Best Gifts for Runners

Best Gifts for Runners

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re either a runner looking to treat yourself or you know a runner and are looking for the best gear to gift them. (If running isn’t the sport you’re looking for, check out all our other gift guides.) Below you’ll find our top picks for runners – comfortable and durable gear made to withstand mile after mile of running.

Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Insulated Vest

Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Insulated Vest in Halo Grey colorway with reflective details.

This running vest is anything but ordinary. ColdGear® Reactor insulation helps your body adapt to the cold by providing both warmth and breathability. If that’s not enough to convince you, it also has quick-drying material, reflective details, and pockets for your necessary bring-alongs.

Though the model above is only available in men’s sizes, we do have a women’s fleece vest from Under Armour that’s worth checking out! (Don’t worry; it still has pockets!)

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

Women's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 in University Red colorway with black Swoosh outlined in gold sequins.

All the shoes in the Nike Zoom family are pretty great, but the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is one of the most popular models and for good reason! The mesh-and-synthetic upper features more perforations across the high-heat areas of your feet to increase breathability, and exposed Flywire cables add a secure fit. Last but not least, iconic Zoom Air runs throughout the entire length of the shoes providing smooth comfort to your stride.

Available in both women’s and men’s sizes, these shoes are definitely a winning gift to either give or get.

Nike Wild Run Shield Jacket

Defy the weather in style with the Nike Shield Jacket. Weather-resistant fabric blocks out wind and rain so that you can keep after it even in stormy weather, and reflective graphics on the front and back pop when hit by the light, helping you stand out during low-light runs.

The Nike Shield Jacket is available in styles for both men and women.

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit shoe in Dark Grey, Bright Crimson, Pure Platinum colorway.

The Nike Joyride shoes are one of a kind in both look and feel, making them a great gift option. They’re described as having small bean bags under your feet, and when you lace ‘em up for your first run, you’ll understand why. They’re so comfortable, and the four “bean bags” are filled with tiny foam beads that move and conform around your foot as pressure is dispersed during your stride.

These unique and innovative running shoes are available for both men and women.

Nike Glam Shorts

The Glam Shorts feature many of the same great features as other Nike running shorts including the quick drying Dri-FIT technology and 3” inseam for ultimate mobility. But what makes these shorts special is the design. Taking inspiration from the sport of basketball, these running shorts have wide mesh panels near the bottom for even more breathability and a slightly thicker waistband.

Sorry, men, these Glam shorts are only available in women’s sizes, but if you’re looking for a new pair of running shorts consider these 5” Challenger Brief Shorts from Nike.

adidas Ultraboost 19

Women's adidas Ultraboost 19 in an all white colorway.

The Ultraboost 19 running shoes have 20% more Boost (adidas’ most responsive midsole cushioning) than the previous model. But that’s not the only reason to buy these running shoes. Take the upper for example: It’s made from a seamless Primeknit material, so you know you have breathable and durable comfort. And the outsole is made from Continental™ Rubber to provide phenomenal traction in all weather and on all surfaces.

These ultra-responsive running shoes are available in men’s and women’s sizes and are sure to give your running the boost you need to hit that new PR.

Nike Wild Run Midlayer Long-Sleeve Top

Men's Nike Wild Run Midlayer Long-Sleeve Top in Pale Ivory/Game Royal/Black colorway.

As the weather turns cooler, you start considering putting on another layer before heading out the door for your run. Which sounds like an easy enough decision, but what can you wear that won’t cause your body to overheat, won’t weigh you down, and won’t hinder your movements? This Dri-FIT midlayer top from Nike checks all those boxes offering safety and warmth from wind and rain. The front and back panels are water and wind resistant while the knit sleeves provide added warmth.

The Nike Glam Midlayer Long Sleeve Top for women is a little different but still helps you run comfortably in cool weather with mesh panels for ventilation and a brushed knit fabric for warmth.

Brooks Revel 3

Men's Brooks Revel 3 running shoes in the Green, Red, Silver colorway.

