Lets set things straight
I’ve never done one of these before, the annual list of products you ‘should buy’, with some affiliate links to earn me a commission. Hang on a second, thats got some potential….. damn
I should have called this the alternate gift guide. My family know gifts from me can take a while to appear, I’d rather buy or do something when true inspiration hits, rather than because I have to and spend X to get this transaction out the way. Therefore, the following isn’t a ‘if you don’t buy this you are letting people down/being a lesser human/letting anyone down’.
Far from it
Below is a list of ideas away from the socks, trainers and gels – other ways of investing legal tender or time. These aren’t the only brands/organisations/facilitators out there, so please use this as you you want, I’m not being paid, incentivised or asked to be featured.
Number 1 – this feels official all of a sudden
Founded by GB runner Dan Lawson his wife and family Charlotte, Lilly and Ruby, ReRun Clothing exists to prolong the lifespan of running kit. I’m a bad/good example of this, given I’m sent kit to review frequently and therefore, rarely does anything get the full use it should.
I’ve picked ReRun for two reasons. Firstly, if you want to treat your loved one or that person who always pips you on interval night to some kit, check out there catalogue of gear, you will find some gems for the gear nerds out there and true bargains for those running on a budget. Furthermore, you can DONATE your kit to ReRun, be it that trainer no longer works for you, the 967 race t-shirts that litter your wardrobe or that bit of kit you bought and have no reason why you did at the time, after 4 years of it sitting idle in the house.
Much like the end of year ritual, the act of giving can often feel greater than receiving and you can keep your kit out of landfill and on the trail or roads.
All details about ReRun Clothing can be found here
Number 2 – Talking of Race T-shirts
If you haven’t read my Black Friday rant where I shared the news that Tree’s Not Tees were now offering tree planting outside of race entries, then it could be worth a read.
Other than badgering your local race director and those of some of the biggest races out there to get involved and offer a Trees Not Tees donation instead of a cheap tech tee….. otherwise known as for the most part, a really untechnical t-shirt that’ll have you smelling like a fried smoked kipper within seconds of attempting any form of exercise, you can now buy a tree to be planted on their Scottish plot anytime you want.
Now, this can be done anytime of the year and for me, its instead of sending out christmas cards. For one, you aren’t sending something that’ll be binned or thrown in a recycling bin within days and a product as such that will give back with every year it grows.
As someone who spends a lot of time in my local woodland digging permissive mtb trails (yes I do other trail related activities), trees really are something special and this is an investment.
If you want to find out more about how to plant a tree click here
Number 3 – Investing in yourself
This can take many forms. From coaching, to experience days, skills courses, joining the local club or getting out with a new group of local runners. Yes, it can be a tricky one at the moment with the way the world is (lots are putting on virtual alternates) but hearing, engaging and learning from different experiences and opinions can be worth its weight in gold. It can also drag you out of a running rut, be it low motivation, a plateau in training progress or performance, better still, opening your eyes up to new terrain, adventures and possibilities.
Making the most of your time training, knowing how to effectively navigate using map and compass, becoming a more efficient runner, mountain skills…. the list can be as long as you want it to be.
Below are a list of some people I’ve been in the presence of over the past few years
Number 4 – your own adventure
When I say your own adventure, it can be a gift to yourself or running with a buddy you’ve been putting off for the past couple of years. Time spent in the company of others is under valued and I think its become more apparent this year, with many of us, me included, spending the vast majority of runs, if not all, on our own.
Nailing down a date when you are both free is often the hardest part.
Pick a location that appeals to you both, make sure you are equally prepared kit and knowledge wise and start planning. Some OS maps, Google Maps, Komoot (to get things started) and create a day or long weekend to remember.
This is how most of my mountain days occur, meeting up in car park ‘X’, running and departing. Often I won’t see that person for another year, but its a day you both look back at and start planning the next.
Number 5 – when your legs are shot, put them up
It’s movie time!
We are fortunate for a ever increasing number of film makers creating content on the trail and being commissioned by brands to capture their athletes, ambassadors and regular extraordinary folk doing things that make us want to lace up.
You live their experience, from the comfort of your sofa, brew or tipple to hand, seeing their highs and lows, the set backs and jubilation.
This year there have been some notable films released, airing at Kendal Mountain Festival (my guide here) which is live till the end of December 2020.
You can support the film makers by purchasing the films outright
Big UK epics from this summer
Totally FKT – John Kelly & Damian Hall’s epic battle on the Pennine Way – BUY HERE
Breaking 10 – Dan Lawson’s record breaking Land’s End to John O’Groats run – BUY HERE
As I said at the beginning this isn’t an exhaustive list, a paid advertisement or a you should buy these things to make people happy. These are a collection of things I think a lot of trail/ultra/mountain runners may be interested in for different reasons. Please feel free to drop me a comment below about anything you feel should be included.
Make sure you get out over the festive period to stretch your legs & I’ll see you in 2021 for more trail antics