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Triathletes Ultimate Gift Giving Guide


It’s no secret that triathletes need a lot of stuff for training and racing. As a long-time triathlon and running coach and athlete I have developed a list of favorites that are sure to please your triathlete for any special occasion; birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or just because. This list is chalk full of popular gadgets and must-have supplies for the triathlete or runner in your life, or yourself. This list has been conveniently divided into sections to meet anyone’s budget.

Low Cost Ideas (under $35):

Road ID ($20-35)
Safety first! Accidents are never expected…like when I was hit by a truck on my bicycle. It’s at this time I was grateful I have ID on me. Even though I was not knocked unconscious, I could have been. If you care about your loved one, buy them Road ID. This handy identification tag can let emergency personnel know who to contact and can even identify medical conditions like diabetes, asthma or medication allergies when you are not conscious to speak for yourself. This could quite literally save a life! They also have gift certificates. Check it out: Road ID Gift Cards

Basic Running or Cycling Socks ($5-22)
Check out the displays at your local running or cycling stores. You are bound to find a cute design that will bring a smile to any athletes face. Here are some of my  favorite local shops:   Bountiful Bicycle

Wasatch Running Center

RockTape

Most all athletes at one time or another have sustained some body injury.  RockTape has been a lifesaver for me with all my long course training.  I especially love all the cool prints they offer.  Check it out!

Wrist Wraps, Necklaces & Shoe charms ($10-35)
Many shoe charms can be customized with the name of a loved one to honor and wear on running shoes like many have done at the local Race For Grief event on Memorial Day  (virtual entry available). Or choose a favorite power word or saying for a wrist wrap or necklace. Check out these two great shops with lots of items to choose from:
Momentum Jewelry They also have fun themed gift boxes!
Charm Factory

Books ($15-35)
There are so many great books out there, I couldn’t even name them all, but I highly encourage you to asked your loved one and friends what they want. Or you could always buy gift certificates and they can shop for themselves. If you know they like cookbooks you might consider this one: The Feedzone Cookbook

Moderate Budget Ideas ($45 plus):

Wireless or wired Earbuds or Headphones ($20-99)
I hear good things about jaybirds wireless earbuds Jaybird Wireless Earbuds so you could look at them. If you are looking for a less expensive gift YurBuds have worked pretty well for me. Feel free to leave a comment on any you have found that are great.

Race entry ($25-125)
Any triathlete or runner would appreciate a gift race entry. Many races offer the option of getting a gift entry or gift cards. It’s the gift that gives back. Here are some of the local favorites:
Salt Lake Marathon – Use the code slcblonderunner19 to save 20%
Ogden Marathon – Look for the discount code coming out in January.
Get more race discounts


Noxgear Tracer 360 Visibility vest ($45 with code)
This is my very favorite light vest. It feels like you are having a party when you put it on and is especially great in the winter when it’s dark often. Be sure and use the code BLONDERUN to save 35%. They also have tracers for dogs!  Check it out:Tracer 360

Kodiak Cakes

Does your athlete like to bake?  Check out the great line of high protein products from Kodiak Cakes.  I particularly like their chocolate pancakes.

Running Shoes ($85-160)
As a long time runner, I can tell you there is no such thing as too many shoes. Runners need good shoes. Since shoes are highly individual I recommend getting a gift cert from local running store. One of my favorites in my area is Wasatch Running Center If you are not pleased with your current running shoes or aren’t sure what brand to look for I am personally a big fan of HOKA’s. They offer so many great shoes!

Compression Socks ($20-85)
Compression socks can really speed recovery and help prevent swelling. I really love the quality of ProCompression and they always have the cutest styles and prints. I know they have a sale going on most of the time. Check them out

Enso Roller ($52 with discount code)
Self myofascial release (SMR) techniques have been known to speed recovery. This practice increases blood flow, elongates tissue, can breakup adhesions, and release tight muscles for better posture and increase flexibility. This high quality, completely customizable roller really helps relax tired muscles and is the perfect gift. Be sure and use the discount code to save money and get free shipping. Check it out!
Learn more, read my Enso Muscle Roller Product Review.

Hire a Coach ($65 plus)
A coaches expertise is invaluable to elevate training and can be so helpful for all level of athletes. I offer one-time consultation gift certificates for $65; I also offer online training programs from 5K’s and up to Ironman events. Consultation sessions can cover swimming, cycling skills, running form, nutrition and race planning. Please inquire if you would like to learn more by messaging Coach Lora Erickson directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com or visit BlondeRunner.com

Xterra Wetsuits – Lava Pants or Shorts ($99 with code)
These buoyant pants and shorts are great for training indoor in the winter months. Especially for those new to swimming or those who struggle with kicking and their legs sink. This allows you to kick while maintaining streamline position. Use the code CO-BLONDE for 60% off (also works on wetsuits). What do you think? Xterra Wetsuits

Healthy or High Budget Ideas ($150-500 plus):


Hydration Pack ($65-200)
Running vests are particularly helpful for long runs or even hiking. One of my favorite packs is this Nathan VaporAiress Pack  It has pockets on the front with a sipper straw and magnetic button leading to the 2L hydrating sleeve conveniently tucked in special pocket. Others come with removable bottles in the front pockets. I especially love the cross-strap to keep it tight against me when I run so it doesn’t jump around. The side pockets are especially nice to carry a few extra things. This is very utilitarian. They also have many other packs to choose from.

