We are told running is a free sport, that there is no barrier to entry, and although that is true, there are sure a lot of runner gadgets and products runners need, or more realistically, want. If you need a few gift ideas for the runner in your life, I hope this gift guide comes in helpful. As a former elite, runner for 15 years, and mother runner, I like to think I have some experience here.
A LOT of companies email me asking me to include their items in this list, I turned down every single one, because in my opinion, if you are not there to support the runner year round, you are in it for the wrong reasons. I want to work with and recommend brands who genuinely want runners to succeed, and are not just in it to make a few sales around Christmas time.
Some of these products were sent to me for free, but my opinions are my own, and my reviews are honest. If I don’t like a product, I will never put it on my website, and I let every company who sends me things know of that before they even mail it. If I do not like their product, they have the choice of allowing me to continue to publish my thoughts (even though negative) or not mentioning them at all. And yes, I have done that, a few times. I hope that gives you the confidence to know these are my true recommendations for the best gifts for the runner in your life.
I have put them in lowest to highest price wise this year, although I would strongly recommend following down the list to find something that really matches your loved ones. Yes, they may be a little more expensive, but if you know it is coming from one person working hard rather than a corporation, isn’t that worth a little extra? I think so.
Oh, and at the bottom, I have a few more creative ideas, these don’t have price tags, but may be things you haven’t considered in the past, but will really make your loved one smile…or you know, you smile, you deserve a gift to yourself too 🙂
For the Runner Who is Trying to Eat Healthy: Ikea Silicon Baking Sheet ($5)
I recommended this last year, but it really is a great gift for a low price. You can now also get muffin cups as well, runners love their superhero muffins from the Run Fast Eat Slow recipe book I mention below. These sheets or muffin cups are so easy to clean, and mean you are helping to look after our world by limiting your foil use 🙂
Find the Ikea Silicon Baking Sheet here (or at your local Ikea!)
For the Runner Who is Trying Look After Our Planet: Beeswax Wrap ($5)
Runners eat a lot, and generally, we are pretty good at taking our own food places….except that means a lot of film or foil to wrap food up in, which is then thrown away and takes 1000 years to decompose as plastic. These beeswax wraps are a wonderful alternative, they fold around items nicely, keeping them fresh. I even put half avocados in mine, and the next day…or even a few days later, it is still bright green inside.
To clean you just wipe with a cloth, rinse in cold water, and hang up to dry. I love mine and highly recommend.
For Every Runner Stocking Filler Socks ($12-$17)
I know, what a lame gift, but actually for a runner, having a really good quality pair of socks can be a total game changer. Every runner must have AT LEAST one pair of performance socks they can rely on for race day, if no more. Taking chances with your race day socks can put them at risk of lost toenails, blisters, and even their entire race, if the foot issue is bad enough to be unable to run.
Most runners (as we all) struggle to buy ourselves expensive socks, it seems so unnecessary, BUT if you purchase a few quality pairs for them, you will make them happy.
I recommend either Bombas or Feetures.
For Runners Who Love to Read: Running Books
Running Outside the Comfort Zone By Susan Lacke ($13)
Oh I just loved this book. As someone who has lived her running life very much by the rules, and never really jumped in things for fun or for the challenge, this was a eye opener for me, and I loved the idea that there were a whole WORLD of fun, unique running events out there. This book inspired me to do a lot of new things this year, and I think it may for you too.
Running To The Edge By Matt Futterman ($19)
I am not typically someone who likes to read running books for pleasure. it is usually something I do for podcast research or to learn about something. However, this book was so beautifully written, I throughly enjoyed it. Matt is a wonderful writer, and if the runner in your life just loves the sport, this will be heartwarming for them for sure.
For Runners Who Love to Read: Non Running Books
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell ($15)
Okay, so this is way outside the box, but I loved it so much. It really changed the way that I looked at myself and the entire world I live in. This book is all about our default to truth as humans, and how that can actually hurt us. You have to go into this with an open mind, but wow was it interesting!
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis ($13)
Rachel Hollis is someone every single woman needs in her life. This is the pep talk you need, the sister who is a little tough on you, but tells you what you need to hear. Rachel knows how much we all have to offer this world, and is determined to help you shine your brightest. For women and young girls, this is a must read.
