A 2021 Christmas guide for runners

A while ago I came across a post on Instagram from a running coach about top Christmas gifts for runners. Let’s just say that while the items on her list were very nice and would be nice to receive, they weren’t doing anything to promote the common point runners love to use about how “running is an inexpensive sport.”

Although I will say Garmin has some nice watches.

So it’s the time of year for me – in what’s strictly and obviously my opinion – to share with you all some gift ideas for the runners in your life. I’m sharing some of my favorite items under $75 that could make either great stocking stuffers or small presents that pretty much no runner is going to be unhappy with. Everything I’m recommending are things I own and use/have used for the past several years.

1.) Body Glide

Chafing is one of those experiences that if you know, you know. And if you don’t, count your lucky stars. Thighs, waistbands, sports bras, underarms – the runner you know has chafed in one of these places and hard to learn the hard way during the post-race or post-run shower. Body Glide is easily one of the best products to prevent chafing and all the pain that comes with it. The sticks are easy stocking stuffers and come in both regular and travel sizes. You can buy them here.

2.) Balega socks

Socks are one those things everyone needs. Runners and folks who are on their feet a lot definitely need something that can withstand the time and miles. I prefer a thicker sock to help cushion my feet and keep them warm on those cold mornings. There’s several brands that I’ve tried and liked, with Balega being my favorite. You can see all that they have to offer here.

3.) Medal display

For the runner who has decided they’re going to start a new journey or the seasoned runner who can’t resist an opportunity to earn some bling, you can never go wrong with a medal display. I haven’t met a runner who doesn’t like to display their medals, and my mom is a fan of the displays you can find at GoneForARun.com.

4.) Fuel belts/backpacks

Distance runners will be the first to tell you that hydration is one of the main things that can make or break a training run. Pockets and pouches with zippers are also essential to carry keys, phones and energy gels. Any time I run outside I’m never without my fuel belt and swear by it so I can run without worrying about not having enough water or my keys working their way out of my pocket. You can find fuel belts and backpacks at running stores or online at Amazon.

5.) Handheld water bottles

If wearing a pack or belt doesn’t appeal to your runner but they still want to carry a water bottle, you can never go wrong with handheld bottles. There’s a variety of styles based off size and individual preference. You can find some of those here.

6.) Training journal

Apps are fine inventions, but for the runners who still like to write things by hand and analyze how their workouts are going, training journals are a great idea that’s always appreciated. The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log is one of the best journals I’ve used and I’m looking forward to my next stop to the bookstore for the 2022 journal. You can find the journal here.

7.) Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook(s)

Perfect for the runner who enjoys cooking or the newbie wanting to take charge of their nutrition, the Run Fast, Eat Slow  cookbooks  by Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky offer great recipes the promote endurance, muscle growth and recovery. I have Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow and swear by the Oven “Fried” Chicken, Bonk Burgers and Miso Butter Salmon. Rise and Run just came out a few months ago, and while I haven’t tried any of the recipes in there, I have heard plenty of compliments about the newest member of the Run Fast, Eat Slow family. You can buy any of the cookbooks here.

8.) Recovery sandals

The cushioning and arch support of recovery sandals are exactly what the doctor (likely the podiatrist) ordered after a race or long run. I’m not brand loyal on recovery sandals. Mine are an older pair from Hoka One One that do the job well. You can find recovery sandals from Hoka One One here or Oofoos here.

9.) Sarah Marie Design Studio

For the lady runner who wants to marry her love of running with cute gear – apparel, mugs, jewelry and patches – you really can’t go wrong with Sarah Marie. I have several sweatshirts and tees from her, and I always get compliments whenever I wear them. I will be the first to say the clothes are one of the more expensive items on my list, but I can vouch the quality is worth it. You can see more of Sarah Marie Design Studio on her website or Instagram.

10.) CYO recovery basket

If you like DIY projects, you can’t go wrong with a create-your-own recovery basket. The items don’t have to be expensive – if anything, you can’t go wrong with a basket or box of Epsom salt, KT tape, energy chews and slipper socks. Or whatever you know your runner likes to unwind from a race or long run with.

I hope these all give you some great ideas. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with a gift card to your local running store. For my central Ohio readers, Columbus Running Company has been my go-to store for the past five years. You can visit them online or in store.

Yours in writing and running,


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