2020 has been a tough year, and it is easy to think that we all deserve lots of gifts and rewards for making it through. I know it is tempting, and really, we should be celebrating the way we handled the toughness of the year, all of it, but we all know the way that would enjoy the most is to have a wonderful celebration with all our loved ones, the one thing that we will NOT be having this year.
As I think of ideal runner gifts for 2020, I need to keep a few things in mind:
This year has been incredibly hard on small businesses, and for that reason, I have made sure to include as many small businesses as I could, especially Black owned businesses who need support the most. If you do have the opportunity to purchase anything from a small business, do it. Yes, it requires thinking ahead and ordering early or finding time to drive to a local store, but you could be saving someones livelihood, something they have put time, money, energy, and life into, that is hanging on by a thread. Your last minute shopping on Amazon is only going to harm them. Especially when it comes to shopping local, see that as your part to society, finding time to go visit a local store, you might just save their business, but you might also find gifts for other people who you can then check off your list.
And secondly, despite having a few months where we were not really driving, and a whole lot less flights traveling around this year, this year has been devastating to the earth. All the additional waste, the shortcuts that would have been taken to get things to be efficient and convenient as quickly as possible, it has been rough, and we will be paying the price for years.
For that reason, I have really tried to think of sustainable, eco friendly options for runners, because I think it is more important than ever. Of course not every item can be, and it is going to be difficult to figure some items out, but I do have inside information to a lot of brands plans, and I know they are working on it. Some of these gift items are not the most exciting things in the world, but they are necessary and things we all need. If you can be honest with yourself and say you do in fact have all you need, this is one way you can avoid getting more “stuff” but give people something to get you.
Environmentalist runner Damian Hall, and my eco-warrior content marketing manager, Maria Vargas have also given a few suggestions. Damian’s suggestions are featured in green, and Maria’s in blue.
Finally, I want to add, that I can only recommend things I have either tried personally or have heard multiple people I trust say they genuinely loved them. There is nothing in this list I do not feel confident about sharing with you. Your trust in me means a lot, and I do not intend on breaking that trust. I have been given some of these items for free and others have sponsored my podcast or brand in some way, but that does not mean I have given up my integrity. I turn down a lot of brands that reach out to me. Their message AND product must align, and I believe these all do.
With that said, let’s get going:
For the Runner Who Uses a Lot of Foil: Ikea Silicon Baking Sheet ($5)
I recommend this every year, I love it.
You can stop using foil for all your cooking needs, or at least drastically cut down, by using these silicon baking sheets. You can find them in lots of stores now, but IKEA was the first place I found them, so I like to continue to recommend these ones.
Find the Ikea Silicon Baking Sheet here (or at your local Ikea!)
For the Runner Who Makes Food at Home: Beeswax Wrap ($5)
I have been loving these for years. They replace cling film/saran wrap, and are good at keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh in the fridge once they are cut. They can be used over and over, I would guess each one lasts 1-2 years of regular use, and is washed with cold water and a little soap. They also have sandwich specific ones, if you are taking a sandwich to work, could use these instead of ziplock bags.
For Every Runner: Socks ($12-$17)
I feel like runners can never really have enough socks. It can make all the difference in the world to have a good pair of socks as a runner. I am a fan of both Bombas and Feetures.
For the Runner who deserves something special: We Run on Art ($18-50)
I absolutely LOVE Jess’ work, especially as a unique gift that is personalized and thoughtful. I got one done of me running pregnant with Bailey, and I adore it. Jess is very talented, and it is a really lovely gift for the runner friend in your life. If you are not after something personalized, you can always get one of the runner art pieces, which are so clever and unique.
For Runners Who Love to Read: Running Books
I had a goal of reading 20 books for the year, and I am on book 19, which has been fun. That said, I have not read many running books, so most of my suggestions are not running. Here are a few I have enjoyed though.
Voicing Change by Rich Roll
Okay, so I am a little proud I had Rich Roll on the podcast a few weeks ago (you can find that episode here), but I am also a big fan of his book, Voicing Change, which recently. It’s a great coffee table book, where you can read one persons story at a time, but I am also working my way through it to read the whole thing. It is fascinating to hear what can be learned through the 500 episodes he has done so far. A really cool idea, and a great gift.
Running Home by Katie Arnold
I really enjoyed this memoir style running book from Katie Arnold. I believe mst of us will be able to relate in some way to parts of her story. If you or a loved one enjoys to read stories, but also enjoys the reallness and heart of an honest journey, this is a great one to read.