One note though, this is definitely a female focused book 🙂
Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani ($13)
Again, another book I think women and young girls need to read. This makes you question everything you knew about being a girl/woman, and in a good way. It makes you want more for yourself, be prepared to fight for yourself, and see just what you are made of. I absolutely loved it. It is also a quick read.
For the Runner Who Wants to Cook More: Cook, Eat, Run ($22)
Although this book is not yet released in the US, Charlie gave me a sneak peak of this book at a recent event, and the recipes look AHMAZING! Charlie has been working on her dietitian degree, and has been inspiring a lot of people along the way. This cookbook is unique, because she has asked many of your favorite elites for their favorite recipes, and included it in the book. There are recipes from Lauren Fleshman, Deena Kastor, Molly Huddle, and Kara Goucher. I can’t wait to give it a try.
For the Marathon Runner: SPIbelt ($22)
I do not have one of these, but the Running for Real Superstars Community RAVES about them and to be honest, I really need to get myself one after years of trying to stuff too many things in my sports bra or in pockets too small. One of these belts is handy for not having your possessions bounce around while you run, and this one is ideal for summer runs…or winter runs below layers.
Find the SPIbelt here.
For Every Runner: Road ID ($24-$30)
Once again, coming back to safety. If you are out running and something happens. Maybe you didn’t eat enough that morning and passed out, or maybe you are dehydrated, or something much worse, it can be almost impossible for a random person to know how to contact your loved ones. Road ID has been around for years, but they are SUCH a good thing for a runner to have, especially if you do not carry your phone…or if that phone is locked. Road ID contain the contact details of your loved ones, along with allergen information for you, and anything else that would be important to note.
None of us would want to be in a situation where this would be used, but really, none of us are exempt from it happening, so it is something simple to keep you safe, and allow your loved ones to feel reassured that they will know if you are not safe.
Find Road ID here.
For the Female Runner Who Wants to Run with her Phone: Koala Clip ($28)
I never used to run with my phone. In fact, I used to laugh when family members would ask me to take my phone. I was too serious for a phone. Now though, I see that was not just stupid logic, but also could have put me in danger many times. I love to listen to music or podcasts on some of my runs, and rather than using a safety pin to hold my phone in a pocket in my tights, this Koala clip is ideal. It also means the phone stays close to my bluetooth headphones, so they don’t loose connection (which they would sometimes do when in my tights).
This is especially good for hot summer days as you can strap your phone to your sports bra without any fear of it bouncing around, but in winter it is even better as it tucks nicely under your long sleeves.
Find the Koala clip here and use code running4real for 10% off.
For the Runner Who Gets Sore orTight and/or Travel often: CTM Band ($30)
This was created by my good friend Kyle Bowling, a Chiropractor who is a runner himself. Not only have I loved getting to know him because he actually gets us, and doesn’t just try to stop us running, but he has created a product that is absolutely ideal for runners. It gives you compression, tension, and movement (hence the CTM), which allows us to go further than a foam roller or compression gear alone. These have been flying off the shelves, and some of the best elites in the world have heard about it and are using it. Get yourself or your loved one a CTM band, especially if they have to travel a lot. They will thank you.
Running for Real fans get $10 off using code running4real here.
For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Dark Often: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($30)
I had never really been someone who had to ever run in the dark. Maybe on the odd occasion, but most of the time I would stumble my way through, and somehow manage to not fall over by staying in the lighter areas. Now, as a mother, sometimes you have to get your run done early. I talked about runner safety and how important it is in a recent blog post, but I also realized that by not wearing anything to be able to see where I was going, I was putting my safety at risk another way.
There are so many headlamps out there, but this one had great reviews and was relatively inexpensive, so I gave it a try, and I liked it a lot.
If you or the runner in your life runs in the dark often, this will be just what they need….although one word of advice, this does chafe my forehead (not a good look!!) if I wear it right on my head, so I either wear a cap or headband underneath, so it is not directly touching my skin.
Find the Black Diamond Spot Headlight here.
