Holiday Gifts to Delight Your Triathlete

6. Focus the vision.

When spring comes, we'll all be headed back to the open water. Equipment that worked great in the lap lane suddenly has disadvantages in the lake or ocean. Goggles are prime examples.

Lens colors that work great to see the lane don't work well in murky water when the sun starts to rise. FINIS offers a line of polarized lens to allow a swimmer to focus on swimming and not looking out for a boat. FINIS Surge Goggles are available for $40.

7. Beef up the bike.

To stay in the hunt for a good finish time, every triathlete needs a good bike leg. When the days shorten, outdoor biking opportunities quickly wane. This means your triathlete will be spending a lot more time cycling indoors.

If you really like your triathlete, a wattbike at $3,000 would be an amazing gift. Developed in partnership with the British Cycling Federation, the wattbike delivers the durability of a stationary bike with the performance of one of the most advanced, factory-calibrated power meters. Not only will the user build strength and endurance, but will also develop a more efficient pedal stroke as a result of the advanced feedback.

There are a lot of other similar trainer-based systems on the market. This equipment provides not only more benefits, but avoids killing the stiffness of an expensive tri bike before the outdoor season even begins.

Once the ice melts and the sun returns, bikes will be back on the road. If you didn't get the Wahoo Run/Gym pack above, consider the bike pack. This package includes a weather-proof case that mounts the iPhone to the bike handle bars and includes a built-in Wahoo ANT+ Key. Your triathlete will be able to watch stats from every ANT+ compatible instrument on their bike—speed, cadence, power, heart rate—and track their GPS coordinates through their phone.

8. Relax the run.

The spirit of Born to Run continues to radically reshape the running shoe market. With minimalist running shoes, more is less when it comes to safely putting miles on your body. However, it takes time for muscles and foot bones to strengthen enough to run in shoes like Vibram's Five Fingers.

Two new releases on the market, Altra Zero Drop Shoes ($100) and SKECHERS GORun ($80) make nice shoes to either dial down the cushioning or help speed the transition to something even lighter.

9. Get the head in the game.

Two recent books have hit the stores that belong on every triathlete's shelf. Iron Wars by Matt Fitzgerald (VeloPress, 2012) recounts the fabled Ironman world championship battle between triathlete legends Dave Scott and Mark Allen. By the end of the story, your triathlete will feel like he or she personally knows the athletes, raced side-by-side with them, and understands the amazing contribution they made to the sport.

In You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Triathlon, Jacques Steinberg (Viking Penguin, 2012) follows six regular people who may have watched Dave and Scott compete when they were kids. After raising families and building careers, they all suddenly got off of their couches and decided to enter the Ironman Arizona race. This is a must-read for anyone contemplating completing an Ironman for the first time in 2012.

Any of these gifts are guaranteed to delight your triathlete this holiday season and set them up for success in 2012.

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Paul Tyler is founder of Triessential.com. Triessential offers an iPhone application that provides training tips and motivation every day throughout the entire year.

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