For Runners Who Love to Read: Non-Running Books
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This was my favorite book of the year I think. For women, this will be really eye opening and make you think about the way you life your life. If you need something to help you be relentlessly yourself, this is the one for you.
Waking Up White by Debby Irving
I read a lot of books on anti-racism this year, but this is the one I would recommend if you are white and are first venturing into exploring your underlying racist tendencies and how you have been raised. Some of the other books can be a little too jarring at first, which leaves us feeling defensive, this is what I recommend for a way in to this conversation.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
That said, I am asking myself for Emmanuel Acho’s new book for Christmas myself, and he does a FANTASTIC job with his Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man YouTube show. I am confident saying that this would be a great ask.
Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action by Ibram X. Kendi
Although I have not read this exact version, I love that Ibram X. Kendi has created a journal for awareness, reflection, and action. If you are serious about anti-racism, this is a great gift idea.
The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger
Although Disney is starting to lose some of it’s power over me as I look at the brand with more open eyes, there are still many parts of it I do love. I really enjoyed this book from the former CEO of Disney, Bob Iger. Things did not always fall into his lap, and he worked hard, this is a great book on how to be a leader in whatever it is you do.
Facing the Climate Emergency by Dr Margaret Klein Salamon
I also read a lot of climate crisis books this year, and this one was my favorite. If you have been feeling that underlying sense of dread, guilt, fear, angst, anger for the future and its uncertainty, this one is for you. Those feelings combined with the enormity of the task we have ahead to pull our planet out of this mess can be paralyzing. First listen to my podcast with Dr Klein Salamon, then go get her book, it really will help you to process your emotions and actually get into action (she is a psychologist by trade).
More Myself by Alicia Keys
I loved this look into her life, and appreciated her honesty, vulnerability and strength in this. Her admittance of where she did let herself get lost (as we all would in her situation), and how she brought it back.
Books for Kids
Here is my recommended reads for kids section, where you can get suggestions for kids books based on topics. I also have an adult version with categories if you want more suggestions for you. Here is my recommended books list.
For the Female Runner Who Wants to Run with her Phone: Koala Clip ($28-$40)
I am in year three of using my koala clips, and I still love them. It clips your phone to the back of your sports bra, and keeps it secure and easy to access. Also close to your headphones, so they are not going to cut out. You can also use it to carry cards or other things you might need.
Find the Koala clip here and use code running4real for 10% off.
For the Marathon Runner: SPIbelt ($22)
To be honest, I always used to laugh a little at these, wondering why people would ever wear them, how could they possibly be comfortable and not bounce? Well, I still don’t know how they don’t bounce, but they are damn comfortable, and we use them all the time. Steve wears an SPI belt every single day for his run/ride, and I use this one often when I am wearing clothes without a pocket. It is great for carrying your phone, fuel, or any other items. Surprising how much fits in that little pocket, and yes, it truly does stay in place!
Find the SPIbelt here.
For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Dark Often: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($30)
This year I had my first jruney into morning running as Steve had to leave at 6:30am. I realized the imprtance of saftey items, although I have talked about runner safety and how important it is. I have used this headlamp for countless hours and found it really helpful.
Find the Black Diamond Spot Headlight here.
For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Dark Often Part 2: Nox Gear Nation Vest ($50)
Now, I want to start by saying I do not currently own one of these. I intend to get one, but I am adding this as I have heard SO MANY people recommend it to me. It is bright, it changes colors, it is almost impossible to ignore, and you only have to speak to a few of their customers to see they are happy with this product.
For the runner who is looking to get some comfy running apparel while supporting a black owned business: Go Be More Apparel ($29-$45)
Jon Rankin is a motivational speaker, Olympic alternate, and kidney disease survivor (you better believe he’s coming on the podcast soon), who has created an apparel company with comfort in mind. I love the style of this clothing, and it is a great message we should all be reminded of often.
For the Runner who has runner preteens (especially girls): Itz Glitz ($29-$45)
These tie die runner style clothes are so cute, and have a lot of personality. Owned by two young sisters Kenzie and Kya, who are soccer and track athletes and they have created this line of clothing for pre-teens, teens, and young adults. If your child is into track and field this is the place for you! I just love the positivity they are sharing with the world through their clothing line.
