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Last minute gift ideas for your athlete

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A new bike is always a very, very, very good option.

With three more shopping days before Christmas, it's hard to know what to get your favorite athlete.  If you've been hitting your head against the wall trying to figure out what your beloved fitness fanatic is hoping for on Christmas Day, we've done our best to give you the top ten things athletes want this Christmas, big and small.  Athletes, feel free to forward this on to anyone who might need just a little help.

10) A TRX system.  The hottest thing for strength training is suspension - yes, suspension.  Easy to use in small spaces, this system helps increase core strength and promote muscular balance.  "The system makes body weight training harder, and it doesn't take a lot of space, so  great for someone to work out in their home, or on the road.  It's great for runners and triathletes who need to get some functional, intense training  without a lot of gear," explains personal trainer Noby Takaki.  $189 for the Suspension Training Pro Pack, www.fitnessanywhere.com 

9) Arm warmers.  Our favorite was the Sugoi Jail House Arm Warmers.  www.sugoi.com, $40

8) Yak Trax.  Keep running outside this winter without worrying about icy conditions.  These spring coils go right around your shoes and keep you safe.  www.yaktrax.com, $30

7) Massage.  Most spas and rehab offices offer gift certificates for massage.  Your athlete will love you.

6) Garmin 310XT.  This watch is not only a GPS device, but is waterproof for up to 50 feet, and allows you to work in a multisport mode, so you can easily move from swimming to biking to running without much effort.  Includes heart rate, and virtual pacer options, so you can race your pacer whenever you like.  And, it all downloads easily to your computer so you can keep track of your routes, pace, heart rate, etc.  A great gift for a very special athlete. www.garmin.com $349.99

5) Coaching.  Renee Schneidewind, President of Max Multisport, and USA Triathlon Level 2 Coach, explains that gift certificates can be a great way to give the gift of fitness to a loved one. "These certificates can be used for multisport assessments, metabolic or V02 assessments,  private coached sessions, or can be applied to a monthly coaching program."  www.maxmultisport.com

4) Camelbak Podium Chill Water Bottles.  These bottles are insulated, and really do keep your fluids cool in the summertime. Not that we'll need that for awhile!  www.rei.com , $12

3) A foam roller.  OK, so it won't fit in a stocking, but if your athlete doesn't have one, he or she will love you (or hate you) for it.  Go for the premium rollers that won't lose their shape for a few more dollars, like the Premium Eva Roller at www.power-systems.com, $35

2) "Compression  anything", says Ironman athlete Cecilia Brunetti.  From socks to tops to tights, compression everything just makes you feel better.  There are many on the market, from the CW-X Stabilyx Tight, to recovery tights from 2XU and Skins.  They'll run typically from $95-$150 and you'll definitely need to know your athletes size to make the tights work like they should.  Don't know the size, or are nervous about buying your athlete something so "form fitting"?  Socks will run you much less, and are made by all the above companies, but also Sugoi and Adidas, so you'll easily find them.  Most socks will run you $40-$50 so they're also a little easier on the wallet.

1) A gift of giving.  At the end of the day, your athlete is grateful they are able to participate in endurance sports.  After all is said and done, a charitable gift in the name of your athlete is the most meaningful.  Endurance athlete Jason Sissel has created Endure to Cure; a charity to help organizations that research and help treat pediatric cancer and pediatric cancer patients. Make your donation at: www.enduretocure.org


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