For the Runner Who Has to Run in the Dark Often Part 2: Amphipod Running Vest ($30)
Now, when it comes to safety, another element I never really considered before was actually being seen! I always kind of assumed I would be fine, and thankfully, I was, but it doesn’t mean that I was safe. People who are up and about in the early hours of the morning are not expecting to see a runner, and in most cases, they are running late…so trying to get somewhere quickly, which means they won’t expect to see you.
I didn’t think I would wear this very often when I purchased it, but I do wear it often, sometimes when it is not even dark out, but because I just feel so much safer with it on. It is bright enough to catch the attention of a distracted driver, which could be a life saver with the number of people on their phones while driving now.
I really like this vest, and I have worn it with just a sports bra and shorts, so I can vow that it does not chafe 🙂
Find the Amphipod Xinglet Vest here.
For the Runner who is short on time: Peanut Butter Chocolate UCAN Bars ($33, before discount)
I have one of these every single day. I just never get fed up of them. I love that they actually taste good, but aren’t tough on the stomach, I can literally eat it as I am going out the door for a run, and have no issues whatsoever. I can stuff them in my bag (they are all over my life!), and grab it when I need to, especially to get me through when I know I am hungry and can’t eat immediately. UCAN products are wonderful in general, but these are an ideal pre or post run bar. My absolute number one. The runner in your life would love them too….as long as they like chocolate and peanut butter…..but who doesn’t? 😉
For the Runner Who is In Heavy Training: Bodyhealth Perfect Amino ($39.95)
I took Perfect Amino for the final few years of my elite running career, and I really noticed when I forgot to take it. I really did notice that it helped me to recover faster and feel better. If you have a race coming up that is important to you (or your runner loved one), you can’t get a much better gift than the gift of faster recovery! Especially if you are a little injury prone, the faster you can recover, the less chance your body has of breaking down with injuries. However, BodyHealth Perfect Amino has helped me through every stage of my life. It is great for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and just when life has been a bit too hectic and you aren’t looking after yourself very well. I. find it makes a big difference for every stage, but especially those training hard for a big goal.
Find BodyHealth Perfect Amino here and use coupon code TINA10 for 10% off.
For Runners Who Are Proud to Be: Sarah Marie Design Studio ($30-$60)
Sarah has done such a fantastic job of making us runners feel good about what we do, and show that we are in this amazing little community. I have multiple Sarah Marie outfits. Some I workout in, and some I just wear day-to-day. They are good quality, they are cute, and they are practical. I have yet to have someone come up to me and ask if it is one of her designs, but the day it does, I will be SO excited.
If you or the runner in your life loves to talk about running or show pride in our sport, this is the perfect gift.
Find more about Sarah Marie Designs here.
For the Runner who loves their running clothes, but also cares about the environment: Janji M or W Middle Short ($60, before discount)
These are my favorite Janji product, hands down. I never used to be a split short kinda girl, but these are so damn comfortable, and I absolutely love the patterns and designs, knowing that it was designed by someone in a developing country that probably would never get this opportunity otherwise. Janji works with countries like Cambodia, Uganda, Bolivia, Mexico, finds a local designer to create the patterns for the next season, create them, and then give 5% of profits back to clean water initiative NPOs in that country. So cool! They also make a lot of their products from recycled materials. I can’t say enough good about Janji. Give them a try.
Find Janji AFO Middle short here. (get 10% off anything at Janji using code TINAMUIR)
For the Runner who struggles with feet issues: Correct Toes ($65, before discount)
Many runners struggle with bunions and all kinds of other toe issues that make running uncomfortable at best, extremely painful at worst. I used to be one of them, until I came across these. Combining these with Altra shoes and their wide toe boxes, I have been able to get my feet into a more natural position. There is a lot of evidence that these can prevent bunions in runners (and therefore painful surgery!) and even help ease them if they are already developed. These look really weird, and feel strange at first, but the difference is astounding.
If the runner in your life is struggling with feet issues, especially bunions, this is going to be a great gift, and one they may not have ever heard of.