For the Runner who is short on time: Peanut Butter Chocolate UCAN Bars ($33, before discount)
And who isn’t short on time? I go through a lot of these, having at least one a day. I love them, and not just for quick fuel, but genuinely enjoy eating them. I understand the price is a little higher than you might pay for other bars, which is why they make a great gift. That thing that you might not purchase for yourself as often as you might like, but are perfect for a gift (or gift to self).
For the Runner who feels frazzled and overwhelmed: A subscription to 10% Happier App
I know, I know, meditation is something you do not have time for. “I simply cannot add another thing to my schedule”, and for many years, I felt the same way, I said the same things. I couldn’t get meditation to stick. I heard people talking about how it changed their life, their whole approach, yet I could never get it to work, and I certainly could not dedicate 40 minutes a day to it.
10% happier finally has made it stick for me, and it is not a 40 minute meditation, the longest ones I have done have been about 15 minutes, and there are some as short as ONE MINUTE! I have no connection to this app, I just genuinely believe it will change your life.
Get a 30 day free pass here (they give 30 day guest passes to all subscribers, I just am abusing mine 😉 )
For the Runner who wants to learn more about Indigenous culture: Gather
I loved this movie by my friend Sanjay Rawal, to learn about growing movement among Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty. If you want a cozy evening watch that is not a Christmas movie and will provide you a learning experience, this is it.
For the Runner who needs a workout longsleeve: Tracksmith Harrier Long Sleeve ($82)
I have worn this long sleeve in my trail half marathon and road half marathon, and it worked really well both times. Both days had a mix of starting too cold, but then warming up as the sun came up and I warmed up. It kept me warm enough in the early part of the race, but I did not oevrheat too much in the second half.
Find the Tracksmith Harrier Long Sleeve here. (use coupon code TINA15 for $15 off your order of $75 or more)
For Runner Sunglasses: Runner’s Sunglasses ($45)
They are comfortable, stylish, affordable. I love the midnight marathoner pair, they have become my go to.
My favorite Etsy Finds
I am a big fan of Etsy. I love being able to purchase products from small businesses who are using their creative skills to make something really special. This is one way you can order a gift that is really thoughtful, often personalized, while also supporting a small business owner who has a talent. Spend some time looking around at the gifts for specific ages or specific passions, you will find something for your loved ones. I also love Etsy as a lot of it is wooden or sustainably made, so it is less plastic going into the world.
Here are some of my favorites, although most of mine are for young kids!
- Anything by Sophie Epperlein– I love the pots, pins, plates, all of it
- Personalized ornaments by AerialistPress
- Kids puzzle in the name of a child (with a theme) by Child Universe
- Personalized baby rattle by
- Pick me up tokens by ModoCreative (I was once given these by a fan, thanks Julie) and I thought it was the most wonderful gift
- Personalized Wooden Recipe box by CloudsAndCurrents
- Personalized journal by EcoEngrave
- Vegetable puzzles by ChildUniverse or World Map puzzle by ChildUniverse
- Baby sensory ball by SoftBooksAndToyShop
Take a look around Etsy, although mine may be mostly kids, there are tons of ideas for adults.
For the Runner who wants Eco Friendly kids items: Repurpose Dinner Sets ($29.99)
Oddly specific runner type there. I know I fit that bill, and maybe this isn’t a gift idea as such, but these are wonderful. We have bought four sets and love them. They are made from plants, not plastic. I love them so much I reached out to them to ask if they could support my community with a code (thinking they would shrug me off with 10%), they gave a 25% coupon for you!
Use code TINAMUIR for 25% off
For the Runner who is having trouble sleeping: Momentous Elite Sleep ($15-$150)
Being a tough year with additional stresses on top of an already overwhelming situation means sleep can often be lost…but it is the one thing that we know would help us. Being a former insomniac, I know the frustration going to bed early, yet being unable to switch your brain off can bring. These Momentous Elite Sleep capsules are fantastic and contain Melatonin, Magtein® (Magnesium L-threonate), and Wild Jujube Seed Extract which together will help reduce nighttime anxiety, gently fall asleep and improve circadian rhythm to achieve higher quality sleep.
Find Momentous Elite Sleep here. I also love their collagen peptides and creatine. (use code TINA for 20% off your order)
For the Runner who intends to (or already does) run trails: Ultimate Direction Marathon Vest V2 ($90)
I kept very quiet about this for a while as I tested it out. I have made it pretty clear I am loving the trails right now. I still have to do the majority of my runs from home on the roads, but on the weekends, I cherish those trail runs, and as they get longer, the more I need fuel. I absolutely love the marathon vest from Ultimate Direction, and straight off the cardboard hanger (love that), I wore it for almost 3 hours with no issues. It has space for four bottles (which come with it), and has a few pockets for your items, including a zip up one on your shoulder (good for car keys!).
