: Koala Clip ($28)

I never used to run with my phone. In fact, I used to laugh at family who would ask me to take my phone with me. I was too serious for a phone. Now though, I see that was not just stupid logic, but also could have put me in danger many times. I love to listen to music or podcasts on some of my runs, and rather than using a safety pin to hold my phone in a pocket in my tights, this Koala clip is ideal. It also means the phone stays close to my bluetooth headphones, so they don't loose connection (which they would sometimes do when in my tights).

This is especially good for hot summer days as you can strap your phone to your sports bra without any fear of it bouncing around, and it is sweatproof, so keeps it protected from your perspiration. I will admit it does not work that well with my Lululemon Enlite bra on its own, but overall, this was one of my favorite finds of the year.

Find the Koala clip hereand use code running4real for 10% off.

For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Cold: Brooks Cascadia Vest ($110) and Brooks Canopy Jacket ($120)

I love running in vests. I am not sure why, or where that came to be, but most of my winter runs involve one of my three running vests. I usually like to underdress a little, as I hate being hot, but I find a vest is such a good compromise. You can keep your core warm, but then it does not cover your arms...okay, lets be real, armpits up, which is where we tend to get hot.

I just got this Brooks Cascadia Thermal vest, and I LOOOOVEE it! I might even get myself another one to just wear day-to-day. It is comfortable, it is light, it is warm (but not too warm). If you have cold runs ahead, this is going to be something you will wear all. the. time.

Find the Brooks Cascadia Vest here.

I also love the Brooks Canopy Jacket. EVERY runner needs a good running jacket, and this one is wind resistant and water-resistant, while being SO LIGHT, you could stuff it in any bag to be ready when you need it. In the winter, the cold can cut through you like a knife, and having a good jacket means you can throw it on top of however many layers you need that day, and feel warm enough.

I also love the color options. I have the maroon, but they also have a nice blue.

Find the Brooks Canopy Jacket here.

For the Female Runner: Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra ($98)

I know, I know, I need to shut up about this damn bra, but years later I still love it, and years later it was absolutely worth the money spent. I know $100 seems like a lot for one bra, but I am telling you, mine look exactly the same as they did the day I purchased them, because that is the thing about Lululemon, their stuff lasts SO well. I have things from 10 years ago, that are still in such good condition. This bra is just my favorite, and it is just worth every penny for me (as long as you get the right size!)

Find the Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra here.

For Runners Who Are Proud to Be: Sarah Marie Design Studio ($30-$60)

Sarah has done such a fantastic job of making us runners feel good about what we do, and show that we are in this amazing little community. I have multiple Sarah Marie outfits. Some I workout in, and some I just wear day-to-day. They are good quality, they are cute, and they are practical. I have yet to have someone come up to me and ask if it is one of her designs, but the day it does, I will be SO excited.

If you or the runner in your life loves to talk about running or show pride in our sport, this is the perfect gift.

Find more about Sarah Marie Designs here.

For the Runner Who Wants to Cook More: Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow ($16.50)

Last year I featured their first book, and I use it often, but this year, Elyse and Shalane released their second cook book, and it has even more fantastic recipes including three new variations of the ever popular superhero muffins. We have made quite a few things from this book already, and we have given Bailey a lot of the meals/snacks too as we know she is getting good quality food into her body. She LOVES it, and if you have a runner (or not for that matter!) in your life who is trying to eat healthy, they will too.

Find Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow here.

For a New Race Day Shirt (while giving this lady a little support): Running for Real T-Shirts, Tanks, Sleeveless Vests, and Cap ($22-$27)

I would love if you could support me and what I do by purchasing one of my Running for Real apparel pieces. It would make my heart swell 1000000 times if you could wear it for an upcoming race and tag me in a photo, but even if you just wear it as a pajama top, it would mean so much.

They are really soft materials, and performance made, so they will wick the sweat away and keep you comfortable. I hope you love these as much as I do.

Find Running for Real Apparel here.