For the Runner : Athletic Greens ($70-$80 a month subscription, discount below gives you a FREE travel pack of 20 servings ($79 value) with your order)
I really cannot say enough good about this product. It absolutely has saved me. It contains SEVENTY FIVE ingredients in one scoop, including probiotics, probiotics, adaptogens, digestive enzymes and the antioxidant equivalent of TWELVE(!!) servings of fruits and vegetables. I mix a scoop of it in water as the first thing I do when I wake up, enjoy drinking it (you don’t have to do the hold your nose and shot thing), and then get on with my day. Rather than having 12 types of supplements you buy for the local grocery store, this has EVERYTHING you need in one place.
And friends, I have to say, I can feel the difference in my body. I don’t get sick as much, which alone makes it worth it! If the runner in your life is training through the winter for a big goal race, chances are, one of their biggest anxieties right now is getting sick, especially race week. This will help prevent that. It also means that even during travel, or during the holidays when we are not eating as well, you are still getting what you need to stay healthy and keep training strong.
This is likely a gift that a runner would struggle to get started on themselves, because yes, it is expensive, but so so worth it. If your gift was to purchase a one month subscription for them, they will get the 20 serving bonus pack (or you know, you could keep that for yourself :p) and that will be enough time to see the difference, so they want to keep going.
This has been a game changer for my life, and I love hearing how it has changed yours too.
For the female Runner who LOVES her colorful clothes : Janji Deviation Tight ($86, before discount)
In case you missed it earlier, just a bit of background: Janji works with countries like Cambodia, Uganda, Bolivia, Mexico, finds a local designer to create the patterns for the next season, create them, and then give 5% of profits back to clean water initiative NPOs in that country. So cool! They also make a lot of their products from recycled materials. I can’t say enough good about Janji.
These tights are BRIGHT, LOUD, and very let’s say, eye catching. But I love them, and many runners have commented to me on how much they love them, so I wanted to share them on here. Janji cares about the world, but their clothes are also really comfortable and a good quality.
For Running Safety: Run Angel ($99)
Since having a child, I think about my safety a lot more, and honestly, kick myself for not thinking about it even before I had children! My Run Angel helps me feel safe and prepared. There are quite a few safety style products on this list, but this one is my most valued and this is one of the products I recommend to friends above all other running products. Your safety is more important than anything, and this watch-looking device you wear on your wrist will send out an alarm the loudness of a rock concert if you push the giant button in the middle. It will also send an alert to three loved ones when you push it.
You can get 10% off with code running4real
Get yourself one, and all your loved ones too.
For Runners Who Listen to Music and Podcasts: AfterShokz Headphones ($129-$210, before discount)
I was really skeptical of these headphones when I first heard about them, why would you want music or podcasts OUTSIDE your ear? How would that ever work? But after trying them, wow, I changed my mind. I absolutely love my aftershokz, and the thing I love the most is that the speaker does sit outside your ear. It feel safer as you can hear other things (especially when I am running pushing Bailey in the stroller, I need to be able to hear her!), but also just in general, it is safer to be able to listen to the outside world, while still clearly hearing your music. They are light, comfortable, and I even wore them for the entire Boston marathon earlier this year, because you barely notice they are there!
For the Runner Who Wants to Look After Their Feet: Altra Kayenta ($130)
This was Altra’s new shoe this year, and I LOVE IT. Very light (perfect for travel), comfortable, and gives you that wide toe box, which helps your feet spread the way they should. Since I switched to Altra about 1.5 years ago, I cannot go back. Other brands have offered to. work with me, but I turned them down, because the idea of going back into shoes that squish my toes, no thank you!
For the Runner who needs to roll out or massage out muscles often to stay healthy: Myostorm Meteor ($139-$149)
This is one of the new recovery products on the market, and this has done VERY well. They were recently on Shark Tank, and scored a partnership with Lori Greiner! The Myostorm meteor is a rounded shape, so that makes it really easy to travel, and also a little easier to use. It has vibration and heat, to really hit those trouble spots in an effective way.
Now, I have to admit, I am not very good at using recovery products, I get very lazy. I used to be good when I was an elite, but now, not so much. BUT I absolutely love using it when I do, and my husband has to roll out every single day, and he loves this.
If the runner in your life seems to take their recovery very seriously, this is a great choice.