For the Runner who needs snacks for on the go: Barukas Nuts ($14.95)
You heard Darin Olien on my podcast a few months ago, and I have heard him (and others) raving about Barukas nuts for their impressive nutritional value as well as sustainability. I bought these, and loved them so much I ordered myself another 5 bags. Great for snacking in a pinch.
For the Runner who needs a bandana or scarf, but purchases with a greater purpose: Tawa Threads Scarves ($20-$25)
Another of the Black Owned Businesses I featured on the podcast, I am such a big fan of what Tawa Threads are doing. Tawa Threads’ styles and bold, exploratory colors seek to elevate underrepresented communities by giving proceeds back to organizations who implement inclusive outdoors experiences. Designs include an assortment of apparel and home decor that are uniquely hand printed providing each print with its own unique character.
Find Tawa Threads products here (use code RUNWITHTAWA10 for 10% off)
For the Runner Who is In Heavy Training: Bodyhealth Perfect Amino ($39.95)
Along the same lines of recovery, I have been a big fan of these BodyHealth Perfect Amino tablets for years. if the loved one in your life is training really hard and pushing their body to do big things….but they are not so good at getting in the nutrients they should be (particularly protein), this is a great option for a gift.
Find BodyHealth Perfect Amino here and use coupon code TINA10 for 10% off.
For the Runner who runs in all seasons: Tracksmith Brighton Base Long Sleeve ($88)
I can’t even use the words to tell you how much I love this long sleeve. I wear it on my 3 hour trail runs, I wear it early in the morning for my track workouts, I wear it under a second long sleeve on really cold mornings, this long sleeve is just wonderful. I could even wear it during pregnancy, late pregnancy, and it has gone back to it’s original shape quickly. Yes, a little pricy, but once you will get it, you will see why. Tracksmith clothing quality is just superb. I cannot fault it.
Find Tracksmith Brighton Base Long Sleeve here (use code TINA15 for $15 off)
For the Runner who struggles with feet issues: Correct Toes ($65, before discount)
If you have bunions, are worried about getting them in the future, or just want to look after your toes as you realize they are a critical piece in your running and life quality, these correct toes will help your toes to stay the shape they were meant to be. The way they started life, the way they would be had you not worn too tight shoes your whole life (another reason I love Altra).
Get correct toes here (use coupon code tinamuir for 10% off)
For the Runner : Athletic Greens ($70-$80 a month subscription, and with the code below get a one year FREE supply of Vitamin D3/K2 with your order)
This year more than ever, Athletic Greens is a critical part of my life. I took it instead of a prenatal during pregnancy, I take it now as my postnatal instead of a multivitamin supplement during breastfeeding, and I intend to continue taking it for many many years to come. Athletic Greens is a simple and easy way to get 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients. Just to help my immune system be stronger and greater! It is so simple to do and it tastes good as well. You can get up to a YEAR supply of Vitamin D3 and K2 for free with your first purchase of Athletic Greens.
This genuinely is a fantastic gift for a loved one you care about. i have purchased it for my family in the past, I just love it.
Find athletic greens here (and get a one year FREE supply of Vitamin D3/K2 with your order)
For the Runner who is at home most the day and likes to be comfortable: Janji Mercury Track Pants ($88)
I have been living in these over the past few months, they are SO DAMN COMFORTABLE. So soft and just enjoyable to wear. I love that Janji gives back to clean water initiatives with every purchase, and they are very intentional about bringing in sustainable materials into their products. These could also be running pants too, there are reviews on the website about how they did not show sweat at all. Love that!
For the runner who is trying to limit waste
Shampoo and conditioner bars ($5.00-$14.00)
These are literally the only bars we’ve discovered that don’t leave hair feeling waxy. They’re absolutely amazing. No plastic bottles ever again. These shampoo/conditioner bars leave hair sleek and shiny. They come in a small cardboard box which can be composted and last the equivalent of about 3 16oz shampoo bottles.
Bamboo utensils ($15)
These are perfect for all the to-go food we’re all getting nowadays. Spare those restaurant plastic utensils and straws use these reusable ones instead. Great for keeping in your gar on the go and make great gifts for friend foodies.
Reusable straws ($4)
Same reason as Maria gave above, and I also have some of these and use them daily for my smoothies!
