The 7 best rubbish things to buy a runner this Christmas

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Andy Palmer
Andy Palmer
Andy is the race director at Dorset-based White Star Running. Creator of the multi-award-winning Giants Head Marathon, Larmer and Crafty Fox races. Andy does run, despite rumours to the contrary. A runner all his life, he's just not very good at it.

Running is easy. Pop on your Nikes or Adidas or Altras or ON Clouds and out the door. Right? WRONG! WRONG and wrong again. The simplest of human movements turns into a very complex operation in our modern world.

Gone are the days when one can wax one’s handlebar moustache and knock out one’s pipe on one’s Dunlop Green Flash trainers.

First, you need to plan your route on Strava – where are the best segments? Then, it’s what to wear? Compression socks and compression pants and socks, and all the wicking clothes, BUFF and headtorches, and the plethora of kit we can choose from. Finally, you stand around in the rain waiting for a satellite to find a your Garmin.

Okay, so these items can be really helpful; wicking clothes, sports bras and decent underwear that don’t chafe your bits off are great inventions.

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However, like any big industry, running has attracted a lot of rubbish that you just don’t need. So here at Run Deep we had a root around the sales beast that is to find the very best of the worst things you can buy for runners.

Ding ding! A bell for runners?

The first – and these are in no particular order – most unessential bit of kit for running outside is… a handheld bell! Why? Why do you need this? Most bikes don’t have a bell anymore, so why do I need one to run? I am not a bike! Maybe I just shouldn’t bother with manners – ‘Excuse me, may I pass please?’ – and ding people out of the way instead. And it’s nearly £13 too! WTAF?

Light-up disco gloves

Okay, so there might be times when these are worth looking at…  you know, if you’re going to a cold rave and need warm gloves, for example. The description really sells it: “One size fits for man woman older children and outdoor activities and the battery can be replace” (sic). So if you have an indeterminate hand size, these are for you… I reckon these are just a really big distraction when you run at night.

The see-through sun hat

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Running in the summer is not always nice – ‘The sun! It burns! It burns!’ – so wear a hat to keep the sun off, right? Not with a see-through visor you won’t! It might say ‘running’ in the product title, but please don’t! Interestingly, the description says it’s suitable for golf, the beach, the casino, bingo and the swimming pool. Bingo? Really? Anyway, it’s cheap and you can choose from 10 colours.

EXTREME foam rolling fun

Torture is a something that shouldn’t be an activity we take part in willingly. These days foam rollers have gone from a long tube of hard plastic or polystyrene to what looks like something Monty Python may use… ‘No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!’ Then there’s the EXTREME ROLLER: “Experience recovery like never before – Lift heavy weights? Smash WODs? Practice yoga or Pilates? Run like Forest Gump? Play other sports? Nothing beats using this foam roller for maximum recovery through self-myofascial release.” Okay, not convinced? It’s unisex too… yep, everyone can use it. The jury is out whether foam rolling is any good, but this is just silly.

Running tunes

If you’re old like me, you will remember the Top Of the Pops albums from the 70s that featured a ‘fake singer’ banging out pop hits like Slade and the Bay City Rollers, because it was cheaper than paying full royalties for the real artist. Now you can relive that magic era with some pretty bad covers while you run.

How about ROCK? R. O. C. K. most of us a love a great bit of headbanging from time to time: ACDC, Led Zep, Queen… But now you can get some fake rock!

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Or how about picking tunes to match your heart rate? Like this 160bpm running album.

Or even the Marathon Training Chart Hits – Perfect for Jogging. Jogging! That’s you, that is: a jogger…

I will spare you the rest. Terrible is a big word, but fitting.

Tracksuits – making a comeback?

This, although not strictly running related, is a ‘tracksuit’. When I was a nipper, you would wear a tracksuit to warm up in. This is the most amazing tracksuit ever. I want one.
You want one. You need one!

Just. No. Words.

Okay, these may not be safe for work, or running, or in fact anything. But the description says: “Suitable for athletic, water sports and outdoor training, such as swimming, surfing, running, snowboarding, skiing, competition, sunbathing spring bath or sports activities, shows your beautiful curve.” They are, at time of writing, priced at 0.01p. Bargain… but I dunno, look a bit chafey? And what’s the little ring for? Hang your house key on it I suppose?

There is an alternative, if you fancy a Where’s Wally day out running.

And finally…

Actually, you can still buy Green Flash; sadly not sold in Woolworths anymore…

*Main image: photo by from Pexels

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