Most of us have a mental wish list going all year round – yet when someone finally asks for some gift ideas, we often blank or fumble until we spit out something lame, like underwear or new dish towels. I’ve even been known to ask for stamps. If you know a runner, however, consider this your guide for birthday or holiday shopping for them, whether you’re on a hotdog or a caviar budget.
Food ($2-5 each)
Nutrition specifically designed for fuel and easy accessibility, such as GU packets, CLIFF Blok shots or bars, Sports Beans, or any of the hundreds of other gels, chews, and bars, are wonderful small gift ideas for runners. Anyone training for a half marathon of longer is likely experimenting with these nutrition forms and would greatly appreciate help replenishing their stockpile.
Body Glide ($5-8)
The best chaffing solution out there! ‘Nough said.
Water bottle ($13-20)
A typical 12-ounce water bottle with a handheld strap is a helpful accessory for runners of all levels. The adjustable strap tightens to your hand, so you can run without actually having to hold on to the bottle. Whenever you’re thirsty, simply lift and drink – no stopping required!
ID tags ($20)
These are most commonly either metal plates that your shoelaces can string through, or bracelets, like the RoadID bracelet. It’s definitely not fun to think of getting hurt while running, but it’s a real possibility, so having a way for others to identify you in case of an accident could end up saving your life.
Sun visor ($13-25)
Visors haven’t always rated super high on the ‘cool’ fashion factor, but runners fortunately rarely care and still happily wear clothing solely for their functionary, which visors have plenty of; they not only shield your eyes from the sun, but also catch sweat and leave the top of your head open so heat can escape and you don’t overheat.
Running gloves ($20-30)
Won’t just any gloves work? Nope. Do they really need to running-specific gloves? Yes. They do. If you don’t believe us, go for a half hour run in 14-degree weather wearing the cheap $2 cotton gloves from the drug store. Your hands will sweat, and then your fingers will freeze. Running gloves, such as the Mizuno breath thermo fleece glove, are not only made of breathable and moisture wicking materials to keep your hands dry from sweat (and, subsequently, warmer), but they are also made to endure multiple trips through the washing machine. Some brands have even added a hidden pocket just large enough to slip a GU packet or your house key into.
Hydration belt ($30-60)
You’ve probably seen runners trotting along on their long weekend runs with those stretchy black belts with little fluorescent green or yellow bottles hanging around them; those Amphipod hydration belts are one of the most popular amongst runners, as well as the Nathan hydration belts. The main difference between the two brands being how the bottles attach to the belt; Amphipod bottles snap into place, while Nathan bottles slip down into plastic carriers. The runner’s body shape and running gait tend to determine which is more comfortable for individuals.
Compression socks ($40-60)
They may not be the most stylish running accessory, but for runners going long distances (think marathon or longer training), they are a remarkable luxury. Compression socks are extremely tight socks that go up to your knees; their purpose is to stimulate blood flow in the legs, helping to keep swelling down and aid in faster recovery after long or other particularly strenuous runs.
Hydration backpack ($45-100+)
Good luck training for a marathon or longer without a hydration backpack. Hand held water bottles and hydration belts simply do not carry enough water to keep you properly hydrated, and would require multiple pit stops to refill. Hydration backpacks, however, generally carry around 60-100 oz. of water and are held comfortably in place on your back through a variety of adjustable padded straps. If fitting properly, a hydration pack is extremely comfortable and convenient for long distance runs.
Next time it’s time to get your favorite runner a gift, hopefully you’ll remember this list and know that you certainly don’t need to break the bank to make a runner very happy.
By: Audra Rundle