Toothpaste bites ($30)
These are a plastic-free alternative to your usual plastic toothpaste. They come in a glass container that’s easily reusable or recyclable.
Bandeau’s and Buff’s ($7.50-$13)
These are absolutely gorgeous and can double up as headbands and buffs instead of a mask. These Natural Life ones are wonderful.
Sustain Yourself Products ($7-$10)
Sustain Yourself is run by two twin sisters who handcraft natural and plastic-free body products like lip balm and deodorant.
Lip-balm is great for keeping in your pocket during long winter runs! It even comes in compostable packaging for when it runs out.
Deodorant effective and sustainable deodorant for those looking for a plastic-free and natural alternative that works (yes, even for runners!)
For Running Safety: Run Angel ($99)
Again with keeping safety in mind, Run Angel is one way for women to feel safer. I have mentioned this a lot in the past, but it is an alarm you wear on your wrist with one giant button with one purpose; to be pushed in danger. The alarm is as loud as a rock concert and will alert your emergency contacts if you have your phone with you. Well worth it for that peace of mind.
Find Run Angel here (You can get 10% off with code running4real)
For the Runner Who Wants to Switch to a Natural Foot Shaped Shoe: Altra Torins ($130)
I have heard a lot of people saying they want to switch to Altra shoes to give their toes freedm and to get started on zero drop shoes, but are unsure which shoe to try. I always recommend Altra Torin as a great starter shoe for the brand. And that is not to say they will be useless once you are used to them, I still wear Torins at least twice a week for my runs. I love them.
For the Runner with a Baby, Toddler, or Young Child: Bumbleride Speed Running Stroller ($599)
You know a brand has made a good stroller when Ironman is prepared to put their name on it, and that is what we have here with Bumbleride, but beyond that, I had heard multiple people tell me hw much they were enjoying their Bumbleride strollers…and then I saw the winning message. They are a sustainable brand! The fabric is made of 100% recycled plastic bottles, and 25% of frame plastic components are made from recycled sea nets. So cool.
I kept quiet about this for a few months while I got my honest thoughts together, and now I can officially say I love this stroller to run or just around the city.
Find the Bumbleride Speed Jogger Stroller
For the runner who like up-cycled items
There are high end fashion brands out there who make beautiful stuff out of discarded fabrics
For the Runner Who is a little unsure about purchasing gifts this year (for environmental reasons): an experience to remember (price varies)
Experience gifts are a great way to go beyond just the moment of gift giving itself, but it allows the person to feel excited, to look forward to the moment they get to enjoy their gift, and that is part of the appreciation. Almost more than a physical gift.
Think about things the loved ones in your life like, and think about how you can treat them. To something they do often or to something they would never do for themselves (like a massage). Giving people experiences rather than physical gifts that they probably don’t even want, is going to make both of you happier. You can also create memories with them if it is something to do together, which is much more important and memorable than things.
With Covid 19, your loved one may want to hold off for a few months, but most places are very generous with expiration dates and flexibility, so you may be able to move if needed.
Here are some ideas:
- Voucher for a massage
- An afternoon tea (if that is available to you)
- Virtual skydiving
- Canyoning/sailing/scuba diving/snorkeling experience
- Hotel/BnB/Air BnB stay voucher for somewhere nice
- Gift card to a restaurant (even if takeout)
- Tickets to a theme park
- A manicure or pedicure
For the eco-friendly Runner: A donation to a sustainable NPO or charity
I love this idea, and if you have all you need, this is a great way to direct any money that would have been spent on you. Some climate organizations doing cool things:
Damian: Kiva is a great way to support people across the world and help give folks who need funding a leg up Support Kiva here.
Science Club For Girls– provides free STEM education for girls from communities underrepresented in STEM
For the Runner who misses you: Your time
Giving the gift of time, support and/or your skills can be all smeone really wants. Espeically if they do have everything they need. A gift of two days gardening, painting and decorating, clearing out a space for them, all the jobs that they either couldn’t do themselves or would love the quality time with you while you do it together.
You could also turn this into Zoom or FaceTime calling loved ones who you know do get lonely, even if that means getting someone you know is seeing them to show them how. Your time and attention could be all they really crave and want.
Maybe the other idea is asking what people want/need? Some people find that impersonal but I think it really helps to stop giving/getting unwanted gifts, and if they give you a few ideas it will still be a surprise.
And my friends, I think that is enough ideas for you and your runner loved ones this year. Would love to hear which ones you end up getting.
What would you add?