Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 Triathlete Gift Guide- These are a few of my favourite things

Well Christmas is little more than a month away and Black Friday is just around the corner.  I guess its that time for us all to be looking for gifts for the special endurance athlete in our lives.  If there is any upside at all to be the loving partner of someone addicted to swimming, biking, and running for hours on end, its that there is no shortage of toys and trinkets to put under the tree for them.

So without further ado, here are a few great gift ideas for the endurance athlete in your life.

The Swimmer

Stocking Stuffer- Aqua Sphere Kayenne Goggles- This is a great all round set of goggles that are a great replacement for the old Speedos that everyone seems to have.  The sleek profile of the goggles that comes fairly flush with the face from the bottom of the forehead to the top of the cheekbones gives the same sort of functionality of heavier bulkier goggles, without the same sort of mass.  The side buckles also make it one of the easiest goggles to adjust on the fly.  Available for about $40.

Problems counting? This will help
Stocking Stuffer- Sportcount Lap Counter and Timer- Ever go for a swim and in the middle of a set think to yourself "Did I just count my eleventh 50m? Or is this my eleventh?"  And then you end up doing your eleventh rep twice, and then later on you're pretty sure you did you eighteenth twice as well, and on and on until by the end of the workout you're pretty sure you swam and extra 300m?  Well this little gadget is here to save triathletes everywhere from our own poor counting skills.  At about $45 it might seem like a bit much to pay for not being able to properly keep track of your laps, but I've got to admit, I'd use it.

I've been nice- Garmin Swim Pool Watch- Pushing the little button on the Sportcount Lap Counter seem like too much trouble?  Try the Garmin Swim and stop counting the laps altogether!  Honestly though this does seem like a very useful tool, using an accelerometer similar to that found in an iPhone, rather than GPS, this watch can accurately identify and count your strokes, distance, pace, etc.  Just tell it the length of the pool and it does the rest of the work.  I like this item because it provides the same type of technical feedback we're accustomed to with a GPS run watch, and maybe even a little more.  Retailing at around $160 this is a pretty good pickup for the technical minded triathlete.

Honourable Mention- H2O Audio Interval 4 Waterproof System.

The Cyclist

Stocking Stuffer- Wahoo Fitness iPhone Key- Cyclists are all about gadgets and toys.  So it only makes sense that a device be available that can connect all the electronic gadgets in a cyclist's aresenal, with their iPhone or iPad.   There are over a hundred apps available from the iTunes store that read data from ANT+ gadgets like power meters, heart rate straps, speed/cadence sensors, gym scales, but Apple devices don't have native ANT+ functionality built it.  Enter this little dongle that allows your iPhone to communicate with all those great toys.  This one also ties into one of the next items I've put on the list down below and it retails for $60 but you'll probably have to find it online rather than in the local shop.

Stocking Stuffer- Filzer Torque Wrench- Okay this isn't exactly stocking stuffer cheap, but this is triathlon, what else is new?  But this awesome Torque Wrench set available at MEC for just over $100 will definitely fit into a stocking.  This is an absolute must for any serious cyclist who does even minor adjustments on their bike.  When out on the road its extremely that after servicing or adjusting your bike you get the torque settings properly set.  Bolts that are too tight risk damaging your precious carbon bike frame, and bolts that are too loose risk coming out and can put the rider in serious jeopardy in the event of failure while riding.

Tacx Bushido with iPad functionality this Feb
I've been really nice- Tacx Bushido Trainer- I've been riding the Tacx Bushido for about a year now and I've got to say its a fantastic trainer.  Its not cheap retailing at about $900, but its a great piece of equipment.  The self powered trainer uses a clever break system to create resistance allowing you to specify your target power output with excellent accuracy, or simulate different grades of incline using the computer that it comes with.  Its not without some bugs right now and the computer is a little touchy, but they're moving the software forward and you can now couple the ANT+ trainer to your own power meter allowing 100% accuracy in the power/resistance settings.  This February they'll also be releasing software that will allow you to use your iPad to create workouts and courses, and control your entire ride.

Honourable Mention- Garmin Edge 500, CycleOps Powertap.

The Runner

Stocking Stuffer- Lululemon Run Gloves- If you don't have a pair of these already and have an avid runner in your circle, I really suggest you grab a pair for the perfect stocking stuffer.  There are a few variations of these, some thicker than others, but what I really like about these run gloves is that they allow for quite a bit of tactile mobility and they're pretty slim.  What I mean by that is that they aren't so cumbersome that you can't reach into your pocket to grab your phone or grab a gel without pulling the pocket inside out.  They've also got touch screen friendly finger tips, which work great and allow you to change the track on your iPod, or answer a call on your iPhone.  Available for men and women at Lululemon of course.

Garmin FR10
Stocking Stuffer- Garmin Forerunner 10- It seems my idea of a stocking stuffer is a bit skewed, you can either get the runner in your life some good Running Room socks as a stocking stuffer, or you can get them this awesome Garmin run watch.  The Forerunner 10 is much smaller and more colourful than the typical Forerunner 305, 310xt, and 910xt and when you run with the local run group you won't scream triathlete (unless you want to).  With features like the Virtual Pacer and your standard GPS run watch functionality coupled with the ability to use it as a normal day use watch, this is one you may want to leave on your wrist.  Available for around $150 in Canada.

I've been really really nice and have never missed a run- Garmin Forerunner 610- A touch screen run watch with built in ANT+ functionality that doubles as a day to day watch? Yes please.  Runner minded features like a Run/Walk reminder and one touch screen changes for different data displays are great touches (no pun) that set this watch apart from others.  That being said, at the end of the day this watch doesn't do a tonne more than a watch like the FR10, but it just looks really cool.

Honourable Mention- Any foam roller, The Stick, or a Garmin 310xt.

Thats all for now

Thats all for now but look forward to another roundup of gifts for the general athlete in your life coming next week.  If there's anything you'd like to see feel free to ask a question in the comments section!


  1. These are all really great gift ideas! If anyone in Alberta/Canada needs help finding a Stick, please let me know.

  2. once a runner is always a runner