‘Tis the season to be jolly, it’s your anniversary, a birthday, or a special occasion, and you just don’t know what to get that special someone who loves running. It’s a common situation to find yourself in, so don’t panic!
Being a huge runner myself, it’s a question I found myself mulling over during my last birthday when I was asked what I wanted.
The answer wasn’t totally obvious, but I had some ideas. I even asked friends who were running mad, like myself, to see what they’d received for Christmas and birthdays years gone by and what they’d deem great gifts.
Getting gifts for runners can be a hard process. In this article, I’ll be drilling down the top 30 gift ideas runners will absolutely love.
Ideal gifts for runners aren’t obvious…
It’s not long Football or Rugby when you can get a game ball as a present, or cricket or baseball where you can get a bat. You can get a golfer a new club, or a tennis player a new racket. Easy enough.
Runners, on the other hand, are trickier. What exactly would you get a runner anyway? All they do is walk in a quick fashion, right? Are there even any gifts for them?
You’ll soon find that there’s plenty of fantastic gift ideas for runners.
Read on, and find out…
1. Entry to a running event
Running events are organised races with paid for entry, which is often timed, for a variety of distances. Popular distances include the 5K, 10KM, half-marathon (13.1 miles), and the full marathon (26.2 miles), to name a few.
Some events are particularly unique and are themed. Night races, mud races, and obstacle course races, are fun examples of themed races you can buy entry for.
Entry to running events can be notoriously expensive, so the runner you’re buying entry for will appreciate the gesture.
Some research says having an awesome experience trumps owning a materialistic item, so why not buy entry into a running event for that special someone? Experiences are forever.
Experiences, like a running event, last forever
Think of your favourite holiday, or the first time you tried your favourite food, or your first kiss with your current partner, or when you achieved something great. I bet you were able to powerfully recall these experiences in your head. Experiences leave a lasting impression on us, often throughout our entire lives.
For full surprise effect, print out the receipt after payment and place it in a card. The recipient will be overjoyed when they discover the gift of a race experience inside.
Note: Though gifts are better when they’re kept a surprise, it might be a good idea to liaise with the runner on this one. Make sure they’re free on race day, can get there okay (if you’re not organising travel), and the distance and style of event are within their ability level. You don’t want to book a marathon for someone who’s been running for 1 week.
2. Running shoes
With runners spending all their time pounding the pavement and trail, it’s necessary they have a decent pair of shoes to wear.
Running shoes are the perfect gift for runners. Sure, the person you have in mind will probably have a pair or two already, but the soles and inner cushioning will probably be worn down, and the shoes themselves will look like they’ve seen better days.
A brand-new pair of running shoes will be a breath of fresh air for a runner. They’ll love you forever.
Brand new running shoes have an immediate impact on a runner, and make a difference in their running experience.
What makes running shoes different? They’re all the same, aren’t they?
In the same way no two make up products and no two cookery recipes are the same, running shoes differ on many levels.
The amount of cushioning, their mesh uppers, what they’re made from, stylistic appeal, heel drop length, and the weight of the shoe are all features which vary from shoe to shoe.
Some brands have shoes which feature special technology, like Mizuno’s special wave plate or Saucony’s EVERUN.
Okay, sounds cool. What shoes are a great gift?
Saucony Liberty ISO, Asics Gel-Nimbus 20, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35, Brooks Ghost 11, Mizuno Wave Rider 21.
If you want to find out more about running shoe brands, click here.
For a review on each of the men’s shoes listed above, click here.
3. Road iD
A road iD is a neat little gift runners will appreciate, and they won’t break the bank either.
Road iD’s can provide peace of mind for any runner, and their family. These are customised bracelets some runners wear containing important information such as your name, emergency contact numbers and relevant medical information like allergies or conditions like diabetes.
Road iDs also have the benefit of typically being brighter, making you easier to be seen and more visible on darker runs. They are lightweight, durable, stylish, and easy to slip on before any training session.
The personalised aspect of a road iD will be greatly appreciated by your runner acquaintance, and they will respect you for the thought.
Product recommendation: Road iD Bracelet.
4. Running watch
Running watches are an incredible gift for a runner, and the recipient will love you for getting them one.
Measuring current performance
These watches record varied sets of data during runs needed to track, measure and improve performance. Typical watches have the features of tracking location (with GPS), timing, heart rate, steps travelled, and elevation change.
For long distance runners like half and full marathoners, the watches ability to accurately track how many miles have been covered is perhaps the most valuable feature. Long distance runners tend to follow training plans, with a specific amount of mileage they need to hit each week. Having a decent running watch provides peace of mind they are reaching their targets and following their training plan accurately.
