You don’t need me to tell you that 2020 was anything but what people were expecting. And runners wishing their race wasn’t cancelled are no different. But what that means is that runners around the world are going to be ITCHING to get that first live race under their belt. What better way to start off their 2021 training with the perfect holiday gift?
Everything in this runner’s holiday gift guide is either something I have, my husband has, my best running friends have (and have attested to their amazingness), or is something that I really, really want but don’t have yet. I hope you find the perfect gift for the runner in your life…and if you have questions about anything on this list (sizing, etc.), please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Must-Have Running Gifts
This is the MUST HAVE gear the runner in your life wants and needs. (They may not know this yet, but I’m telling you it’s true and you can be the one to prove it to them.)
1.) Garmin Watch
If you have a runner in your life, they need a Garmin watch. I know everyone loves their Apple watches, but the GPS on those just doesn’t cut it. And that Strava app so many runners like to use on their phones? That’s not accurate either. Runners who train want and need to know exactly how much they’re running and at what pace. There is just no better option than a Garmin. Here are my top 3 recommendations in different price ranges:
- Value: If this will be their first Garmin watch and you know they don’t need all the bells and whistles, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is perfect. I had this watch for several years and loved it.
- For the Music Lover: Garmin 245 Music – sync this baby up with your Spotify account and you’re ready to run.
- Best: Garmin Fenix 6S Multisport – This is the watch I have and it is amazing. Plus, it looks nice, too, so I wear it even when I’m not running. You can use this to track whatever sport you’re doing – not just running.
Training can’t stop just because it’s cold. Marathon training during a Colorado winter brought beautiful, sunny days but it also brought freezing days with biting wind. But I couldn’t just skip my run on those cold days, and my Patagonia vest was 100% my favorite piece of running gear to get through those runs. Up until then it was strictly a fashion piece in my closet, but it quickly became a necessity. These vests are definitely an investment, but they are worth it! You can also find some less expensive options on Amazon, just make sure you’re choosing the down-filled so they get that warmth.
For more winter gear options read: How to Train for a Marathon in the Winter
3.) VaporKrar (Men’s) or VaporHowe (Women’s) Hydration Vest
My life was forever changed when hubby got this for me for Christmas last year. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but before this I was using a simple Camelbak hydration pack, and though it worked great, it only held one liquid. Since I use liquid nutrition from Tailwind for my long runs and marathons, I needed something that could hold two separate liquids. The VaporHowe vest is lightweight, feels great, and holds everything I need to have a great run!
I don’t personally have a Flipbelt because I prefer to wear pants or shorts with pockets, or wear my hydration vest if it’s a long run. But I know several runners who love these. They are a great size for stashing your phone, an energy gel, a small water bottle such as a Fitly flask, id, and key.
Running at night requires good visibility. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a runner who frequently is out the door before dawn or still running after dusk, this is a great one. Too many runners I know that run in the dark don’t wear enough reflective gear which can be really dangerous. The Tracer360 reflective vest comes in three sizes and then is adjustable from there to fit perfectly over whatever the runner is wearing no matter the season. It can be adjusted to six different colors and even has flashing options.
For more night running gear options, read: Running at Night Safety: Tips and Gear for Running in the Dark
6.) Bluetooth Headphones
Do you know someone who still runs with corded headphones? In 2020, it might be time to literally cut that cord loose. If the runner you’re buying for listens to music blue tooth headphones (or earbuds rather) are a must. I use Jaybird Tarah Pros, and though they’ve been great, my husband’s Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are better. Want the very best? Go for the PowerBeats Pro Wireless. If you want a pair that won’t break your budget that will stay put in your favorite runner’s ears? This pair is super highly rated and is a steal!
For a full list of the best Bluetooth headphones read: The Best Bluetooth Earphones for Runners (That Won’t Fall Out)
7.) Running Shoes
Did you know that runners should be replacing most shoes once they have around 400 miles on them…some even less? Which means chances are that the runner in your life is due for a new pair soon (I just bought two new pairs in the middle of the night last night when I couldn’t sleep…those holiday deals got me!) I also know it can be really tough to buy shoes for another runner unless you know exactly what they love to wear (and you know their size). My recommendation is to be a sleuth and find out this information somehow or you could just get them a giftcard to a place like Running Warehouse which has tons of shoe options for them to choose from. I know giftcards aren’t the most creative gift out there, but at least they’ll get exactly what they want!
