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Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for Runners

From the WH running blog, Gotta Run!

If you’re like me, you’re a master procrastinator who’s still shopping for holiday presents. If you have runners on your list, here are my top picks for what to get them this year—or what to buy yourself with those Visa gift cards. Note: The more experienced the runner, the likelier it is that they have at least a few of these items.

imageNathan Sprint Handheld Bottle
I’ve come to love carrying my own water on runs—especially in the winter, when public fountains are turned off. This is the best water bottle I’ve ever run with, period. (Props to my colleague Meghan Loftus at Runner’s World who recommended it.) This 10-ounce capacity bottle scores points for its breathable, adjustable mesh hand strap, velcro pocket, reflective details, and attached ID/medical emergency card. Plus, the one-way drinking valve is totally genius. You can turn this baby upside down and it won’t drip.
$15, nathansports.com

imageBrooks Adapt Gloves
It’s easy to overdress for winter runs because you forget how much you warm up once you get started. These convertible gloves offer on-the-go temperature control by virtue of what Brooks calls a “stowable windshield”—an attached mitten covering that you can pull over your gloved fingers for extra warmth or tuck away in the built-in pocket. This “glitten” also offers reflective details and a flip-back thumb so you can change the song on your iPod.
$30, brooksrunning.com

imageSaucony DryLete Ponytail Headband
This sweat-wicking headband does a nice job of keeping your ears warm without causing your entire head to overheat. The cute pattern and slit for your ponytail are bonuses. Saucony also has this headband in black, minus the ponytail port.
$15, saucony.com

imageAdidas Supernova Convertible Jacket
An ingenious design: A jacket with sleeves that zip off to reveal a vest. This multitasking jacket is a go-to item when packing for trips. And if you get to warm mid-run, you can zip off the sleeves and tie them around your waist.
$80, shopadidas.com (But it’s currently on sale for $64!)

imageRoad ID Shoe Pouch
This water-resistant pouch attaches to shoelaces with a reflective velcro strap and can carry a house key, credit card, hotel key, and cash. The best part: A metal ID plate can be engraved with emergency contact information. If you’re shopping for someone else, it might be best to give them a Road ID gift card so they can personalize the ID plate themselves. Or you can get just the shoe pouch for $5.
$20, roadid.com

imageThe Stick Self-Massage Tool
Runners get tight muscles—and it feels really good to release those knots. Roll the stick along your quads, hamstrings, and calves and the spindles do the work.
$35, Amazon.com

REALLY last-minute: Gift certificates
If your don’t have time to search for these items (or wait for them to ship from online retailers), the best gift certificates you could get for runners are for their local specialty running store—that is, not sporting goods stores—or for a massage therapy practice. For the latter, it’s best to know who or where your runner gets massages, if they get them at all.

Free and meaningful: Offer to cheer for them in a race
Get creative and make your runner a “certificate” in which you promise to be their #1 spectator at their next race. Suggestions: Make a sign, shake a cowbell, and YELL!

RELATED: Women’s Health 2011 Gift Guide

Photos: Nathansports.com. brooksrunning.com, saucony.com, shopadidas.com, roadid.com, amazon.com