For a Treat for Your Runner: Sunglasses ($12-$40)

Goodr has exploded onto the scene the last year, and around a year ago, a fan of mine (thank you Liz!) sent Steve and I a pair each. At the time, I was unsure what they were and wasn't sure about the bright blue color I was given. Fast forward a year, these are not only my go to glasses for life as well as running, but they are my number one lifesaver for when Bailey is fussy. Seriously, I save them for a last resort, and they usually work to distract her. They are apparently indestructible, and look the same as they did before I let a baby chew, hit, and play with them for hours on end.

Do yourself a favor, save your money for expensive glasses, they just get ruined anyway, get yourself a pair of you can be part of the cool crowd, that's what we all want, right? ;)

Goodr Sunglasses here.

For Every Runner: Road ID ($24-$30)

Once again, coming back to safety. If you are out running and something happens. Maybe you didn't eat enough that morning and passed out, or maybe you are dehydrated, or something much worse, it can be almost impossible for a random person to know how to contact your loved ones. Road ID has been around for years, but they are SUCH a good thing for a runner to have, especially if you do not carry your phone...or if that phone is locked. Road ID contain the contact details of your loved ones, along with allergen information for you, and anything else that would be important to note.

None of us would want to be in a situation where this would be used, but really, none of us are exempt from it happening, so it is something simple to keep you safe, and allow your loved ones to feel reassured that they will know if you are not safe.

Find Road ID here.

For the Marathon Runner: SPIbelt ($22)

I do not have one of these, but the Running for Real Superstars Community RAVES about them and to be honest, I really need to get myself one after years of trying to stuff too many things in my sports bra or in pockets too small. One of these belts is handy for not having your possessions bounce around while you run, and this one is ideal for summer runs...or winter runs below layers.

Find the SPIbelt here.

For the Runner Who Struggles to Switch Off: Headspace Subscription ($96 for a year subscription)

I have always been someone who tries to do a million things at the same time. My mind is always running, and it is not surprising I have been through bouts of insomnia in my life (talked about working with a sleep therapist here). However, even with Bailey in the picture, although I have been able to slow those thoughts a little and be in the moment with her, I still feel overwhelmed a lot.

I was introduced to Headspace by my current therapist, after hearing people talk about it for years. I wasn't sure it would work for me, I have never been good at meditation in past, but this is just 10-15 minutes a day, and the founder, Andy Puddicome, talks you through it in such a calming, soothing voice. I have not managed to do it every day, but I have done it probably 5/7 days a week, and I really am starting to enjoy it.

Note, it is an app, so you will need to download to your phone.

Find out more about Headspace here. They also have a free 10 meditation trial.

For the Runner Who Needs a Hug: Oofos Shoes ($60-120)

I just got myself a pair of these recently as I was curious after hearing so many of my Superstars tell me that these shoes were their favorite running product. Now I have a pair, I can see how comfortable they are, and really do feel like a hug for your feet.

I am excited to wear these around as they really do feel nice on my feet, and although I try to be barefoot as much as possible, this time of's just not realistic, these are a perfect every day shoe!

I have both the flip flop (thongs) and the shoes, which is great, as I can now give my feet the recovery they deserve in winter and summer.

Find the flipflops here or the Oofos shoes here.

For the Runner You Love the Most ;) : A Sports Massage (price varies)

Who wouldn't want a sports massage? Runner or not, it feels SO good to be pampered, and if you have been stressed out by life lately (who hasn't), this is something most of us will never do for ourselves, but we would appreciate so much. It doesn't have to be a sports massage, but any kind of massage can go very far in our busy world.

If the runner in your life is training hard for a race or has just raced, this would be ideal to help them get back to feeling themselves again.



Last week's episode with Fiona Oakes 

Running for Real Superstars Community

Support Tina through her Patreon Page

Buy a Running for Real T-shirt, Tank, or Hat

Thank you to Bombas and Bodyhealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.

I absolutely LOVE these Bombas Socks, and I think it is SO COOL that they donate a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair you purchase (socks are the number one requested item from homeless shelters, but they cannot accept used pairs). Use code running4real at and you can get 20% off your first order!


Now I am back to training, guess what was the first thing I did to start making sure I recover quicker (as coming back to fitness really beats your body up!), yep, you guessed it, BodyHealth Perfect Amino! Get 10% off at using coupon code TINA10


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