Meet the newest running shoes from Brooks – the Revel 3. The sleek design on the upper gives it a more versatile look from the traditional running shoe silhouette, so that even before or after running you can wear it around enjoying the casual look. Not only will they look great with whatever you pair it with, but it feels great on your foot with an inner bootie designed to provide a secure fit. The last level of comfort is found in the midsole cushioning that adapts to your specific running stride to provide the perfect amount of protection.

These neutral, road-running shoes are available for men and women.

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6

Women's HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 in the Poppy Red/Cactus Flower colorway.

As with previous Clifton models that have come before it, the 6 continues to provide a lightweight and comfortable fit with the signature midsole cushioning, full-ground contact, and zones of high-abrasion rubber on the outsole. Plus, this new update features an embroidered design on the outside of the mesh upper to provide a secure fit without any added weight and bulk.

Perfect for road runs, these shoes can be found in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Nike Tempo UNI PR Shorts

These shorts are a staple for female runners. Made with Dri-FIT technology throughout and mesh fabric on the sides, you’ll stay cool and dry during your entire run. And with built-in briefs and a 3” inseam you’ll experience a full range of mobility so that you can run with ease.

Although the Tempo UNI PR Shorts are only available in women’s sizes, we do offer plenty of Nike running shorts for men!

4 Reasons to Buy the Brooks Ghost 12

4 Reasons to Buy the Brooks Ghost 12

Brooks Ghost 12 running shoes placed on rocks outside.

Colors: Navy and Deep Water

If you’re going to buy a new pair of running shoes, it’s best to get an expert’s opinion, which is why we talked with David Ribich and Katie Mackey, two members of the Brooks Beasts Track Club, to get their thoughts on the new Ghost 12. As professional athletes, these two know what they’re talking about, so without further ado, here’s four reasons to buy the new Brooks Ghost 12 running shoes.

1. There’s no break-in time required.

If you’ve done your fair share of running, you’re familiar with the break-in process of shoes. It usually takes a couple days of wearing them around the house before they feel comfortable enough to run in. Right out of the box, shoes can often be stiff and harsh on your feet but not the Ghost 12s. This is because of the unique upper made from engineered mesh and Brooks 3D Fit Print which uses a screen-printing process to add strategic stretch for a seamless structure.

“They form to your foot,” David said. “They’re one of those shoes you put on and don’t have to get the blisters or the sore feet. They feel good right off the rip.”

2. It has a perfect balance of cushioning.

As mid-distance runners, both Katie and David want some cushioned comfort but also want structure to keep their paces up. With durable cushion near the heel and a more responsive layer near the forefoot, the Ghost 12’s dual cushioning gives runners a just-right feel.

“The Ghost is the shoe I do the majority of my training miles in because it’s a good, cushioned, neutral running shoe,” Katie said. “It gives protection to my feet when I’m pounding out all my base miles.”

3. It’s versatile for miles.

Designed with traction pads for durability, lightweight mesh for speed, and responsive cushioning for comfort – these shoes are ready for anything, and both Katie and David testify to this point.

“Whether it’s for a 40-minute run, or a 16-mile run, the Ghosts are my shoes,” David said.

“It’s lightweight enough that I can hop into a hill workout on the roads or do a quality long run in it,” Katie said. “And sometimes I use it in place of a training flat.”

4. It’s got a good record.

The Ghost shoes have been renewed 12 times with slight changes throughout the years to make each rendition better than the last. So, if you liked a previous version of the Ghost, chances are you’ll love the Ghost 12. In a sport where minimal gear is required, it’s best to know that you can count on your shoes to be the best at what they do – enhancing your run and protecting your feet. The Ghost 12s will do just that.

“The Ghosts have come a long way. I remember running in the Ghost 10 in college,” David said. “They’ve gotten incrementally better.”

To shop all other Brooks running shoes, check out eastbay.com.

Best Cross Country Shoes for Practice and Competition

Best Cross Country Shoes for Practice and Competition

As you head back to the course this cross country season, not just any shoes will do. You need the best gear possible to help you leave your legacy in the record books. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best cross country shoes of the season. So, whether you compete in spikes or flats or just need a new pair of shoes for practice, eastbay.com has the best gear from top brands. So, get ready for your best season yet!

COMPETITION SPIKES AND FLATS:

When it comes to shoes for race day, you want to make sure they’re light as can be with ultimate traction to grip the surface of the cross country course, whether you’re running on grass, gravel, or dirt.