Garmin GPS Watch ($65-$600)

While there is a large range of GPS watches I believe the Garmin brand watch is the best. GPS watches can track distance, speed and other metrics to help you train better. Prices range from $80 to $600 depending on how many bells and whistles you want. As an avid triathlete I highly recommend the Garmin 935xt with heart rate. Here is a great review that details all of the many things this watch can do. https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/03/garmin-forerunner-935-depth-review.html This is my go-to watch and always on my wrist showing me detailed metrics from current heart rate, average resting heart rate, power numbers and even tracks my sleep. Garmin also has kids watches that track exercise and allow you to set chore and health reminders. No matter the watch, you can’t go wrong with Garmin! Learn more

Garmin Bicycle Computer ($65 – $600)
For the avid cyclist in your life, I would consider gifting them a Garmin Edge computer. The different models range from $200-600 but they make a great addition to a cyclists quiver. Many are touch screen with turn-by-turn navigation and connects to a host of devices from power meters to smart light networks. This is a must have! Check out this great review from DC Rainmaker on the Garmin Edge Explore

Xterra Paddle Boards ($500 plus)
To aide your swimmers in the water and stay near them in case of an emergency I highly recommend a paddleboard. I particularly love the blow-up ones. They are very portable and easily fit into a car. Use the code CO-BLONDE for discounts. I prefer the stability of the Yoga board. Check it out 

Happy Shopping,
Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Related blog posts: Beginner Triathletes Guide to the Off Season

Salt Lake Marathon Races Discount Code

November 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Races

I love local races!  The Salt Lake Marathon, Half etc.. events are one of my favorites.  Come join the fun in 2018 and use the discount code blonderunnerslc18 for 20% off.  Share it with your friends and make it a party!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Need help with training?  Contact the Coach.  Who is Blonde Runner?

 

Salt Lake City Races – Discount Code

IG postOne of my absolute favorite races that I did this year was the Salt Lake Half Marathon in April.  It was well organized, marked well and just fun!  I love big races because you always have someone to run with.  Come join in the fun next year – they also have other race distance options.  Use the code blonderunnerslc16 to save $5, be sure and choose me from the ambassador list (Blonde Runner – Lora Erickson).  Prices go up tomorrow at midnight.  Come join in the fun!  http://www.saltlakecitymarathon.com/

Race Report: Run Down Memory Lane – Salt Lake City Half Marathon

salt lake city half marathon 4.20.2015

Many of you may have read my recent article for the Outdoor Sports Guide Magazine talking about the The Big Five – Utah’s Must-Run Marathons.  The first race I mentioned was the Salt Lake City Marathon.  There are many reasons I choose to include this event and over the weekend I had the privilege of participating in the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. I had a great experience at this well-organized event! The expo was packed with great booths and staffed well; so the lines flowed easily at packet pick-up the day before the event.  It was fun to bump into friends there and browse the booths.  The next morning I got an early start and was thrilled to see perfect temperatures for the event. Many people parked at the finish and racers bib numbers gave them a free ride on TRAX to the start.  The starting line was situated next to the University of Utah outdoor track.  It was a fun and festive environment with music, laughter, nervous excitement and lots of people.

start area corral b collage

I believe there were nearly 6,500 people participating in the 5 different event options.  The Marathon and Half Marathon participants where to start together in waves. Each runner was assigned a corral based on estimated finish time starting with A at the line and continuing back through the alphabet.  After dropping off my tagged bag I headed to my assigned corral which was B and started with the gun. Other corrals were roped off and would be started in 30 second waves. It was great to see many familiar faces at the starting line and chat for a few minutes before we began.  I especially enjoyed talking to a former teammate I ran with in college. The race started with perfect tank top running weather at 45°.  Soon the race was underway.  The 1st mile included a fairly steep hill which separated a lot of the pack.  As usual the first mile pace was fairly fast as everyone is burning up all the extra energy they have at the beginning of a race and settling into a pace.  I hit the one mile mark with a 7:07 split. The next few miles were like a run down memory lane for me. I am originally from Colorado and was recruited to run long distance for the University of Utah on athletic scholarship. My freshman year in college we used to run the same roads as I was experiencing at this time in the race on 1100 East.  It was a thrill to run down Memory Grove and truly did bring back a lot of great memories for me. The flow of people was steady and I felt like I was out on a run with a bunch of friends with all the “hello’s,”“How are you doing?” and “Hey, it’s Blonde Runner.” The great thing about participating in large events like this is you don’t have to worry about taking a wrong turn since it’s well marked and having people around keeps you motivated and it is always fun to chat a little.