Helping to improve running performance
These statistics are vital for a runner who wants to learn what level they’re currently at to determine what they need to do to improve. Some watches come with training features, which guide the user through a workout or beep if they’re not running fast enough to meet the workouts target.
Use the watch for other sports
If the person you have in mind train for other sports, some watches like the Garmin Forerunner 735XT can accommodate these. Watches like this can track metrics for swimming (yes, it’s waterproof), cycling, hiking, skiing, strength training and paddle sports, to name a few. You might as well get your moneys worth!
5. Lightweight waterproof jacket
Being a runner often means going head to head with the elements. Wind, rain, snow and sleet, are all common sights and experiences for runners to contend with during training. A lightweight waterproof jacket can be a runner’s best friend for a range of weather conditions.
Being waterproof, it’s breathable and releases moisture whilst providing a nicely ventilated shield from whatever the environment has to offer.
A lightweight jacket means the runner won’t be too weighed down by the garment and risk a decline in their performance, with the added benefit of being able to take the jacket off and put it on with ease. If it’s a little too hot, lightweight jackets can easily be tied around the waist mid-run.
Similarly, a run with sudden rain or colder weather means the jacket can easily be put on. A versatile, easy to use clothing item. A must for any runner.
Product recommendations for men
Product recommendations for women
6. Running sunglasses
Running sunglasses are an important part of a runner’s arsenal. Our eyes are one of our most important assets. We only get one pair of eyes, so it’s a good idea we protect them. Running sunglasses will do just that.
They offer ultraviolet protection from the sun, shield the eyes from flies and other bugs which can make an unwelcome entry mid-run, defend the eyes against the weather elements, and add a sense of style.
There’s a reason Arnold Schwarzenegger wore shades in the Terminator. They made him look fashionable. Though playing a robotic maniac, audiences couldn’t help but watch the film in awe of his coolness.
Whether you go for wraparounds, don tinted lenses, or a retro square design, you can’t go wrong with a pair of running glasses to protect the eyes and make the runner look cool.
Want to learn more about the benefits of running sunglasses? If so, click here to read the blog post.
7. Sports gels and energy bars
The body uses carbohydrates to fuel physical activity. As running is a very physically demanding sport, a runner needs a decent supply of quality carbohydrates to fuel their performance.
Particularly helpful for distance runners who might be competing in marathons, half marathons, or doing lots of weekly mileage, these gels and bars are portable, light, and taste delicious. Shorter distance runners might consume one of these before a shorter 5K, to properly fuel up and prepare the body for the intense race to come.
8. Bone-conducting headphones
These are a brilliant present for runners who work out at night or compete in lots of events. They’re also ideal for runners who want to listen to music or podcasts on the go, but still want to hear what’s going on in their environment (like listening out for cars or people around corners).
These headphones sit on top of your ear rather than inside them. They transmit sound vibrations through the bones, rather than through the ears, the sound isn’t as intense, and you can still hear what’s going on around you to stay safe.
We all have our guilty pleasures with music taste
You might want to inform the recipient that whatever they play through bone-conducting headphones can be heard gently by passers-by, and warm them to refrain from listening to something embarrassing.
Or, if they’re like me, they won’t care and will listen to whatever they want! We all have our guilty pleasures, mine’s ABBA.
9. Books on running
There are plenty of books out there with a sole focus on running. That special someone will appreciate the thought. Even when they’re not physically running, they can be reading up on their beloved sport.
Running books can be educational, useful, and entertaining
Humans are built to learn new things. If they didn’t, life would be very hard. Think of everything you hold value to. Cooking, reading, writing, speaking your language. All these things were acquired from learning.
Books can teach runners an array of things. The anatomy of a human body and how it facilitates and responds to running, the science behind proper nutrition for optimal performance and even the history of running.
Some books feature training plans, whilst others share anecdotal stories from real-life runners with humour tales to tell.
Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions Of An All-Night Runner, Running With The Kenyans: Discovering The Secrets Of The Fastest People On Earth, Mo Farah’s Autobiography, Sebastian Coe’s Autobiography.
10. Novelty gifts like mugs, t-shirts, coasters, and key rings
Who doesn’t like a novelty gift? I mean seriously, who? Nobody!
Novelty gifts are a brilliant gift idea. As well as packing a light-hearted humorous punch, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to find online.
From the classic ‘keep calm and go running’ mug to the ‘beware crazy running man’ coaster, novelty items are both funny and serve a useful purpose. Every time the recipient takes a swig of coffee, or uses their keys, they’ll smile and think of your gesture.
11. Running waist belt
These handy waist belts can be a runner’s best friend. Would you leave the house without your keys or mobile phone? Runners are no different!
They conveniently and comfortably sit on the hips and allow the runner to store important items like their phone, wallet or purse, keys, money, identification, any medication, water, energy gels, and so on.
