It’s funny how Part 2 of the Holiday Gift Guide reshuffled itself several times over the past week. A big part of that shuffling was the result of me realizing Christmas is just a week away, maybe less by the time you listen to this.
So, with that, we’ll start off with cool gifts for the last minute shopper and then talk about some cool and useful stuff that probably can’t quite make it to your doorstep in time for the big day, but make excellent gifts regardless.
Here are the products featured in part 2 of the Holiday Gift Guide:
Great gifts that can be emailed, or printed out and stuck in an envelope.
When you spend long hours in the saddle or on the run, you have to eat and you have to drink. And variety can sometimes be hard to come by, especially if you don’t live near a great bike shop. That’s where The Feed comes in. I found this site a year or so ago, and absolutely love it. Not only can you buy just about any sports nutrition or hydration product you can think of, shipping is free on orders over $49.
On top of that, The Feed always runs special promotions, and has a great habit of throwing in a free sample of something more often than not. Every box also includes a hand-written message on the inside (and the occasional lightly used sharpie, if someone gets a little careless when they close the box).
It is a great way to give the athlete in your life exactly what they like to eat, and through January 1, the feed is running a promotion with discounts of up to 20% on gift cards. Here are the discount codes:
- Save 10% on $50 gift card purchase. Code: GIFTCARD10
- Save 15% on $75 gift card purchase. Code: GIFTCARD15
- Save 20% on $100 gift card purchase. Code: GIFTCARD20
I mentioned in the last episode how much I’ve come to enjoy Zwift over the past few months. If you know a triathlete who is always riding inside and complains that they have run out of interesting movies on Netflix, Zwift might be just the ticket.
Zwift is currently selling gift cards for 3-month and 12-month memberships. The 3 month gift card is $45, and the 12-month is $180.
If your triathlete is just getting started, you might think about throwing in a Garmin ANT+ USB dongle so that the sensors on their bike can talk to the computer.
Earlier this year, my buddy Jeff launched a quarterly subscription box for runners called 5K Crate. While it’s not triathlon-centric, if you’re training right, you’re probably spending more than a third of your training time running.
5K Crate is cool because, unlike a lot of other boxes, Jeff doesn’t do nutrition products. He just sends 4-6 high-quality pieces of running gear and accessories like socks, shorts, shirts and lights from brands like Zensah, Mission, Nike, Nathan and more. You can still order the December box (photo above), but it will not arrive until after Christmas.
The per-quarter cost in $59.99 and shipping is free. Old and On Your Left listeners get 10% off your first box if they use the code “on your left” at checkout.
Right up there with Zwift on my list of go-to websites/apps is Training Peaks. Back when I was running in college, someone would give me a training diary about once a year. I would dutifully log one or two workouts and then it would end up on a bookshelf somewhere, which didn’t really accomplish much at all.
When I started working with my coach three years ago, she introduced me to Training Peaks, and I finally found a training diary that I would not only use, but obsess over. Its built-in accountability plays me like a type-A violin and drives me to complete my workouts, most of the time.
For athletes who don’t currently work with a coach, Training Peaks can help you find a coach or provide access to a large variety of training plans for triathlon distances ranging from sprint or full Ironman, as well as a ton of run, swim, bike, and strength-specific training plans.
While the free version of Training Peaks is far from stripped down, the premium version takes it to the next level and is definitely worth the money. The site offers subscriptions ranging from monthly to annual. A quarterly subscription will set you back about $50, and an annual subscription is $119. Whether you go paid or free, you simply can’t go wrong with Training Peaks.
Gift certificates are great gifts, and you don’t have to purchase them from an online retailer. I guarantee your triathlete will love a gift certificate to his or her favorite masseuse or local bike shop, and you’ll support local business.
Pro tip: if you don’t know where they go for massages or what bike shop they frequent, just ask or some advice on where you should go. They are certain to have an opinion and be more than willing to share it with you.
On the bike shop front, a gift certificate for a tune up, or a full strip down, cleaning and reassembly are can’t miss gifts.
The gifts in this section can’t be emailed, or printed out and stuck in an envelope, but they are still pretty awesome. And if you order quickly, they might even make it by Christmas.
I have always been a little skeptical of compression socks and calf sleeves, but I really love CEP’s compression socks. There are a lot of compression wear out there, but CEP, which turned 10 earlier this month, makes the absolute best socks, at least in my opinion. Sizing can be a little goofy so pay close attention to the sizing chart.
It is kind of shocking to me that I don’t already own these cookbooks. You’d be shocked too, if you knew how many cookbooks I have. But everyone I know raves about these three books by Chef Biju Thomas and Skratch Labs founder Allen Lim, The Feed Zone Cookbook, Feed Zone Portables Cookbook, and Feed Zone Table: Family-Style Meals to Nourish Life and Sport.
If all the recipes (check out some sample recipes here) are as good as the fried rice recipe I woofed down at bike camp last summer, it’s a book full of hits. A tremendous athlete we’ll interview here in the next month or so whips up recipes from the Feed Zone Portables book. Now I’m kind of hoping Santa is listening in so that this makes it onto my Christmas list.
Sometimes the best presents are ones the recipient would never think of, and this just might be one of those gifts. If your triathlete is always mixing up electrolyte drinks or recovery drinks, odds are they either have a bunch of poorly sealed ziplock pouches or gigantic plastic tubs half-full of some powder cluttering the kitchen.
Earlier this year, I bought a couple of resealable glass jars for my drink powders. Not only do they save space and keep moisture out, they also look great in the kitchen. Skratch sells a similar jar for $25, but I’ve found that a standard 35 oz resealable container holds two pounds of Skratch powder easily. The link on the site points to Amazon, where the jars are $26 for two. You can also find them at the Container Store and other physical retail stores.
My wife got tired of finding bars, gels, salt tablets and the rest of my nutrition products stuffed in random parts of the kitchen like they had been hidden by some exercise-addicted squirrel. So she gave me a big container and told me this was where I could keep my products. It has been so great that I wish I had thought of it. It keeps the kitchen – and my stuff – organized and it has made getting out the door for a workout that much faster. I couldn’t find a link similar to the container I have, but I am sure you can pick these up just about anywhere and they will still be good for holding all your random stickers.
This item comes to the list from my coach, Michelle Lake, who swears it is the best fan ever for indoor cycling. It’s compact, but it pumps out a ton of air to cool you down during indoor trainer sessions. The fan she has is $74 on Amazon. I think the fan is manufactured by Lasko, so you may be able to find a comparable fan for less, minus the Stanley badge. Either way, it is way smaller, and likely quieter, than the 24-inch fan I’ve been lugging to peoples’ garages for years.
Like the Stanley fan, this jacket is one of those items that someone, in this case my training partner Jason, insisted I add to the list. At $249, it’s pricey, but Jason calls the shakedry jacket “one of the most important items in [his] cycling wardrobe.”
Why does he love it so much? It is super packable, and easily fits in a jersey pocket. It is “surprisingly warm,” and it keeps him dry.
And he told me – although he probably doesn’t want me repeating this – that if you stupidly slice a hole in your new Gore jacket with scissors while cutting off the tags, you can patch it with duct tape, and the tape will stay on, even through “many, many washings.”
That’s it for the first annual Old and On Your Left Holiday Gift Guide. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.