(And if you really want them to try some different shoes, Altra are 100% by go to shoe…and you can find awesome deals on previous models on Amazon!)
8.) Foam Roller
Every runner needs a foam roller. There is just nothing better, in my opinion, to get deep into those sore muscles and tissue that you get after a speed session or a long run. And they are really inexpensive…making them an easy gift for your favorite runner. I have a longer foam roller, but the shorter ones are great for portability.
9) Shirt with a Watch Window
So runners don’t NEED shirts with watch windows, but they do need shirts. So why not get them one that has thumb holes, a pocket for their phone, AND a watch window? This is on my Christmas list this year and I’ve mentioned it to hubby no short of ten times and made sure my son saw it on our last trip to Dick’s so he could show Dad.
This is the Element Crew for Men but no watch window for him, I guess!
Also LOVE the Flyout Long Sleeve from Oiselle.
Best “Just For Fun” Runner Gifts
Do they NEED these items to run? No, but they may just give them that extra motivation they need on a day when it all seems like too much. I love these gifts simply because they’re an excellent reminder of why we love this crazy sport so much and that we’re not alone in the pursuit of our goals.
1.) Running Books
There are plenty of amazing books to be read about running, here are just a a few of my top recommendations!
- Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor – for the runner who needs to be inspired.
- Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi – for the runner who wants to follow principles to be a lifelong runner.
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – for the runner who loves all things business, inspiration…and Nike shoes.
- Born to Run by Chris McDougall – for any runner of any level! This book is simply amazing.
- Running Rewired by Jay Dicharry – for the runner who wants to start adopting more technique and strength training into their running regimen.
- Run Fast. Eat Slow. by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky – for the runner who loves to cook.
These pieces of jewelry are so unique and beautiful. I don’t have a piece myself yet, but I sure hope to get one after I finally get that Boston Marathon under my belt. There are specific race designs, but for the runner who probably didn’t get to run the race of their choice in 2020, there are plenty of other options the female runner in your life will love to receive.
I had been wanting one of these for years, but it’s just not the type of thing you normally buy yourself, you know? It definitely wasn’t something I needed so I just never bought myself one. Last year, my parents got my husband and I a “couples” one, and now we can proudly display all of our medals from the last umpteen years of running in our rec room. This is a fantastic present if you want to give the runner in your life something special that they will actually use.
Best Stocking Stuffers/Small Gifts Under $25 for Your Fave Runner
1.) Goodr Sunglasses
So full disclosure, I don’t actually have these sunglasses. But I’m okay putting them on this list because my best friends do have them and they love them! They don’t fog up and stay put. Plus they have so many fun colors and look great on, everyone. I personally wear Native sunglasses and so does my husband. But for a gift, I think Goodr is a great way to go just because the style is great for everyone. If you want to go with the Native brand, you just have to have a better idea of what style the person receiving the gift prefers.
Strava recently changed their pay structure, and what you get for free is pretty minimal now. So if you have a runner in your life who doesn’t have that little orange logo by their picture on Strava, maybe you can be the one to give them one so they can start using all the benefits Strava has to offer. Print it out on a piece of paper and wrap it in a pretty bow and you are set to go!
Nuun tablets are great for staying hydrated while out on a run, but they’re also great for keeping runners hydrated when they’re not putting in the miles. In order for runners to reach their potential, hydration throughout the day is important. And let’s be honest, most of us have a hard time getting in the water we need to be each day. Nuun just makes it easier because it’s so delicious. These come in little cylinder packs that would be simple to pop in a stocking.
4.) Smartwool Socks
I have too many running socks, said no runner ever. I’ve tried others, but I always come back to Smartwool. They are just great, all-weather socks! I personally love the micro no-show socks, but my husband likes the crew. And if it’s really cold, I even wear the over-the-calf ski option and they are perfect!
If the runner you’re buying for always love to jazz it up, definitely check out Zensah socks…so many fun prints!
I just found out about these this year and these were perfect for those medium long run days. You know the ones – where the run is long enough that you should be bringing water, but not long enough that you want to wear your full hydration attire. For my half marathon, I used two 5-ouce Fitly bottles that fit perfectly into the side pockets of my shorts. I put water in one and my favorite hydration drink in the other. The 8.5-ounce ones would definitely fit, too, and I plan to get those next.
Wishing you, your friends and family, and all the runners in your life a happy and healthy 2020 holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter, and miles of smiles.
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