The pockets on these belts can be tightly zipped up, providing maximum protection for the recipient’s valuable items.
Ideal if you’re on a budget, these belts are relatively cheap and incredibly useful. They facilitate runners on their travels and make life a lot easier.
12. Training Tops
A staple for any runner’s wardrobe is their training tops. These are long and short sleeved shirts, and training vests, which the runner will wear during training sessions and when participating in events.
Decent running tops will be lightweight, ventilated, and breathable, for maximum comfort. Depending on how much you want to spend, prices vary from brand to brand.
Reputable brands include Karrimor, Nike, Adidas, Asics, and Brooks. A couple of training tops will make for an excellent gift.
13. LED lights for running in the dark
Running in the dark has its own unique set of risks, totally separate from daytime running. One of the biggest risks, is not being seen by traffic. This is where an LED light can come in handy, but first more on traffic as a risk…
The risk of traffic for night runners
Running on roads, near roads, or crossing roads means coming into proximity to traffic. ‘Traffic’ can refer to anything on the road: cars, bikes, motorcycles, tractors, lorries, horses, and so on. Runners who can’t easily be seen risk being involved in an accident which could leave them injured, badly traumatised or worse. The risk of traffic on dark runs is truly no laughing matter for runners.
LED lights to the rescue
Human beings like shiny things. Think sparkling gold doubloons or a flashing lighthouse. We can’t help but look at things that flash. Wearing an L.E.D. light means a runner can’t be missed by oncoming traffic.
What LED lights can I buy as a gift?
You can get lights in a headband, vest, waist belt, on your shoes, or get a clip on L.E.D. light and clip it anywhere you like. Get some flashing L.E.D. lights so you can be seen properly.
Getting LED lights for a runner who workouts in the dark can give you, and them, peace of mind that the risk of being involved in an accident is now much lower. Phew!
14. Medal hanger display
If you’re loved one is like most seasoned runners, they’ll have an impressive haul of shiny medals. Testaments to hours of gruelling training sessions and triumphs on race day.
Why not make your loved one feel proud of their achievements by getting them a medal hanger display?
A medal hanger display will give the runner the recognition they deserve and will feel encouraged to display their collection. Every time they see the medal display they’ll think of the many experiences they represent. The good, the bad, and the ugly times. It’s all part of being a runner, and that’s why we love running so much!
15. Sweat and waterproof make up
Sure, not everyone is going to wear makeup when they’re running. Fair enough. But some days are just hectic, and runners don’t have the time for a full makeup application session after a workout.
On these days they might have time for a quick shower, bite to eat, then out the front door they go into their next activity for the day.
Sweat and waterproof makeup can be quickly applied before the run. It’s sweat-proof and waterproof qualities means it won’t come off during the shower or the workout, and they will be looking presentable after their run. Perfect for runners with busy, hectic lives.
16. Sports compression socks
I remember receiving socks as a Christmas present when I was about 7 years old. I remember feeling hard done by and disappointed. What a little brat I was! Socks are a fantastic present for anyone, particularly runners.
Having a decent pair of running socks on when training can do wonders for your feet. A good pair of socks will be comfy, nicely cushioned, will promote blood circulation, will be breathable, and provide relief for foot swelling.
They’re cheap, useful, and are a great stocking filler.
17. Headband for colder weather
If there’s one thing runners are notorious for, it’s braving the elements. They’ll run in the cold, the heat, the rain, the sleet, and some will even run in the snow.
When it’s freezing, your loved one will appreciate a headband. These fleece material headbands cover the ears and top of the head, to keep cold air out and provide a relaxing cushion for maximum comfort.
No more not being able to feel their ears when they get home after a chilly run; the headband will have them covered.
18. Foot moisturiser
Runners spend most of their time on their feet and, naturally, they take some abuse.
Slamming down on the pavement, descending the slope of a trail, ascending the heights of a mountainous hill, are all examples of hard work runners put their feet through. It’s only fair their feet get some relaxation time.
Feet moisturising cream will contain glycerine to draw in and retain moisture, for healthy hydrated skin.
Moisturiser creates a protective, non-greasy layer around the foot to help repair any damage (like cracked or dry skin), whilst protecting it from additional abuse.
Foot moisturiser also exfoliates dead skin meaning your loved one’s foot hygiene will be immaculate. They can take their socks off in the house after all…
19. Foam roller
Training hard inevitably means one thing. Sore muscles.
A foam roller allows the runner to massage themselves and roll out any sore muscles and knots, which are making life so difficult.
The runner applies their body weight to the roller’s surface and then apply controlled pressure to trigger points and muscles around the body. A rolling session will reduce tension, improve performance, increase blood flow, improve joint range of motion, and most importantly result in a happy runner.