1. Nike Zoom Victory XC 5

Colors: Black, Metallic Silver, Black

Take on tough courses with these cross country shoes. Multilayered, translucent mesh provides a lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant upper that stays snug on your foot throughout the race. The spiked version has a carbon fiber plate in the midfoot to enhance stability and support and features rubber heel pods, extra lugs, and six spike pins on the outsole to give you multisurface durability and aggressive traction. The waffle version of these shoes sports a CushIon midsole for lightweight, responsive cushioning and an all-rubber outsole for gripping traction.

2. Saucony Havok XC2

Colors: Black and Green

These cross country shoes are a great option for varsity runners. Both versions are made with a seamless sock-like upper with FLEXFILM overlays to provide an enhanced fit without adding extra bulk. While both versions feature a full carbon rubber outsole, the spiked version also features a six-pin Pebax® plate to keep you leading the pack on aggressive terrain.

3. New Balance XC Seven V2

Colors: Black and White

These shoes combine the lightweight cushioning of elite racing shoes with a more traditional fit and extra protection, making them a perfect choice for new racers. An engineered knit upper provides lightweight structure while unique midsole cushioning gives a responsive feel underfoot. Finished off with a lugged rubber outsole and six removable spikes, these shoes provide superior traction on every type of course.

4. Nike Zoom Rival XC

Colors: White, Black and Atmosphere Grey

These shoes look as fast as they feel with a multilayered mesh upper featuring striped skin overlays. Both versions are great, affordable options for cross country shoes with lightweight, responsive cushioning in the midsole and an anatomical rounded heel to roll with the ground. The spiked version has strategically placed lugs on the perimeter of the outsole to enhance grip in all conditions, while the spikeless version features a waffle plate with a rubber outsole for traction.

5. Saucony Carrera XC4

Colors: Black and Slime

Even the best can get better, and these racing shoes are proof of that. A fully engineered mesh upper features ISOFIT that adapts to the shape and motion of your foot for a secure fit. The midsole is made from a super light, high-abrasion foam to increase durability without weighing you down. The spiked version features a durable rubber outsole with a six-pin Pebax® spike plate that provides unrelenting grip for your fastest race yet.

PRACTICE FLATS:

Built for training, preparing for race day, and beating your PR, these shoes are guaranteed to get you closer to annihilating your goals.

1. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

Colors: Phantom, Riderock, Electric Green and Moon Particle

These running shoes are exactly what you need to get your practice miles in throughout the week. They feature a slimmer design than the last Pegasus model with less weight in the tongue and heel collar. The upper is made from engineered mesh, and the midsole features a full-length Zoom Air unit along with CushIon foam to provide responsive cushioning.

2. Saucony Type A8

Colors: White, Black and Citron

These versatile running shoes have an engineered mesh upper with FLEXFILM overlays to provide a seamless sock-like fit. A super light midsole gives rebound while you run, and a carbon rubber outsole provides durable traction so that you can comfortably put in many practice miles before the big race.

3. New Balance 1500 V5

Colors: White and Neon Emerald

Designed for aggressive road runs, these shoes promise speed and support. The upper is made of breathable mesh to keep your feet feeling fresh, and the midsole sports responsive cushioning to keep your steps light and springy.

Benefits of a Running Team, According to the Brooks Beasts

Benefits of a Running Team, According to the Brooks Beasts

In order to be the best in a conventional sport like running, sometimes it takes an unconventional method like runners training together instead of one-on-one with a coach.

“In the past, the sport revolved around this idea that you need to be selfish with blinders on,” said Danny Mackey, head coach of the Brooks Beasts Track Club. “Part of our team’s narrative is proving that a group of track athletes can function as a team and win global medals. It’s very different from other groups. It’s not just a group wearing the same jersey logo but practicing together to help each other become better.”

This idea of not just having a team to run with on race day, but to train with on a daily basis is still not very common in the professional running world.

“In high school and college, you have a team environment, but when you become a pro, there’s not many opportunities to score as a team, so it becomes really individualized,” said Katie Mackey, a Brooks Beast who specializes in the 1500m and 5K. “The Beasts team recreates that college atmosphere – living, training, and having fun together. If it wasn’t for the Beasts, I don’t think I’d still be running professionally.”

