The shops are full of mince pies and Christmas sweets and have been since early September. I project outraged feelings of “commercialist nightmare!” and “Christmas should be celebrated in December!”, but the reality is I’ve been thinking about what to ask Santa for since about May. So, what am I going to be grovelling for this festive season? Any one of these would do…

Garmin Forerunner 235

I have an old Garmin Forerunner 25 (I think?) kicking around somewhere, but it has a broken strap and the battery is a bit knackered, so have run all this year without any timing. I think it’s actually what I needed to do: taking my mind off the numbers and just concentrating on running as much as my legs can carry me.

However, now that I’ve worked running back into my routine and have been smashing personal records at various distances, I would like to be able to sort out pacing and add in more timed intervals etc. I may also need it for training if I get into the London Marathon, which (for some bizarre reason) I entered the ballot for earlier this year.

The Garmin Forerunner 235 seems to offer the best balance of features/tech at the price point I’ve looked at, and gets a lot of great reviews from runners. If I were sporting a lottery win I’d almost certainly go for something else, but it’s plenty for my poor (wo)man’s purposes.

Sports massage gift certificate

I have massively ramped up my workout schedule this year. A good week will typically look like:

Monday Weights  
Tuesday   Taekwon-do
Wednesday Weights Pole
Thursday Weights Running
Friday Weights  
Saturday Parkrun Taekwon-do

Clearly I’m slacking off as I can see spaces!

…and shit, don’t my muscles know it. There are some days where, if I stand still for too long, I may actually seize up. I start each day with a basic quick stretch and that helps, but I am dying for something more.

I don’t know if there’s sufficient science behind sports massages — i.e. compared to the claims some practitioners make about them — but I’ve had one and, science or not, it felt GOOD. I wouldn’t mind being fondled and squeezed on the regular, ahem. Or just a one off will do, something to ease my perpetually aching body.

(Massage photo by Toa Heftiba)

A bike (for cycling, not a brum brum bike)

I haven’t had a bike since I was about 12-13 years old, when my older brothers pieced together a basic bike from scrap parts, and I promptly fell off it. Unfortunately I have terrible balance, and I’m terrified of riding on the road. I mean seriously, have you seen how some people overtake cyclists?

Nonetheless, it feels cheating to drive to the gym 4 days a week when it’s only 4 miles away. (I have run it but it takes ages and impacts upon my workouts.) As the cost of fuel is rising constantly, and my choice of car necessitates ridiculously overpriced super unleaded, a bike seems like a no brainer. As a bonus, if I got a hybrid bike it would also mean that I’d be able to get out with the kids at the weekend, who both have bikes at their dad’s.

Santa will have to be feeling extra generous for that one though.

Swimming Lessons

One of the things that drives me forward and motivates me to keep active is regularly trying something new. This year I really got into pole dancing (which I LOVE). I’ve been saying for years that I should properly learn how to swim, so I think 2019 could be the year I get actual lessons and nail it at last.

(That’s not me, obviously. Swimming photo by Arisa Chattasa)

According to Breaking Muscle, swimming is supposed to be good for active recovery (based on a couple of studies). Not only that, but learning to swim properly would introduce a whole range of other sports which I can then go on to try my hand at. As long as I don’t drown, anyway.

So that’s my list sorted. Now I just need to persuade a handsome man in a red suit to splash his cash…

Not Santa.