10 gift ideas for runners

First off, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We enjoyed some relaxing time with family and ate way too much Chinese takeout/comfort foods/muddy buddies.

We discovered early on Thursday morning that electric toothbrushes can come alive – I think as the result of a low battery – and wake up the entire house. It first went off in my boyfriend’s shaving kit, so we moved it to the family room on the other side of the house. Then it went off again at 3 a.m. and woke my parents up. Mom said the whirring sounded just like the water heater before it busted, and scared them so badly they decided to stick it in the garage.

Demon possessed toothbrush was the highlight of Thanksgiving 2020.

With that anecdote shared, it’s now time to move on to the meat and potatoes of this post: Christmas gift ideas for runners.

I’m going to keep these in order from least to most expensive. All of these are gifts I’ve received or bought for myself over the years and had a great experience using. I’ll link the websites where applicable. Onward we go!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Runners

1.) 365 Day Running Calendar

My mom got me one of those for Christmas 2018, which I used going into 2019. Each day has an inspirational saying or accompanying picture, and it made keeping track of mileage pretty easy during my full marathon training cycles. Mine came from Gone for a Run.


2.) The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log by Marty Jerome

If you or the runner you’re shopping for is more of a journaler who likes to keep track of each run or cross-training session in more detail, you can’t go wrong with Jerome’s yearly calendar. Each month has a word and story dedicated to it, and I found the calendar helpful for logging my bicycling mileage and lifting.

Can be found here on Amazon or here at Barnes and Noble

3.) Balega Socks

You can’t go wrong with socks, especially if there’s a sock thief in your house that loves to take them from the dryer. I’ve tried a few brands, including some moisture wicking that couldn’t save me through fresh blisters, and Balega socks are my favorite. The material is thick and provides extra cushioning over long miles and marathons, protecting heels from getting blisters and helping the foot to stay cool. You can’t go wrong with bright colors and designs, either.

Balega socks can be found online at https://balega-socks.implus.com/

4.) Light-reflective gear

My stepdad got me a safety vest for my early morning runs, since I like to do questionable things such as running in the dark by myself (author’s note: in my own neighborhood. Not through the woods or any place super stupid.) While I don’t have a recommendation for one specific item – like a jacket or leggings with light-reflective stripes down the side – you can never go wrong with light-reflective gear for early mornings or early evenings in the winter when it might as well be midnight.

5.) Foam roller

The science behind foam rolling has shown that foam rolling helps runners improve their range of motion and flexibility before a run, as well as reduce soreness after a run. I bought myself the Triggerpoint GRID STK foam roller a couple years ago from my local running company to give it a try. Before foam rolling I was constantly dealing with aches and pains, which evolved into a sharp, throbbing pain in my left calf. I discovered that rolling out the muscles in the evening helped the pains go away, in addition to making me a far nicer person who didn’t need a daily aspirin.

Runner’s World has some helpful articles about picking foam rollers – which I linked here – and I’ve included the link to my local running store so you all can see the foam roller I use.

6.) Goodr sunglasses

Holy crap, I love Goodr sunglasses. They’re affordable. They do not bounce at all during runs. They come in stylish colors with fun names. So far my personal collection includes Flamingos on a Booze Cruise (hot pink), Iced by Yetis (white), Pool Party Pregame (sky blue?), Red White and Booze (pretty much what it sounds like) and Merry Flocking Christmas (white with a green sweater pattern design.) And the CEO is a flamingo named Carl.


7.) Medal Display

One of my favorite gifts from my mom is the medal display she ordered after I ran my first half marathon and wanted to figure out a way to show it off. She was the one who introduced me to Gone for a Run, and incidentally my first display and the one to follow it came from there. If your runner has done a few races already, they will appreciate a way to show off their hard work and accomplishment.

My display is here, and you can view the many options for displays on here as well.

Full transparency: this is where the more expensive suggestions start. I like the finer things in running life, but have no desire to be one of those bloggers who promotes expensive stuff as though every single person ever can afford it when that’s just not reality. And with that being said – let’s get on to the good stuff.

8.) Anything from Sarah Marie Design Studio

Sarah Marie Design Studio (SMDS) is a woman-owned business started in 2016 to bring fun, pretty but still practical clothes and items for runners. So far I have two sweatshirts, a long sleeve shirt and a t-shirt that I love wearing and get quite a few compliments on. SMDS is mostly items for women, although there are men’s, unisex and kids clothes. The “All The Miles” and “Run” collections are my favorite.

SMDS has a range and you can explore all the merchandise here

9.) Registering for a race as a gift

For the most part, runners are the most laid-back bunch I’ve ever known. They’re not an entitled bunch, and most of them would never think to be. However, it’s not exactly a secret that race registrations – if your runner runs more several half or full marathons over a year – can add up. If you’re feeling generous and want to surprise your runner, start up a conversation about running and ask them casually which races they’re planning on doing in the next year. Listen carefully, and then if you truly want to surprise the runner on Christmas, hand them a card with the confirmation email that you’ve registered for their race inside. Trust me on this – any runner who gets into a race for free is going to be eternally grateful.

10.) Garmin Forerunner 35

I’ve always known about Garmin, since my stepdad is a surveyor and everyone in my immediate family owns a Garmin GPS for our vehicles (and no Mom, I still haven’t charged mine.) When I first started running I used an app on my phone to track my mileage and pace. However, it turns out having the data on drains phone batteries and as a solo runner, a dead phone is the last thing I need in case of an emergency.

Garmin has several models with all kinds of bells and whistles. I decided to go with the Forerunner 35, which is a straightforward GPS smartwatch that measures miles, calories burned and total steps. I’m scrolling through Garmin’s website now and there are some gorgeous styles and features that can range from $150 to $499 and up. However, I can assure you that regardless of which style or price, a Garmin watch is a great idea and investment any runner would appreciate and love to receive.

You can see all that Garmin has to offer here

A final suggestion from Allison

If you just don’t know if anything I listed would work, you can never go wrong with a gift card to your recipient’s local running store. Personally, I’m a longtime patron and supporter of the Columbus Running Company. The staff is friendly, supportive and knows pretty much anything you could think of about running. The inventory in store and online is generous, pretty much guaranteeing that you’ll always find what you need, and it’s hard not to leave feeling empowered about yourself as a runner.

For my central Ohio readers, I’ll leave the link to the Columbus Running Company here.

I hope this illustrative but never exhaustive list gives you some ideas for your runner, or maybe even yourself if you’ve had enough of 2020 and have decided to go out with a “treat yo’ self” bang. Either way, happy reading, happy running, and happy let’s-finish-2020-kicking-some-ass.



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