If your partner constantly asks you to massage them after working out, this can help take some of your ‘unofficial masseuse workloads off.
20. Phone armband
These armbands are comfortable, durable, water-proof, and most importantly, they allow runners to carry their phones on runs.
The armbands offer an audio port slot, so your loved one can listen to their favourite tunes and podcasts on the go. They’re adjustable, support touchscreen use, breathable, durable, and offer a slick sense of style. Some bands feature a reflective strip encircling the protective screen, for added visibility and safety during night running.
Don’t be fooled by the low price of these armbands. The cost may be low, but the value is sky high.
21. Hydration pack
If you’re shopping for a long-distance runner, you will be their new favourite person after getting them this. The human body is approximately 60% water and needs water to fuel performance. Long distance runners lose a lot of water through sweat and physical exertion, so it’s vital they replenish their supply.
They sit on the runners back comfortably, just like a backpack. The backpack design is padded, durable and lightweight. Within the pack is the hydration bladder, which usually stores between 1-5 litres of water. When the runner wants water on a long run, all they need to do is take a drink from the pack’s hose. Simple.
22. Running-inspired jewellery
Your loved one can reminisce about their running experiences with running-inspired jewellery. This idea is unique and shows you’ve thought about the other persons love of running.
Novelty necklaces also exist, which will make your loved one laugh and smile as the message makes them think of all the good times they’ve had when running.
23. Running films
These DVDs will inspire and capture the attention of any runner that watches them.
Running films come in a variety of styles. From the documentary, to dramas, even to comedy. Make your choice depending on the personality of the runner you’re buying for. Do they like comedy, documentaries, or drama?
An example of a documentary styled running film would be ‘Spirit of The Marathon‘. This documentary captures the story of six marathoners’ in the lead up to America’s Boston Marathon. It explores their training regime, reasons for running, why they’re taking part in the marathon, their background, and looks at their struggles and triumphs along the way. Truly inspiring.
For a moving, historical drama, you could go for the famous ‘Chariots of Fire‘ which documents two determined young runners as they train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. It delves into what it means to be a runner and the sacrifices which need to be made for competing at a professional level.
For comedy cold, try ‘Run Fatboy Run‘ featuring Simon Pegg. Five years after leaving his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day, out of shape Pegg decides to run a marathon in an attempt to win her back. It’s a bumpy, entertaining ride, with plenty of laughs along the way.
24. Ice grippers
If you know a runner who will train in any weather condition, even ice and snow, these are the perfect gift.
Ice grippers slide right over running shoes and provide traction and predictable grip.
The grippers are lightweight and feature no spikes on the coils, for an effortless run. No more slipping or losing grip, these grippers will sort any winter runner out.
Sports leggings are tough, lightweight, comfy and breathable, and will stretch to whatever position the runner puts them in. Compression leggings promote blood flow and ensure an enjoyable run. Leggings are a necessity for any runner’s wardrobe.
26. Runners race book
These books allow your loved one to keep their race memories alive forever.
The book keeps all their race number bibs in one place (it can hold 30) and is supplied with 15 plastic wallets and statistics sheets. Runners can record all their statistics here such as race time, distance, position, location, rating, and so on. Also, there’s a section for runners to place a photo of them from the day.
An incredibly creative way to record and reflect on all the good times.
27. Spa gift card
With all that running, it can be difficult to find a time to relax. That’s where you come in. Treat the runner you have in mind to a spa away day and get them a gift card.
Spas are relaxing places and typically feature salons, swimming pools, saunas, and most importantly for a runner a massage clinic. If your buying for a close friend or partner, get a spa day for two and relax together. Let the good times begin.
28. Milestone pod
These handy little pods clip onto your shoelaces and measure a range of statistics. The Milestone Pod measures foot strike, cadence, stride length, leg swing, the rate of impact, and ground contact time. It also gives helpful indications and warnings on shoe life with the Shoe Odometer.
It even connects to some running watches, for maximum statistical coverage. Once the run is complete, sync the pod to the free Milestone app and the stats are all yours.
29. Toiletries for post-run freshness
Running is a tough sport, no doubt about it, and runner’s get dirty when they’re running. Sweat, mud, and rain, are all part of running. It’s only natural the runner will want to freshen up post-run. That’s where you save the day.
Toiletries are a must for post-run freshness. Shampoo, body wash, face wash, moisturiser, nail clippers, combs, are all great examples of gifts you can get for that special someone.
30. Running journal
Documenting progress is effective for achieving goals. Getting the runner on your list a running journal means they can track their running statistics, goals, and any thoughts they have after each run.
It’s a great gift to give, because it inspires creativity and allows time for reflecting on progress.