Soon we found ourselves running on some of the main streets in downtown Salt Lake. There were many crowds of people cheering along the way and my ears especially peaked up when I heard familiar voices cheering “Go Blonde Runner!” and fun to see familiar faces at aid stations. The aid stations were mainly stocked with water and Powerade and volunteers were well-training and friendly.

My legs felt good and strong and my mantra for this race was to stay relaxed, be patient, run efficient and smooth and be strong. I took each mile in stride and enjoyed the experience. This was the first year I had participated in this event and it was fun to be part of such an iconic and highly anticipated event. The route toured many familiar roads and I especially love closed courses like this when we don’t have to worry about traffic.  There were many mild incline and declines to keep it interesting but overall the course was downhill. Just before mile eight there was a significant and challenging hill right after an aide station, and about another mile down the marathoners peeled off to the left and the half marathoners stayed straight. It was great to see now where I was at in the race and set my sights on passing some of the people in front of me. Soon I reached mile 10 and was reenergized knowing I only had a 5K to go. Having done hundreds of 5K’s in my life I continued to repeat my mantra in my mind and maintain good form. As I rounded the corner of the final turn and could see the finish arch in the distance I continued to push all the way through the finish and was awarded my finish medal. It was an awesome belt buckle – I love practical things. I completed the event in a time of 1:36:40 (7:23 average). I was pleased with my efforts considering I had just had knee surgery 12 weeks ago as a result of being hit by a truck on my bicycle last Fall.

leann jen collage

The finish area is always so much fun with the music and people cheering. They had an assortment of food and I loved that the finish area was only for runners. I mingled with many friends and made some new ones as I waited for many of athletes to finish. I was delighted to find out later that I had placed 2nd in my division and 3rd Overall Masters at the 2015 Utah State Half Marathon Championships. It was a great event and I won’t hesitate to participate again.

IG post

Special thanks to my sponsors, friends and family for their support: @tbrtriathlon @champsys @wasatchrunning @intermountain ‪#‎malibu_c @xterrawetsuits @drinkcocogo ‪#‎elete @bountifulbicycle ‪#‎running ‪#‎races ‪#‎athlete ‪#‎coach ‪#‎saltlakehalf ‪#‎halfmarathon #2015UtahStateHalfMarathonChampionships #roadrunnerclubofamerica #rrca

Be part of 2016!

The good news is they have a blitz going on for 2016 and you can get 45% off registration until April 26thLearn more

If you need help training for your next event (running or triathlon) please contact me at Coach Lora Erickson at theblonderunner@gmail.com I would love to help you reach your goals.

Get involved in a local charity event on Memorial Day (Monday May 25, 2015).  Learn More

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Big Five Must-Run Marathons in Utah

February 27, 2015 by  
Filed under News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews, Races

St george marathon 1996

There are so many great marathons in Utah, it was really hard to narrow it down, but I’ve noticed there are some top features that really do set some races apart from others. The marathons that have been around for a while are usually the ones that have things in common that runners really like and keep them coming back year after year. Here are the top picks in chronological order among local Utahans.

Salt Lake Marathon in April

The Salt Lake Marathon has had its fair share of twists and turns over the years with course and management changes since its beginnings in 2004, but the race has attracted some of America’s top quality racers. “Since acquiring this race just before last year’s event, Life Time Fitness has received great feedback, especially in regards to the new marathon route,” says Jennifer Nelson, one of the race organizers. “Feedback has been that it is a beautiful, challenging course.” The course takes you through some of the most iconic parts of the city starting at the Olympic Legacy Bridge at the University of Utah, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Athlete Village, and past the towering Wasatch Mountains, through Memory Grove, Sugar House and Liberty Parks until it culminates at the finish line in the heart of downtown at Washington Square. Last year, nearly 7,000 participants toured this Boston Qualifier course. It is also certified by USA Track & Field (USATF) and sanctioned through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and named a Utah State Half Marathon Championship race for the second year in a row. Divisions include open, masters and 18 age groups. They have also partnered with the Huntsman Hometown Heroes as the primary charity affiliate. They also offer a Full and Half Marathon,5K, Bike Tour (cyclists take to the closed marathon course before the runners do), Kid’s Marathon around the City Building (1K), and new this year, a 10K Skate. To learn more visit SaltLakeCityMarathon.com

