The holiday season is approaching and finding the perfect gift for a runner can be a struggle, especially if you are not a runner yourself. It is easy to assume that the only things they’re going to want are running shoes. Fortunately, there are many other good gift ideas that provide comfort or help runners recover more quickly from long runs or races.
Compression shorts, socks, sleeves, and pants are all the rage in the running community because of their comfortable materials, styles, and colors that coordinate with their running attire. Compression gear squeezes ever so gently to enhance circulation, help reduce swelling, and aid in optimal recovery while wicking sweat from your body. While compression gear can get a little pricy, they’re a highly recommended gift because they provide a layer of protection from the winter weather. Prices range from $7 to $258.
A running watch is at the top of every runner’s gift list for a very good reason: it provides information on time, distance, heart rate, and more. The watch help runners set goals and measure their progress without using pen and paper. They can simply download the data onto a computer and view whatever information they want. So if you want to splurge a little, a sports watch is probably the most exciting gift that any beginning or experienced runner would want. Prices range from $150 to $400.
If your runner likes to listen to music or audio books during their workouts, a music player may be the ideal running gift. While many runners opt to listen to music from their smart phone, the concern is that the sweat and moisture may cause unintended damage. MP3 music players are inexpensive and a durable alternative, which allows runners to still play their favorite music to stay motivated. There are a lot of great choices with some of the best MP3 players being reasonably priced and most offering quality sound. Prices range from $30 to $490.
Proper hydration is one of the key elements to any runner performing at their peak whether training for a 10k or 26.2 marathon. Depending on your runner, a handheld 12-ounce water bottle with a pouch is a useful gift for runners of all levels. They come with an adjustable strap that tightens to your hand so you can run without actually having to grip the bottle. However, a handheld water bottle simply does not carry enough water for a long distance runner. It would require too many pit stops to refill. Long distance runners tend to use hydrations packs/belts, which will allow them to run greater distances and still remain hydrated. Generally, hydration systems hold between 18 and 100 ounces of fluid and include pockets to carry food, cash, a phone, and other essentials. A hydration pack is an excellent marathon gift choice for a distance runner. Prices range from $10 to $265.
Massage/Spa Gift Certificate
After months of training and running the big race, their body is in need of some special care and this is a unique post-run gift. Not only does a massage feel good, but it helps restore flexibility, reduces muscle soreness, and promotes injury healing. Whatever the running level, a gift certificate to a local spa or sports massage therapist is always a good gift idea. Prices range from $100 to over $500.
Running books are the best gifts for runners for under $15 that provide helpful running tips on every topic from marathon training and running form to nutrition and running workouts from experienced runners. There are tons of books and eBooks available on Amazon. Just put a gift certificate in a gift bag and let your runner pick the books that they want. Prices range from $6 to $14.
Marathon Gift Basket for Runners
A gift basket for runners is designed to provide many of the essential nutritional products runners need so that they can carb load before and replenish vital nutrients after a grueling run or interval training. Also, they contain runner’s favorite brands of energy gels, recovery protein bars, water, energy drinks, and more conveniently in one package. If you’re not too sure what gift to give to celebrate their race, get them a gift basket and it will show your support. Prices range from $30 to $160.
The feet are a runner’s most important feature and they take quite a beating while running. All that pounding adds up to sore feet, blackened toenails, and tired ankles. A good foot scrub, massage, and pedicure will be welcome gifts for female or male runners from time to time. Most local spas sell gift certificates. Prices range from $25 to $50.
A technical shirt is an important part of any runner’s running apparel. A shirt protects the runner’s skin from the elements while it wicks away sweat during running sessions. Look for a lightweight, breathable performance t-shirt made of 100% polyester, mesh, or similar synthetic fabrics. When choosing colors, runners seem to prefer brighter colors. Avoid selecting cotton t-shirts because they become heavy once they become wet and the constant rubbing during a long run causes chafing. A running shirt is a good gift for under $25 that will keep them inspired. Prices range from under $25 to $70.
Marathon Display Case/Metal Holder
Do your runners have a fair number of cherished race metals accumulating on a doorknob or inside a shoebox? Why not give them this unique running gift to display their most memorable metal and race bib. A well-crafted medal display framing kit can be assembled within 10 minutes. If they have lots of race metals, a customized metal holder with several hooks would be the better option. Hung on a wall, it’s a daily remainder of their most proud achievements and amazingly inspirational for friends and family to see. Check them out on Amazon. Pricing ranges from $40 to $140.
Gym Bag for Runners
Runners need a good gym bag to stow their running shoes, towels, and other essentials on trips to the gym or travelling to race events. A stylish sports bag is a functional present for runners that travel a lot or participate in multiple races each year. You can choose from the smaller sack pack-type bags or the larger traditional gym bags. Prices range from under $20 to $80.
Massage Stick/Foam Roller
If the runner in your life doesn’t yet own a foam roller/stick, this is a must-have running gift. Runners use this recovery tool to self-massage sore, tight muscles and help prevent injuries. It’s particularly effective at increasing flexibility and accelerating muscle recovery. This is a nice running gift that every runner should have and it is small enough to fit into a runner’s gym bag. Prices range from $10 to $160.
Running-themed Gift Coffee Mug
What better way to start a runner’s day off than with a cup of coffee or tea from their favorite coffee mug? This motivational mug is perfect for the running and fitness enthusiast who needs that pre-workout boost. Prices range from $10 to $20.
Reflective Running Gear
With most runner’s busy schedules and longer nights, running workouts happen either during the early morning or in the evening after dark. Runners simply must have reflective running gear to increase their visibility to protect themselves from distracted drivers. Get a reflective vest, headlamp, strobe lights, or bright and reflective clothing so they can be seen out on the road. Prices range from $20 to $100.
Running sunglasses not only look super cool, but they protect the runner’s eyes from harmful sun rays. A good pair of sunglasses won’t slip and glasses should be shatterproof and durable. Prices range from under $20 to $300.
Other Notable Stocking Stuffers
Running socks – Comfortable socks are a runner’s best friend. Extra padding on the ball and heel of the foot provide maximum comfort and protection against blisters. Prices range from $10 to $65.
Running gloves – These gloves are made of breathable and moisture wicking fabric to keep your hands dry from moisture. Prices range from $10 to $80.
Hats/head bands – It’s a good fashionable accessory to wear year-round to protect runners from direct sunlight and keep hair and sweat away from their face. Prices range from $15 to $50.
Running Ear Phones – For music lovers, running with quality ear phones is a must. They are compatible with most portable devices and smart phones.
Nutrition – Protein bars, energy gels, and electrolytes are popular among runners as they provide the nutrients lost during a run. Prices range from $1 to $30.
This gift list was written to share some running gift ideas that will make your special runner happy when they unwrap their present on Christmas day or on any special occasion.