Brooks Beasts Track Club Girls Running

To Danny, the idea of training as a running team versus training individually is a no-brainer since it provides athletes with benefits they wouldn’t otherwise receive – the biggest one being the camaraderie they develop during training that carries over to race days.

The Beasts like to think of themselves as a wolf pack – individually strong but able to succeed in attacking larger targets when they work together. And succeed, they have. The Beasts compete at top events across the world, and just this past year, they set a world record for the men’s indoor 4xMile.

This success is due in part to a team atmosphere that provides the culture, challenges, and community the runners need in order to thrive.

A Culture To Succeed In

The culture of a team can be described as the unifying characteristics of the group. This is just as important as the individual athletes because without a unifying element, there is no team.

“We like to have fun, but when it comes to racing, we’re very serious and have huge goals,” Danny said.

Since the beginning, Danny’s tried to create a unique culture with a lively, uplifting, and competitive tone and to instill the importance of this into the Beasts.

“The culture is super important because when we hit rough patches, the team can get out of them quicker by helping each other rather than solely relying on me,” Danny said.

Like many organizations, the culture begins from the top and trickles down to affect every aspect of the team.

“It starts with me to a degree,” Danny said. “If you picture bumpers when a little kid is bowling, that’s kind of like my job – to keep the team in the lane, culture-wise. But if you have one person that’s not committed, it can eat away at the entire team culture, so credit also goes to the individual athletes.”

Through his coaching, Danny has ingrained the importance of that culture into his team.

“When we’re recruiting people, we look for somebody who fits the mold of our team,” said Henry Wynne, a Brooks Beast who specializes in the 1500m. “Obviously, we want someone who runs fast, but we also want somebody who works hard and isn’t selfish. Team is the most important thing to us.”

Marta Pen Freitas, who runs the 800m and 1500m for the Beasts, has only been with the team for six months, but even she clearly understands the importance of the team culture and doesn’t take it for granted.

“To have a good culture takes work from each person,” Marta said. “It doesn’t just happen. We have meetings to build that culture to try to be good teammates and support each other. It’s something that immediately attracted me to this group.”

Brooks Beasts Track Club Team Training

Challenges To Grow From

Not only does the team provide a thriving culture for the Beasts, it also provides them with unique challenges that allow them to grow.

From a coaching perspective, having a team of runners allows Danny to train them together as opposed to creating separate workouts for individual athletes. Though the Beasts don’t always compete in the same event, Danny will often have the them run together during practice.

“I have them run together to imitate the pressure of championship races where the competitors are literally shoulder to shoulder while running,” Danny said. “I want them aware of their surroundings.”

“It brings the best out of everybody,” Henry said. “When you’re feeling tired and hear someone breathing on your shoulder, that competitive nature flares up — no way you’re going to let that person pass. Then, during a big championship race when someone comes up on your shoulder, you tell yourself, ‘I’ve done this a million times in practice.’ So, you dig in deep and don’t let him pass.”

From an athlete’s perspective, team training can be beneficial for runners because it gives them the opportunity to challenge, inspire, and encourage each other.

“Seeing your teammates out there ripping it up and running extremely fast times pushes you to become better,” said Josh Kerr, a 1500m Brooks Beast. “You say to yourself, ‘I can do that. I’ve been doing the same training as them.’”

“Living in Seattle, most of the time it’s raining, and some days it’s hard to get up early in the morning to run, but having people hold you accountable to train with them every single day makes it easier to get out the door,” Henry said. “Nobody lets you slack.”

But encouraging and challenging each other doesn’t just happen at practice. The Beasts constantly push each other to keep going and not give up.

“Everyone encourages each other and builds each other up, and that’s not something you can find in every team,” Katie said. “We’re with each other in the highs — like watching a teammate run a PR, but we’re also with each other in the lows — like my teammate sitting next to me when I missed making the U.S. team by one spot. We’re on this roller coaster together.”

“You’re not going to have a great day every day, no one does,” Marta said. “But being surrounded by a team helps. They help remind you why you’re here.”