Ogden Marathon in May

Locals know this race fills up fast, especially the half, so if you want to get in this event you better be ready when the registration opens. Not only is it well organized but it is a beautiful route (are you noticing a tread with good races and routes?). The Ogden Marathon was voted one of the “Top 10 Marathons in the World” by the Runner’s World Readers Poll in January 2010 and it is easy to see why. “Coined ‘Utah’s Spring Run Off’ the Zions Bank Ogden Marathon is one of the most scenic Boston Marathon Qualifiers in the country,” states race organizer Mike McBride. More recently, February 2015, Shape.com indicated that this event was the “5th Best Marathon in the Country for Beginning Marathon Runners.” So, if you are looking for a first time marathon, this is it. The course is slightly downhill with almost no uphill so it’s a perfect environment for new personal records. The Ogden Marathon is one of the most well supported races in Utah with over 1,800 volunteers on the course on race day! Participants rave about the well-executed planning and great communication this event provides. Over the 15 year history of the event; from the first event in 2001 with 650 participants, it has passed ownership to the GOAL Foundation. This year they will have a combination of over 10,000 runners made up of the full, half, relay, 5K and kids K events! Wow, I can see why they need all those volunteers! The GOAL Foundation really does aim to inspire others to “Get Out And Live!” To learn more visit OgdenMarathon.com

Utah Valley Marathon in June

If you are looking for a race with amazing scenery, you won’t want to miss the views of Deer Creek, the Provo River, Bridal Veil Falls and Provo Canyon that you can experience with the Utah Valley Marathon. It’s a beautiful course, with wonderful volunteer support! These are a few of the many reasons that this race was named the top 10 race in the country by Runner’s World Magazine. It is also a fast course. The Race Director, Hyrum Oaks says, “We commonly hear that people set their fastest times on our course, and the proof can be heard with our PR bell being constantly rung in our finish area after people set their personal best times.” They also give out Boston Qualifier shirts to runners that qualify on the course (how cool is that?). To top it off they will have Ryan Hall (the American record holder for the half marathon) coming to speak at the expo this year. It is no wonder that the race has grown from 240 participants in 2008 to over 7,000. This year they have also added a K9 Dash (5K) on Friday evening, the night before the main event. To learn more visit UtahValleyMarathon.com

Top of Utah Marathon in Sept

Living in Logan for some time as I attended Utah State University I can attest to the beauty of Cache Valley which is the location of the Top of Utah Marathon. The Marathon starts at Hardware Ranch, in the Wasatch Mountain just southeast of Logan and winds down the Blacksmith Fork Canyon’s gradual decline and then through small neighboring communities to the finish at Merlin Olsen Park in Logan. The course is a USAT&F-certified Boston Qualifier and has a net elevation drop of 1,045 feet and is getting great reviews. The race is organized well with great support and volunteers. To learn more visit TopOfUtahMarathon.com

St. George Marathon in October

Having been around for so long the St. George Marathon makes the list. This will be the 39th year of the event and holds a special meaning to me personally as it was the first marathon I ever ran back in 1996 where I qualified for the Boston Marathon. This race is especially known for being downhill and a beautiful course and I would echo many of the comments made by fellow racers; “Best organization in any marathon I’ve ran,” “Amazing supporters”, “ I love the way it is put together, the expo, the energy from the volunteers and the staff.” The event has reached such numbers that it now offers a lottery to get in. If you’re lucky enough to have your name drawn out you can experience this great course for yourself. All the amazing things I experienced many years ago are still in place, like the fires at the starting area, the great finish support and volunteer help as well as a great community feel. This race truly has a great hometown feel and there is a real sense of community when you are part of it. I don’t doubt it will be around for many more years to come. From its meager start in 1997 with 43 racers to it now nearly 7,700 that toed the line in 2014; It is no wonder they were voted the most organized marathon in the nation by Runner’s World Magazine in 2010. You simply can’t have an event continue for so long without being well organized. To learn more visit StGeorgeMarathon.com

Honorable Mentions:

Deseret News Classic Marathon – This event is well organized and is the oldest running marathon in Utah holding the first event in 1970. The prize money attracts some of the fastest runners in the country. If you are looking for good competition, this is a great event. DeseretNewsClassic.com

Big Cottonwood Marathon – So many people rave about this beautiful downhill route. If you are looking for some amazing scenery, you’ll want to check out this event. RunRevel.com

Moab Trail Marathon – We can’t leave out this Trail Marathon. If you tend to favor the trails over roads then be sure and check out the Moab Trail Marathon which captures the rugged natural beauty of Utah. They also offer a half marathon, fun obstacle 5K and kids K. MoabTrailMarathon.com

 

About the Author: Coach Lora Erickson aka “Blonde Runner” is a certified running and triathlon coach with over 30 years of athletic experience. She loves to work with all levels of athletes and trains people for all distances, in person as well as on-line. She also offers community health classes & corporate motivational lectures. To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com