Also, the podcast episode associated with this episode has an interview with one of the founders, Jared Ward, so you can learn a lot more about it using your favorite podcast player (scroll to the bottom of this page).
For the Runner with a Baby, Toddler, or Young Child: Chicco TRE Stroller ($379)
For the new mother, this is a godsend, especially if their partner works long hours, which makes it difficult to get out. Although it is not recommended to run with your baby until they are at least 6 months old, it is nice to be ready when that time comes or use it beyond that time. I use my Chicco TRE often, and it feels very luxurious, Bailey loves it, so much so that when we even go into the garage, she says, “stroller, stroller”.
I gave a bigger review of the stroller in my postpartum running guide, but it comes down to, I love this stroller!
Find the Chicco TRE Running Stroller here.
And how about a few creative ideas
For the Runner Whose Favorite Part of Being A Runner is the Race: Race Entry (price varies)
For most runners, the best part is the race, but they can be EXPENSIVE, and can add up quickly, especially once you add in hotels, travel, and food. If you know there is a race the runner in your life has always wanted to do, why not sign them up for it, or write in their card that you would like to cover their entry. Be sure to check with the runner what races they already have planned before you purchase it, just because they may have signed up for something around a similar time, that would be too much to do both. However, if your loved one seems to be racing ALL THE TIME, this can be a huge weight off their shoulders to take that payment away from them. If you do plan to do this, I recommend signing them up for a race that is at least 6 months away, so they have time to train or figure out a schedule.
For the Runner Who is a little unsure about purchasing gifts this year (for environmental reasons): an experience to remember (price varies)
This is definitely where I am falling this year. I will ask for a few things, but I just feel like there is this constant low level anxiety about the environmental crisis that makes me feel, well, guilty for asking for things I don’t NEED, but would like to have.
One thing I have been trying to do is give people experiences. Rather than purchasing loved ones physical gifts, especially if they say they don’t want anything, but you aren’t gonna not give them anything! How about you get them an experience. Maybe it is a meal out with you and your dad to a new restaurant he would like. Maybe it is afternoon tea with your sister. Maybe you could book a go karting session for the family, purchase movie tickets for someone. How about a brewery tour for your brother or a manicure for your friend.
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.
For the Runner who deserves it : A Sports Massage (price varies)
Who wouldn’t want a sports massage? Runner or not, it feels SO good to be pampered, and if you have been stressed out by life lately (who hasn’t), this is something most of us will never do for ourselves, but we would appreciate so much. It doesn’t have to be a sports massage, but any kind of massage can go very far in our busy world.
If the runner in your life is training hard for a race or has just raced, this would be ideal to help them get back to feeling themselves again.
For the eco friendly runner: A donation to a sustainable NPO or charity
This is an idea from Clare Gallagher who was on my show earlier this year. Claire talked about some of her favorite companies to donate to, ones that are really making a difference. if the loved one in your life is asking to not have gifts for environmental reasons, a donation to a charity that is doing good to help this world, might make them very happy.
For the runner who needs a break: Rise Run Retreat
I went to the inaugural Rise Run Retreat, and how special it was. Just a heartwarming, soul fulfilling, beautiful experience with friends and fun. Sarah has grown the retreat a lot since then, but every year I get jealous when I see it is happening. If you or the runner in your life needs some love or deserves a break, sign up for this, it truly will be so good for you. I made some lifelong friends there, and I know every year the attendees feel the same. Sarah has a gift, go make the most of it.
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.
Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:
Thank you to Bodyhealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.
If you are struggling to recover quick enough from your training, my little secret is to use BodyHealth Perfect Amino to get you there. It contains all the essential amino acids, and is very easy for your body to use and begin the repair process. Click the link and use code TINAMUIR10 for 25% off this weekend only.
Click the banner for more information.
Mile 20 Mental Training Course: Win Your Own Race is on sale. The doors will open for a VERY limited time, and then close until May 2020, so don’t miss out. Even if you do not intend to start the 12 week course until early 2020, you can begin at any time, but you cannot purchase at any time. To get on the Mile 20 Mental Training Course: Win Your Own Race waitlist, where you will be guaranteed a spot on the course, sign up here. Or learn more about the course here.
Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.
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Thank you Jared, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.
What would you add?