A Community To Belong To

The running community is a special niche group of people who understand each other’s passion and can relate to both the highs and lows of being a runner.

The Beasts acknowledge the importance of this community and hope to be bright lights within it.

“What makes the Brooks Beasts unique is our mission to give back to the community,” Katie said. “In Seattle, we have an open environment for runners who come into the city for competitions or training camps, and at meets, athletes gravitate toward our team. They’ll hop in with us while we train, and it’s totally accepted.”

Besides being a part of this larger running community, the Beasts, with their unique culture, have integrated a family vibe. This tight bond is vital to the team’s success.

“If you look at special forces, there’s a reason why platoons are a certain size, because you want that family dynamic, that camaraderie,” Danny said.

Brooks Beasts Track Club Running As A Group

The Beasts know that the team is more than just competing together on race days. It means having each other’s backs and knowing they’ll have yours.

“We compete for the same spots on the U.S. team and our jobs are on the line, but there’s enough room for us to be on the podium together,” Katie said. “We’re here to build each other up, be family, and compete against other top athletes.”

“At races everyone is fit and trained professionally, so it’s the little things that make the difference – being surrounded by a healthy environment, learning to take risks,” Marta said. “Having a team’s support gives me that extra step I need to be able to achieve something great. I’m in a prosperous environment. I can take risks and grow from them because my team is here to support me, not judge me. I cannot stress how important that is.”

In one weekend, one person may be racing in China, while another races in Belgium, and somebody else is in LA,” Henry said. “It can get lonely traveling by yourself, but you know you have your team. When you finish a race, whether it went well or not, you have text messages from 12 people giving you support.”

Danny is more than willing to lend a listening ear if an athlete wants to talk, but he explains that having teammates allows them to empathize with each other and further build the team chemistry.

“It’s a different perspective when you talk to a teammate,” Danny said. “They’ve experienced what you’re going through and can encourage you to keep going.”

The Brooks Beasts are proof that training as a team is beneficial to all athletes. And as runners across the globe prepare to leave their mark on the world’s biggest stage in 2020, the Beasts are training together hoping to make it in the mix.


For more on the Brooks Beasts check out our other blog posts and YouTube series.

5 Warmup Do’s and Don’ts from Katie Mackey

5 Warmup Do’s and Don’ts from Katie Mackey

Katie Mackey is a member of the Brooks Beasts Track Club. Her most recent accomplishment was placing second at the 2019 USATF Indoor Championships 3000m.

Katie Mackey Story Image

DON’T consider skipping your warm-up.

Katie says, “As you move during warm-up exercises, a little bit of fluid gets in between your joints, helping lubricate and protect them. If you just get off the couch and start sprinting, your body isn’t prepared and you’re more likely to hurt yourself, but by gradually warming up, you reduce your chances of injury.”

DO consider skipping during your warm-up.

After your opening exercises you should feel loose and ready for a bit more dynamic activity. Skipping is a step above walking and stretching and a step below running – a versatile, dynamic warm-up activity.

Katie gives two reminders regarding skipping drills:

  1. “Make sure you land with your whole foot on the ground and that you’re not just coming down on your toes. You want to feel the rolling through the foot motion, which is important because it affects how everything moves all the way up.”
  2. “Make sure your arms are relaxed and that you’re tall through the torso.”

DON’T ignore your body.

Katie says, “Mentally go through a checklist and take note if you feel any weird pinching or if there’s a particular motion that causes an unusual reaction. If you do feel anything unusual that’s a good indication that maybe you should take a minute to stop and do a few specific stretches targeted at that muscle area until it feels normal. Your body will give you a lot of useful clues for preventing injury and staying healthy, if you’re listening.”

DO work out with a friend.

Consider doing stretches one at a time with your workout partner so they can watch your form and give feedback.

Katie says, “They’ll be able to spot stuff that looks wonky that you may not pick up on. There’re times my technique is getting a bit sloppy and my teammate will walk by and point something out to improve. You don’t get those benefits training by yourself.”

DON’T forget why you run.

Katie says, “I always feel better after a run. We live in a culture where there’s distraction at your fingertips, so to get out there and totally shut off all distraction is just relaxing. I never return from a run and regret it.”

