9 Christmas Gifts for the Runner in Your Life

We are quickly approaching the 2013 Christmas shopping season, as sales ads and e-coupons continue to bombard our mailbox, inbox, and Web pages.  If you are looking for ideas on holiday gifts for runners, there are a number of excellent options.

Energy Gels
Athletes typically consume a large amount of energy gels, electrolyte, and other supplements during training efforts leading up to a race.  Companies such as Clif Bar and GU create holiday-themed products and gift packages for athletes, and don’t forget about products from Honey Stinger, Hammer Nutrition, Vitalyte, or PowerBar.  If you are unsure which flavors or specific products you want to purchase, look for holiday gift packs.  It’s not uncommon to see runners share and occasionally trade energy gels, so anything you purchase certainly won’t go to waste.  

Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS
The device carries a high $399.99 MSRP price tag, but is packed with features for runners.  The basics include a wristwatch that also tracks pace, distance, GPS position, heart rate and calories – and Garmin has greatly improved its newer generations of touch screen technology.  This is the ultimate device for runners close to your family, and if you want a cheaper model, Garmin has a variety of different models available.

2XU Compression Tights
It might take some time to get used to wearing compression clothing, but if you’re hitting the trails – or have a long road work out on the horizon – using the 2XU Compression Tights can be a great product for runners.  Not only does compression clothing provide physical benefits to keep your muscles feeling better, but the tights also provide a layer of protection from the elements.  It can be difficult to get sizing right, so don’t be afraid to ask for size or inseam.  There are a lot of companies releasing compression clothing, but 2XU remains at the forefront for runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes. 

Running Socks
Running socks are a meaningful yet fairly affordable gift for athletes, because they are very important and runners can always use a new pair.  Recommended brands include Injinji toe socks, Thorlo, CEP, Sock Geek, Peal Izumi, and SmartWool, though selection will be based on price, running style, and fit.  Don’t be surprised to see socks that cost upwards of $20, so pick and choose what products you purchase – and save all receipts.

Peal Izumi Elite Thermal Arm Warmers
Pearl Izumi makes a variety of great products for runners, cyclists, and triathletes – and the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Arm Warmers are a great Christmas product for cold-weather activities.  Made of thermal fleece, this particular model will help keep your arms warm, but won’t retain sweat and trap in heat to the point of discomfort.  There are plenty of rival companies also manufacturing arm warmers for runners, so take a look around and see what fits your budget.

Stuffits for Shoes (Original)
This is a great product that is often overlooked by many athletes, though is great to help reduce odor in running shoes.  The drying inserts work overnight and all that is required is to pick the right size insert and place the order – the inserts are reportedly good for one year and there is absolutely nothing required from shoe owners once the inserts are used.  They have a cedar scent and definitely help remove unwanted odors.  This is the type of product that someone close to you likely doesn’t have, or could use another pair of Stuffits for other shoes. 

The Stick Marathon Stick
This is a great recovery tool – and something anyone putting in serious miles on their legs should appreciate.  The Marathon Stick is more flexible than other Stick massagers, and is great for a light leg rub – typically for the calf and hamstring – and is something that many runners tend to overlook in favor of other products.

Newton Running Gravity Shoes
Newton Running is a popular running shoe manufacturer known for higher-priced, better manufactured shoes.  The Newton Running Gravity, designed for runners with a neutral stride, is the best pair of running shoes I’ve ever owned – despite the $175 MSRP price tag, the shoes are great both on the road and single-track trails.

Shoes are extremely difficult to get right for someone else, so additional help from the gift recipient might be necessary, but a shiny new pair of running shoes is a great way to start 2014 just right! 

Race Registration
Completing in races can be an extremely expensive endeavor, with races varying in price from $15 to over $100+, so many athletes need to pick and choose what races we sign up for.  A race registration provides a great motivation following Thanksgiving and Christmas, when many of us could use an extra race, so this is a great idea if you know someone that hasn’t registered for an upcoming race yet.

Bonus Tip: If in doubt, a gift card to a local retail store or online e-tailer is a good way to provide a wonderful gift without worrying if a gift fits properly.

Final Thoughts
Athletic clothing and gear can be a costly investment, so do your homework and speak with the runner in your life.  This gift guide was written to help share ideas and get you thinking about the ideal gift that will put a smile on a person’s face when they unwrap the present on Christmas Day.

Happy Holidays!