For more about the Brooks Beasts and why they run, check out the Run Like A Beast video series.

A Running Coach’s Perspective

A Running Coach’s Perspective

In 2013, Danny Mackey was hired as head coach of the newly formed Brooks Beasts Track Club in Seattle.

With years of experience as a competitive runner and a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics, Danny’s earned the respect of his team with his knowledge of science and sport.

“I’m not a scientist; I majored in Econ,” joked Henry Wynne, a 1500m Brooks Beast. “The science stuff is Danny’s job, but I trust him enough to train hard and give my best.”

“When an athlete asks Danny why we’re doing something, it’s not just, ‘Because you’re told to.’ He knows exactly why we’re doing this and working on that,’” said Josh Kerr, a 1500m Brooks Beast. “It makes you much more confident.”

Danny’s training methods work on holistically improving his athletes so that come race day, they are the best version of themselves: strong, fast, passionate runners ready to win.

Coach Danny in weight room

Train Strong.

Throughout his coaching career, Danny’s noticed that many runners don’t implement strength training into their workouts. But he believes strength training is critical for professional runners for multiple reasons.

“The first thing strength training helps with is injury prevention,” Danny said. “Running is very hard on your body. So if there’s a weak link in the chain, it’ll come up at some point, and something will get hurt. But when you’re structurally stronger, you can handle an 8-mile tempo run like our team does.”

“The other main reason for strength training is that there is a direct performance benefit because you’re able to generate more power,” Danny said. “Every race comes down to a kick, the last centimeters, and being in the weight room helps you build strength to generate power to sprint.”

Before he turned professional and began training with Danny, Kerr didn’t regularly integrate strength training into his workouts. Now, after joining the team and implementing Danny’s advice, Kerr is convinced that strength training is crucial for professional runners.

“It really does make you feel more stable and stronger,” Kerr said. “It’s definitely a beneficial part of our program, and I think we have the lowest injury rate among the professional teams because of that strength program.”

“I encourage people to just start somewhere, even if you’re just in there for 10 minutes,” Danny said. “Anything will help.”

Coach Danny and team huddle

Train Smart.

As mentioned earlier, races come down to who has the endurance and speed to give a little extra oomph during the final stretch. Altitude training helps professional athletes gain that edge above their competitors by increasing the efficiency of their run. *

For the Beasts this means heading to altitude camp in Albuquerque which is at an average elevation of 5, 312 feet above sea level.

“We usually head to altitude camp twice a year for like four weeks, and that’s enough time to gain the benefits,” Danny said. “Now, one of the simple benefits is gaining time in a hypoxic state which just means there’s less air available to breathe.”

Since air gets thinner and air pressure drops as your go higher, your body works harder for each breath you take.

“This causes stress in your body and an increase in red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body,” Danny said. “So when you go down to sea level to race, you have the ability to carry more oxygen, which should translate to being able to run faster.”

Coach Danny running

Train Because ______  .

Seeing the bigger picture is an important part of distance running, both during competition and during training. Danny has woven this idea into the Brooks Beast culture so that both he and the team remember why they run.

“The team is big on finding your narrative and what story you’re writing day-to-day,” Danny said. “When that’s happening, you can get more out of your body.”

Every runner has a reason why they run – to win, to feel good, to look good, etc. Danny is no exception.

“I run for a couple reasons, one is because I’m big on raw and simple,” Danny said. “You can run anywhere, and all you need is a pair of shoes and two articles of clothing, three if you include socks.”

“Another big reason I run is to challenge myself,” Danny said. “Having milestones is a basic human need, something to strive for and try to achieve. When I get home from a run, I’m proud, and no one can take that away from me.”

The last reason Danny gives for running is the mental health benefits.

“Running is a meditative thing for me,” Danny said. “When I’m running with no music, just breathing, I’m aware of what my body’s doing. I’m in a better state to be a better coach and a better friend. All of those other things happen because of running.”

Why do you run? Share your story on social media using #WhyIRun. To find out why the rest of the Brooks Beast team runs, check out the Run Like A Beast video series.

*It is important to note that without proper preparation altitude training can be dangerous, so be sure to consult professionals before engaging in activity at higher elevations.